Using the Internet to Get Money to Start a Business

Another alternative way to get money to start a business is to call on the internet for help.  These days people will call on the masses online when they need help.  Some of these are people in need of medical supplies; others are needy individuals who barely have the clothes on their back, while others are businesspeople who are attempting to live the American Dream through crowdfunding, peer-to-peer loans, and incubators.  The Internet is a very fast and cheap way to quickly raise money and fame for any business project.

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Crowdfunding

The web has become a way of fundraising through the netizens to get money to start a business.  One popular crowdfunding platform is Kickstarter, where everyone from business startups to artists to charities to needy people have been able to ask for help.

Some Kickstarter campaigns are used to help aid the development of independent movies and videogames.  Overall Kickstarter has gained donations which are worth more than $1.6 billion for over 200,000 projects.  81,000 of those projects have been successfully financed.

One example of crowdfunding from Forbes is the Oculus Rift VR helmet.  Its campaign raised over $2.5 million in 30 days, and was even acquired by Facebook.  Although the $2 billion purchase was controversial to the donors to the Oculus group, they still expressed a desire to benefit from the VR helmet’s success.

There are rules to crowdfunding when one needs to get money to start a business.  Sometimes the money is held for use until the goal money has been raised.  Otherwise, the pledges are given back to the donors.  Additionally the fundraising method takes a percentage of the money so they can keep the servers going themselves.

The downside is that not all crowdfunding attempts are necessarily successful.  Another popular crowdfunding website is Indiegogo, where the company Canonical tried to raise $32 million to create a cutting-edge smartphone that ran both Android and Ubuntu Touch operating systems.  They only raised $12.8 million instead of their target, and thus did not receive any of their donations.

There is a method to the crowdfunding madness: The funder has to have a good story, a good reason to be, in order to attract people to help them when they want to get money to start a business.  Small businesses might give t-shirts as an incentive to get people excited.  Other incentives include a free sample.  The person holding the fundraiser also needs to show the public theire own commitment to their appeal so that the supporters know that you are something legitimate.  A video is a good way to get people interested in your cause.  You will want to show the time, work, and your own personal investments.

Here is a list of crowdfunding platforms:

  • Kickstarter
  • Rockethub
  • Crowdrise
  • Crowdfunder
  • Somolend
  • Invested.In
  • Indiegogo

Peer-to-Peer Loans

The first idea that springs to mind with peer-to-peer is peer-to-peer filesharing.  Peer-to-Peer also includes businesses as a way to get money to start a business, and is a way to borrow money directly through a person to circumvent banks or investment companies.  It is shortened to P2P.  One way to do P2P loans is through a platform like the Lending Club or Prosper.  The user says the amount they want, as well as why they need a loan.  An investor agrees to give the loan, and then the loan is paid back monthly using the website.

There are many advantages to a P2P loan over a bank loan: the interest rates are lower, there are less fees, and it is very flexible.  Its only requirements are a good credit score, and you have to keep in mind that credit score will be damaged if you can’t pay it back.

Incubators

These incubators aren’t the ones used to hatch baby chickens.  This is a business incubator, which is an institution committed to support new companies when a business needs to get money for startup costs.  Business incubators include universities, government bureaus, and firms who want to support new companies by helping the entrepreneurs meet and greet, market their business, and investments.

There is a long process of applying for an incubation program.  The businessperson must show that their business will be successful in order to get the incubators interested in working with them.

Conclusion

Starting a new business is a serious venture.  It takes a lot of planning, time, work, and money.  A budding entrepreneur has to find the pros and cons of the different funding options, and to find which one best suits their needs in order to get money to start a business.  They have to keep in mind their total funds, interest rate, and how long it would take to pay one off.  A video for advice is found here:

The good part is that many businesses have many sources of funding.  One major source of a beginning fund might from a bank or an SBA loan, while the other sources might be from family and friends, selling assets in your home, the home itself, or your savings, in order to make your American Dream come true.  Thanks to the Internet, Peer-to-Peer loans and Kickstarter mean that businesses have better options at the ready.

6 Financial Items to Include on Your Spring Cleaning List

Spring cleaning doesn’t need to necessarily mean cleaning our houses all of the time, dusting of dirt and stuff. It can also mean cleaning up our financial states and “houses”. There are a lot of financial items to spring clean. Here are a few tips and tricks you can apply right away in order to start “cleaning up” your financial “house”. Without further ado, let’s start looking at some financial items to spring clean:

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Liabilities, Throw Them In The Garbage Can!

Many people actually have liabilities they don’t even know about. Whether it’s that smartphone plan you’re paying for that you don’t really need or that second car that’s taking away your money month after month, start taking away unnecessary expenses in order to make way for some money for yourself and for your family. These are hidden financial items to spring clean.

Start Cleaning Up Those Debts

If you happen to have multiple debts, then it’s time to clean them up. Try cleaning them up using the snowball method, which is what most people do in order to pay off their debt. You can do this by using the money you’ve saved by doing smart techniques such as the technique mentioned above. Use this money to pay off the smallest debt then pay off the next smallest debt until all of your debt has been cleared. This method focuses mostly on the basis that you will feel motivated because you are clearing debt after debt. Debts are bad for your health. You would do yourself well by including them in the financial items to spring clean.

Check Up On Your Insurances And Dust Off Those Papers!

Check up on your insurance policies to see if you’re still getting the very much needed

Coverage that you so need. Make sure to always apply for new insurances, as it’s always good to know that you’re always secure and safe for any emergency that may come up in your life. You can never be too safe and risk-adverse.

Make Your Credit Rating Sparkle!

If you’ve got a bad credit rating, you’ve got to improve that as soon as you can. Having good credit rating can greatly help you financially when you decide to take a loan. Make sure to always pay your bills on time and to always check your credit report frequently.

Look For More Inexpensive Yet Efficient Services!

Doing research in this day and age is as easy as one, two, three. By simply doing some research, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars. How? The service you may be getting today may not be as good as it could be… plus, you could save a few bucks while you’re at it. Here’s some examples on how you can save some money by researching for better services:

  • Take your cable bill for example. You could probably find a more inexpensive cable operator for the same service if you did some research.
  • How about that cell phone plan you’ve been paying for? Chances are there are much more inexpensive deals that offer generally the same thing.
  • Are you paying for too much electricity because of your lights? Just by doing some research, you could easily get yourself some LED lights in order to save up energy and money at the same time.

Always Check On Your Budget To See If It’s In Tip-Top Shape!

Always review your budget to see if there is any liabilities you could be paying for that are just taking away your hard earned dollars. Always check on your budget and ask yourself: “Am I paying for anything that I don’t need? How can I save more money?” Your budget often has many things that you’re paying for which you don’t really need. Studies show that Americans always pay for things that they don’t really need. These things were there simply because they felt the urge to buy it because it was on a discount and they felt as if they were “saving money”. Wasting your money on needless things like a smartphone you don’t really need or another TV can really poke a hole through your wallet. Make sure to review your budget and discipline yourself. Being reckless with your money can have dire consequences. Money isn’t something that always comes around for all of us, and that is why it is extremely important for your financial plan that you review it all the time. There’s no better way to clean your financial house by cleaning up your budget. As you can see, there are many financial items to spring clean, but if you keep your mind focused, you can easily clean them all. Just always be disciplined and remember to follow most of these steps. So long as you’re always consistent with these steps, you’re well on your way to being much more financially secure. Happy spring-cleaning!

Spend a Tax Refund the Smart Way

The average American receives approximately $3,000 each year from their tax refund! While this is an exciting time to reap the benefits of a year’s worth of hard work, just how will you spend a tax refund to get the most out of it?

Identifying your own personal finances is crucial when allocating funds as you spend a tax refund. What best describes the way your current financial situation is set? Knowing this is best when assessing your situation from the ground up. Not everyone knows how to spend a tax refund wisely. Even tax websites like TurboTax provide a few helpful points. It’s best to understand the difference from the benefits of both smaller and large refund amounts.

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Looking At Receiving A Larger Refund?

While many of the following comments are commonplace, there are some individuals who do not know arguments for and against particular sizes of refunds. Some of those statements include the following:

  1. You’re giving an interest-free loan to the government
    1. While this could be accurate for many people, it’s lacking in the substance to make an exceptionally persuasive argument for excess money provided to the government when you pay your taxes.
  2. You’re cheating yourself out of cash flow
    1. When you receive a refund at the end of the year it’s because you have held excess money from a paycheck. This excess could be helpful in day to day life, making this argument quite valid. This could be the sole reason you are utilizing credit more frequently. While the merit is there it does not always apply to every situation.
  3. That money could be invested at a higher rate of return
    1. This is the most agreeable argument regarding not providing excess funds each paycheck for your taxes. Applying this money to a savings account allows you to have a return on your own money!

Those individuals who receive a large tax return at the end of the year typically are psychologically forcing a “savings account” on themselves. This self-imposed form of savings may be the only way for some to begin saving, as opposed to figuring how to properly allocate funding. For those of you who are receiving a refund, we’re here to help you spend a tax refund in a beneficial manner.

Spend A Tax Refund The Right Way

Too many people do not know the basics of how to spend a tax refund prior to receiving it. The following are tips and tricks to help you properly allocate funding from your tax refund.

1.    Do Not Spend Anything Until The Money Has Arrived In Your Account.

Charging items to your credit card, promising to spend the money with another, or even placing a deposit down and promising the rest when the return comes in are all ideas we would strongly advise against. Anything can happen. Expecting the unexpected is crucial for financial success when you spend a tax refund.

2.    Do Not Go On A Spending Spree Right After The Money Has Been Received.

With a large sum of money you could be tempted to splurge on unnecessary things. Prioritize your potential purchases into needs and wants to properly spend a tax refund without wasting any funds.

3.    Make A Budget Or Spending Plan Regarding Your Funds.

Use your already available budget to visually see your expenses, debts, and excess income. You will get the best overall picture of how to spend a tax refund when you can see the items listed out in front of you. It will put things into perspective.

4.    Apply The Refund To A Debt.

If you have any outstanding debts, use your refund to pay them off. This is one less item you will have to worry about in the long run. These types of items can prevent you from homeownership or even getting certain jobs!

5.    Build Your Savings.

Using your refund as a way of getting a leg up in your savings is also a wise way to spend a tax refund. This is a great way to secure your future in case of major life events such as a marriage, having a child, or just securing your financial independence.

6.    Buy Things That Save Money And Make Money.

If you find yourself in a position to do so, purchase things that will save you money. Whether this is upgrade your home to reduce energy costs, buying bulk nonperishable items, or even finding an alternative way to save on fuel costs such as a bike the options are endless to save!

On the flip side, encourage yourself to think of other ways to receive a return on an investment. If you put this toward your own education, a trip, or something beneficial to yourself you could find it may not be a monetary return but one based on experience which is just as valuable.

7.    Invest It!

Possibly one of the best ways to spend a tax refund is by investment. Whether you choose a savings bond, fixed rate money market account, high yield savings, or another form of investment you can see a substantial return on your investment and quickly!

8.    Make Life Easier.

This is similar to sprucing up your home. Purchase things that make y our day to day life easier; this could be new laundry baskets for a stay at home mom or tools for a mechanic. Be sure to invest in yourself and the overall simplicity of your life. It’s a great way to spend a tax refund!

9.    Take A Portion For Something Nice.

Of course you shouldn’t have to spend all of your money just improving your life, spend it on some experiences as well! A great rule of thumb when you spend a tax refund is to take 5% and do with it what you will. Whether this is going out to a nice dinner with family, shopping for some new clothing, or even getting that new cell phone you have had you eye on will give you a sense of pride in your ability to both spend and save.

Conclusion

There are a variety of ways to spend a tax refund wisely. Whether in the beginning or expert stages of financial planning a little advice will go a long way, motivating one to obtain even greater financial success.

How To Avoid Running Out Of Money In Retirement

There is nothing riskier than spending your entire retirement fund before you can even enjoy it. Cutting costs while you’re already retired is a big nuisance. Fortunately, there are actually ways and means to make your retirement fund last for as long as you live, and that can be a very long period of time. Written here are a few techniques you can apply in order to ensure that your retirement fund isn’t depleted immediately.

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Fully Exploit The Use Of Your Social Security Account

Fully exploiting your social security is the best way to combat the early depletion of your funds. The benefits you will receive from your social security account will keep you going for as long as you live. It even protects you against inflation related issues. But always remember to fully exploit your benefits by planning when you will receive your benefits. Don’t be reckless. It’s best to always play it safe. It’s best that you delay receiving your benefits as much as you can to completely maximize the full effectiveness of your social security account. For every year you delay your benefits, they will increase by 8% and you are also more protected from inflation issues. A spouse may also choose to have half of the benefits from the beneficiary, so long as that beneficiary earns higher. Benefits can also be inherited as widows and widowers can do just that. It’s best to avoid running out of money in retirement by exploiting your social security account.

Plan Ahead, Way Ahead

Many people mistakenly plan to live up to 85 only. This is a big mistake, as many of these people actually live beyond that age. As an effect, they run out of money and are in deep trouble. Don’t make the same mistake other people have made. Make sure you make your plan long. Think as if you’re going to live beyond 90 and even 100. It’s best to plan ahead as doing so can leave you with excess money. The excess money you will leave behind can go to your family relatives that need it more. This situation is more favourable rather than worrying about how you’re going to live because you’re 87 and have only financially planned for yourself until 85.

Prepare To Be Safe Rather Than Sorry

Inflation is one of the most common problems today. Inflation can make all of your hard earned money almost worthless with the flick of a finger. Make sure you put some of your hard earned money into some valuable assets and investments. Doing so can ensure that you can combat inflation properly.

• Maximizing your social security system is one good way of combating and preparing for inflation.

• The government offers bonds that can also keep up with inflation by adjusting themselves in case of inflation. These bonds will mature when you need the money.

• More examples of investments that can keep up with inflation are equities and real estate investments. These are solid investments that you can put your money into. If you can, maximize all 3 investments in order to ensure that you can keep up with the pace of inflation wherever you are, when ever.

Try Using Immediate Annuities To Your Advantage

Immediate annuities are a good type of investment that can protect you from money issues so long as you are willing to pay a lot of money to an insurance company that you trust. By paying the insurance company lots of money, you are insured that you will receive money regardless of how the financial market is performing. Unfortunately, annuities cannot be inherited and it can be quite pricey as well. Also, if you’re planning on having an immediate annuity, don’t put all of your money into it. It’s best to still have some money left with you in case you might need it.

Don’t Splurge Your Money All At Once

A good way to ensure that your retirement fund will last for the rest of your life is by withdrawing only a small amount from your portfolio annually. Withdrawing small amounts or withdrawing either less than or 4% from your portfolio that was used to invest in different stocks and bonds, chances are that the money will be there for more than over 35 whole years. That’s a lot of time and probably more time than you will need for your retirement. Also withdrawing small amounts can help portfolio investment crashes recover better. Living below your means and not splurging your money is the best way to plan for your success. As you can see, you can avoid running out of money in retirement by simply practicing these helpful tips mentioned here. Doing so can help you increase your chances of a smooth and successful retirement.

Discussing Credit Card Debt

Many Americans are embarrassed by their credit card debt, but they never want to talk about it. What they do not realize is without discussing the issue; they will not overcome it and will continue to stay in debt.

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Supporting Surveys

A national survey was conducted where 42.4 percent of Americans stated having credit card debt with the average balance being an astounding $10,902. A survey that was conducted by the National Foundation for Consumer Counseling found a total of 37 percent of Americans are more embarrassed to admit their credit card balance than their weight or age. The main question that arises here is why many of us are fearful when discussing the credit card debt problem many of us are going through. Could this potentially be causing a bigger problem for us in the long run?

Debt Is Failure And Weakness

Credit card debt is seen as weakness and failure of an individual and those who spend too much are suspected of either:

• Shopping too much

• Living a life they are unable to afford

• Living beyond their means

This is in fact true as someone with a credit card is ought to find the shopping experience much easier in regards to payment. If you have a credit card, you don’t really have a budget to stick too, which means you tend to go over what you should. There are several studies that have shown paying with the plastic card results in spending much more. Studies have also found credit card debt is caused by many silly mistakes we make. For instance, if we can get an item cheaper, we usually end up paying much more for it because of the mere fact we are paying using a credit card. Results obtained from such studies show individuals are more than likely to pay double for an item when using a credit card.

Medical Expenses And Job Loss

The biggest causes for credit card debt are:

• Medical expenses

• Job loss

Around 15 percent of the population does not have health care and emergency expenses usually generate huge medical bills. Also, when it comes to job loss, one must be financially prepared; as such debt tends to accumulate instantly. Such credit card debt problems are no reason to celebrate, which explains why people suffering from this remain silent and embarrassed.

Silence Is Costly

Credit card debt can be expensive as the majority of store cards can charge over 20 percent irrespective of your credit score. Over 75 percent of people who are in credit card debt tend to be paying extra interest rates that are higher than 15 percent. Many of us, up till today remain silent about out credit card debt, which can cause the following mistakes:

• We constantly continue to live our current lifestyle, which means eating in the same restaurants and buying clothes that we are unable to afford. In order to keep this lifestyle running, we usually turn to the borrow method, which usually worsens the whole thing.

• Much of our money goes towards our debt. Many of us don’t discuss debt related to credit cards as much as we do about mortgage debt. This is because mortgage debt is tolerable, which is why there are many discussions regarding it. Our fear of not discussing such debt is an advantage for banks, which benefit from such fears.

• We miss the chance of helping others as well as our children. If we are afraid to admit our debt issues to family, friends, and children, we are actually not teaching others to overcome mistakes we have made.

Start The Conversation

It’s time we start speaking openly about our debt change our actions and be more supportive to those who are facing similar situations. It would be much easier if we got together about the subject and discussed ways to fight debt. It’s just like supporting friends who are running a marathon or losing weight, so why not getting out of debt? The silence will only break once someone is brave enough to speak up and put an end to the quietness.

You Can Get Out Of Debt

You can get out of debt, following the right advice and solutions, as nothing is impossible. However, if you had friends and family supporting you the whole way, then that would be a tad better and easier. Such people will be aware of your commitment and support you the whole way ensuring you fulfil your goal and fight your way through debt. Friends and family can help by constantly guiding you the whole way and stopping you from doing certain things, such as overspending and frequently eating out at expensive restaurants.

The way to get out of debt is pretty straightforward especially if you refinance your debt to one of a lower interest rate and cut on your expenses. However, if you are supported the whole way, then this actually works out to be more effective.

Avoiding Common Money Moves

Sometimes people can make dumb choices when it comes to money. With the economy being the way that it is, there are certain mistakes that should be avoided now. Many mistakes can be avoided from pure knowledge.

Common Money Moves

#1 –Forsaking Money in the Bank but Balance on Credit Card

  • If you have money in your savings account, use it to pay off the balance on credit card
  • The savings account is not earning enough interest to justify keeping it in savings rather than paying off the card
  • The credit card will accrue more interest than the savings will earn
  • Pay off the balance as soon as possible to avoid paying high interest rates and late payments
  • Rebuild the savings after paying off the credit card balance, this step actually needs to become a Common Money Move

#2 – Getting Debt for Things that Lose Value

If it will lose value quickly (depreciate), it may not be worth going in debt for. However, going into debt for something that will gain value is more financially savvy versus buying something of less value. There may be occasions where certain things may be unavoidable, but it is best to pay cash if possible.

Examples of Value of Items

  • Home (main dwelling place) – this will increase in value. So this will be considered something that will increase its value rather than depreciate.
  • Rental Property (for supplemental income) – this will not only increase value, but generate income that can be used to pay back the debt that was created. So this would be justifiable to go into debt for.
  • Car (brand new) – as soon as this car is driven off of the lot (from being purchased) it will immediately lose a significant amount of its value.
  • Electronics (brand new) – most electronics depreciate as soon as it is opened. So it is not wise to go into debt for something that will need to be replaced very soon.

#3- Buy Used instead of Buying New

This step is a Common Money Move. Many times people think that buying new is the only way to buy certain things. But that is far from the truth. There are many things that are just as good when they are used as they are when they are new. Now there are certain things that should always be bought new http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/new-or-used-everyday-items. Many times buying used is a really significant drop in price from the new item. So it is best to do research and find out the value of buying new versus used.

#4 – Spending Money on Rarely Used Items

  • This Common Money Move can be avoided by quickly accessing if the item is multi-use or one time use
  • It may be wise to see if someone else needs that item and the purchase is actually split in half or divided up to save each party money on the item
  • See if the item can be rented and compare the purchase price versus the rental price
  • If the item can be used to generate another income, it can offset the cost of the item

#5 – Failing to Return Unwanted Items and Cancelling Free Subscriptions

This Common Money Move is very similar to the one above. Paying for a subscription that is not being used is throwing money away. Also keeping unwanted items around the house is another way to get rid of money.

Ways to Avoid Common Money Moves

  • Do inventory on current items
  • If a unwanted gift is received, keep it in car to take it back to store
  • Set up reminders to cancel free trials if the service is no longer needed
  • Do inventory on current services the one is receiving
  • Go over monthly statements on bank accounts and cards

#6 – Missing the 401(k) Match from Employer

By not taking advantage of the matching from the employer, is such a Common Money Move. This move is very wasteful and costly. Why not take advantage of your company offering free money?  Everyone needs to sign up for this option immediately. It does not matter how little the match is, there is free money at stake.

#7 – Signing Misunderstood Contracts

  • One of the most Common Money Moves
  • Can be very costly
  • If you don’t understand it, don’t sign it
  • Ask questions until there are none left to ask
  • Get help, even legal help

#8 – Neglecting a Safety Net

Having a safety net with money can decrease the need for extra debt. It is best to have a back-up plan just in case. Whenever it comes to money, if there is too much sitting aside, there can be things done to relieve that plan. So it is better to have too much set aside than not enough.

#9 – Spending Additional for Lower Deductibles

  • Set you deductible with the amount you are comfortable spending
  • Do not set high deductible if that amount of money is not continually in savings account
  • Shop around and check the difference in premiums with higher\lower deductible

#10 – Living Without a Plan for Money

Just like a basketball game would not be played without a game plan. Life should have a game plan for finances, no matter the age. This mistake could be very costly for many generations to come if not taken seriously. Do not let money be its own boss, if you work for the money, make the money work for you.

The 5 Richest People in the World

The richest people in the world got there through hard work, determination, and good financial decisions. Their bank accounts are awed by people all over the globe, and their lifestyles are the envy of many. Accomplishments may get the richest people in the world on the headlines and the tips of everyone’s tongue, but what is their rank? This is an article about the richest people in the world.

The Top Five Richest

  • Bill Gates
  • Warren Buffett
  • Carlos Slim
  • Amancio Ortega
  • Larry Ellison

Could you imagine sitting beside this group of billionaires? What would the conversation be like?

Bill Gates tops the list with a total wealth of over $80 billion. Of course, this is no surprise since he was one of the founders of Microsoft, one of the largest technology-producing companies in America. He, along with his wife, also initiated Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This organization has contributed to many philanthropic causes. They focus globally on educational and health issues that are holding the world back, and the foundation was able to stand firmer in these charitable convictions when Warren Buffett contributed a dollar amount in the billions to the organization. Clearly, this proves that with a big income, Gates has been able to solidify himself as a big giver as well, contributing large amounts of money every year to charity. He is the financial pinnacle that donates his time and money to help in the fight against population crippling illnesses, like Ebola and malaria.

Warren Buffett has been dubbed the best investor of this century and for good reason. With a net worth of a little over $70 billion, his ability to foresee the economic potential in the Berkshire Hathaway is what earns him the spot as the second richest. To even get a piece of that stock, it’ll be an over $200 thousand dollar investment and has mostly been increasing in value in the last 5 years.

Although Buffett is among the richest people in the world, he chooses wisely where he puts his money. A large portion of his extremely large income goes directly to the world in charitable donations. Are you noticing a trend among these people?

Next in line on the list of the richest people in the world is Carlos Slim. Earning a little under a billion less than Buffett, Slim acquired his amazing wealth through an assortment of venues. His hands have dabbled in real estate, telephone communications, mining, construction, and finance, among other things. He spread his wealth thinly and that’s why he reaped amazing rewards. It was his smart investing decisions that earned him a place on this prestigious list.

The Poorest of the Rich 

There are no poor people on this list. Money is nowhere near defined in common terms when assessing the lifestyles of the richest people in the world, but on a top five list, there has to be someone to occupy the lower portions. These people aren’t living in huts or wondering where their next meal is coming from, but there is a decent gap of a few billions between Bill Gates and the reigning number four, Amancio Ortega.

Amancio Ortega is worth a whopping $58 billion. Nowhere near the $80 billion that sits under Gates’ throne, but Ortega’s family is not wanting for anything. Wouldn’t you mind being at the bottom of this list?

Ortega made his fortune through the retail industry, but he is still a prominent force in real estate. He owns shares in the Inditex company that he founded, supplying stores all over the world, and has in his possession almost thirty buildings. Amancio Ortega took the risk of spending lots of money when times forced prices to their lowest. When the economy was stagnant, Ortega wasn’t afraid to shell out his dough and it increased his profit. The richest people in the world took advantage of the opportunities that were yielded to them and made the best financial decisions that increased their revenue.

Last, but not least, on this list is Larry Ellison, who help found the corporation, Oracle. The most reckless billionaire among the richest, Ellison is known a good deal for his extracurricular activities and the prices he’s willing to pay for them, including the two jets he flies.  Ellison surfs and bikes, clearly grabbing life by the horns and doing as he pleases, but he’s also an amazing business man.

Although these high profile hobbies earn Larry Ellison a spotlight in the media, his accomplishments in business solidify his empire as a force to be reckon with. His net worth is around $54 billion, accumulated through fortuitous investments in the technology business. With meager beginnings in work with the CIA, Ellison transformed Oracle into the global corporation it is today. He also takes his stake in the real estate market, buying properties that he can in turn flip for profit and thus, increasing his overall wealth.

Money isn’t everything, but it definitely helps. These men are guided by intelligent business decisions and allowed to do more with the funds that they have acquired. When you have more, you do more, and that’s a lesson we could all learn, regardless of our income.

Avoiding Credit Card Rewards Devaluation

Credit card rewards are extremely common. Creditors use reward programs to encourage their credit card holders to make purchases using the creditor’s line of credit. Creditors do this in order to make more money; the more purchases consumers make on their credit cards, the more creditors earn through interest.

credit card rewards

Yet, credit card rewards (despite all of their promises and benefits) are often hindered by the ability to actually use the rewards. For instance, a travel rewards credit card might curate “points” or “miles” for use on travel in the future. However, the number of “points” or “miles” needed in order to book an otherwise “free” travel is beyond what is possible to attain for the average traveler. After a certain amount of time, the “points” or “miles” go unused, and are then revoked from the credit card. Put simply, this situation is considered “rewards devaluation” and is not only problematic, but completely avoidable.

What is Rewards Devaluation?

Rewards devaluation occurs when the amount of points needed in order to redeem a reward steadily increases. Consequently, earned points become less valuable. Whenever a consumer makes purchases and earns virtual points, the points are tracked by the credit card company and stored to the credit card holder’s account. Still, rewards devaluation does not necessarily have to occur with a rewards credit card. At any time that reward points are stored on an account for an extended amount of time and are not redeemed, rewards devaluation can occur. Below are some rewards programs that utilize virtual currency and subject to rewards devaluation:

  • Citi ThankYou Points
  • Coca-Cola Rewards/My Coke Points
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Delta Miles
  • Hilton Points
  • Sephora Beauty Insider
  • Starbucks Rewards
  • Walgreens Balance Rewards

Is Rewards Devaluation a Problem?

In smallest words possible: Yes. Billions of dollars of reward points are not redeemed each year. While rewards devaluation isn’t the number one problem for unredeemed points, it certainly has an impact. Aside from the obvious problems of rewards devaluation (i.e. consumers cannot redeem points for promised rewards), there is another issue consumers must face. Because there are so many different rewards programs on the market (especially with credit card companies), consumers often face the difficult process of determining which rewards program suits their individual needs. Considering rewards devaluation in choosing a rewards program is thus nearly impossible. There are a couple of reasons why rewards devaluation occurs, and why it so significantly impacts the amount of unredeemed points:

  • Zero regulations. Currently, there aren’t any regulations involving how a company can devalue its rewards. Because of this, companies have full power to devalue rewards at any given time, without any warning or reason. Some companies do offer disclosed information, but such regulations are implemented solely for credit card companies. However, redemption information is disclosed incredibly unclearly, making reward devaluation difficult to track.
  • Financial health of the company. To reiterate: Companies invest in rewards programs because they increase economic revenue; consumers spend more money because they believe they are benefitting in the long run. Therefore, when companies fall upon times of economic hardship, they are more likely to increase the amount of redeemable points needed for consumers to receive a reward. The promise of a reward isn’t too costly, but actually giving a reward is. As such, to save money, companies will engage in the process of reward devaluation.

Can Rewards Devaluation be Avoided?

There are two primary methods to avoid rewards devaluation. The first is to simply not engage in rewards programs. This option isn’t optimal, because although reward devaluation can occur, there are many benefits involved in participating in a rewards program. For instance, many consumers do redeem points for rewards each year, and are very happy with their rewards. In addition, rewards programs also help consumers become more aware and more cautious of their spending habits. Still, removing oneself from rewards program eliminates the problem of rewards devaluation, but such a decision is not always ideal or feasible for many consumers.

The second method to avoid rewards devaluation is to limit your memberships solely to cash-based rewards programs.  Since cash cannot lose value, the money you earn while spending does not have the opportunity to devalue. Of course, many cash-based rewards programs are not as appealing as points- or miles-based rewards programs. Cash-based rewards programs tend to offer lower incentives, largely because cash-based rewards programs are considerably more costly for the company implementing the program. However, if you are concerned with rewards devaluation, limit current memberships and instead opt for cash-based rewards programs.

What are the Best Credit Cards to Avoid Devaluation?

Many credit card companies offer consumers the option to participate in rewards programs. Since cash-based rewards programs have the least risk of being subjected to rewards devaluation, seek out credit cards that are automatically tied to a cash-based rewards program. The following chart includes a short list of credit cards with cash-based rewards programs.

Card Name Issuing Company Rewards Qualifying Credit
Quicksilver Capital One 1.5% on all purchases Excellent
Journey for Students Capital One 1% on all purchases + 25% bonus on earned cash back Average
Various Discover 5% on all purchases in given quarterly categories Average-Excellent
Freedom Chase 1% on all purchases in given categories Average

Best Online Job Search Techniques

Back in the day we would get up in the morning and get the local newspaper and have a look at the classified ads to see what jobs were advertised. These days have gone and there are so many other ways to search for work now. The days of the walking the street and submitting resumes in all the shops are not as successful as they used to be. Now, with the internet and social media, looking for work has changed so much. Best online job search techniques are very easy to navigate. You can discover so much online. Social media is also great tool for searching for employment. Some companies have been known to advertise on their Facebook page. Something that seems quite strange to the older generation, but to the younger generation this seems quite normal. Almost 70% of people that you ask have Facebook and about 80% have heard of it.

Many companies will only accept job applications if they are submitted online now. You can also go into some of the job sites like Simply Hired and Monster and save your preferences. That way if a position comes up that you have supplied details for, you get an email. So instead of checking the classifieds daily, you would check your email box. If you set up a profile and set up automatic alerts, if your dream job comes up, you are alerted and you can apply straight away.

Here are some tips for best online job search techniques.

Best online job search techniques – Create an online profile. For your profile to be great and to shine to prospective employers you need to put some thought into your profile. Be sure to complete as many questions on your profile. Make it appealing. Add a photo, an up to date photo and definitely not one taken 10 years ago. Be sure to detail your education, any training you have had and your employment history. Even put down any volunteer work, this shows prospective employers that you are willing to put your time into helping people. This shows that you are a team player. Then go over your profile. Does it read well? Does it make you sound employable? Would you employ this person if you were reading this? If you don’t think that you would, go over it again. Another tip to remember – when you type up your profile, use keywords. If you use keywords that match the job you are applying for this helps if a company has recruiters who search for matching candidates. Make sure that you profile is always up to date.

Best online job search techniques – Uploading your resume. Even before you sit down and the computer and start tapping away, jot down some information. Typing up a resume is not as simple as writing everything you have done over the last 5 years. A resume that is submitted is more likely to be selected out of 20 others if it isn’t 10 pages long. It is also a good idea to make it look appealing. A manager who is going over resumes to pick the selected few for an interview is more likely to put aside a resume that is appealing to the eye. Before sending off your resume, do your research. Make sure that you read the job description. A tip that employers look for is if the job description says – The position requires telephone sales, then you may want to put exactly that in your resume. If a business has email filters, this will surely get it into their inbox.

Best online job search techniques – Setting your job search to automatic. Some of the best online job search techniques use this. Most people lead busy lives and do not have the time to be sitting on the internet waiting for their dream job. Having auto alerts set up means that you can periodically check online or in some cases your mobile phone (which most people have the internet on now days) will alert you if a job comes up with your key search words. Make sure when you set this up, you are specific with your wording. For example you may want an office job. If you only have office job as your search words, you will get alerts for juniors, traineeships, part-time, full-time. Your search should be specific as to whether a senior or junior position, whether you have training, the area you are wanting to work – zip code.

This narrows down the search but gives you a better chance of landing the position that you have the experience in and in the area that you live.

Final notes

Your ultimate goal is to land the job you want. If you have a profile and successfully navigate the job sites, using your search words you should be able to find jobs suited to you. Be thorough and if you like a position, even before you apply for the position, do an online search of the business.

Aging and Your Life Insurance Rates

If you are in the market for a new life insurance policy, there are a few things you should know before committing to purchasing a policy. For instance, the age of the policy holder significantly affects available life insurance rates. Life insurance rates, or how much you will pay for insurance, are dependent upon many factors. Here, we will discuss how age and aging affects your life insurance rates.

Life insurance rates

Thinking about Policies

There are three types of life insurance policies: term, whole, and universal.

Term. Term policies offer insurance for a predetermined amount of time.

Whole. Whole policies accumulate a specific cash value.

Universal. Universal policies are flexible, and accumulates cash value over time, and you can shift between the policy’s different financial components (typically insurance or savings).

The type of policy you get will largely determine your life insurance rates. For example, the cash value on whole and universal policies can increase or decrease your premiums.

Thinking about Age

Regardless of the type of policy, the most important factor in determining life insurance rates is age.

The annual premium (i.e. rate) of a given life insurance policy is primarily dictated by how old the policy holder is. Simply put, the younger the person, the lower the rate. For each year that you age, your life insurance rates will also increase. Industry experts identify a 5-12% increase each year, depending on your age range. It may seem unfair, but from a business perspective, the closer somebody is to the national life expectancy age, the more risk is involved for the insurance company.

For term policies, life insurance rates are set at the time of purchase. In other words, regardless of the age you are when you first take out the life insurance policy, the rate is placed at a set amount at the time of purchase. For the entire duration of the policy, your life insurance rate will neither increase nor decrease. Term policy life insurance rates work in this way by averaging out the yearly rising premiums. So, instead of having a rising premium every year, you pay a standard rate every year that might be lower or higher with another type of policy. However, there is a drawback to term policies: when the term expires, you might experience increased rates, depending on how old you are.

For whole policies, life insurance rates increase with age. Typically, insurance premiums are decided by the insurance carrier, and are reevaluated each year you hold the policy. So, with each birthday your life insurance rates will increase. This rise in price occurs because of the relationship between cash value and mortality changes. As your mortality rises (your age increases), cash value decreases. (Remember, whole policies accumulate cash value over time.)

For universal policies, life insurance rates do not tend to be significantly influenced by age. Universal policy premiums might go up or down depending on the rate of return on the cash value. In order to keep coverage and ensure the policy remains in effect as you age, you may have to include a higher funding amount, especially if the policy ends up returning a lower amount of cash value.

Thinking about Coverage

Depending on the type of policy you are seeking and the insurance carrier you work with, you may or may not be offered coverage.

Often, insurance companies will require you to undergo health-related testing to determine if you qualify for coverage. Below are some common examples of qualification tests based on health:

• Medical exams

• Physical exams

• Blood testing (e.g. blood borne illnesses like HIV)

• Urine testing (e.g. Drug use or pregnancy)

• Psycho-therapy  exams (e.g. psychiatric illnesses like Depression and Anxiety)

Furthermore, you might be offered specific plans because of your age. Below are some common examples of qualification terms based on age:

• The 20-year plan. Term policies typically only last 20 years. If you are between the ages of 18 and 70, you will likely only be qualified for one 20-year term policy. Once you have completed a full 20-year plan, it is unlikely you will be able to qualify for another 20-year term policy.

• Cognitive medical testing (e.g. age-related mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Dementia)

Aging, in Sum

In conclusion, age indeed significantly affects the premium of your life insurance policy. And although age is of concern for life insurance companies, annual premiums might be determined by other life and lifestyle factors,. Other life elements that might influence your life insurance rates include:

• Sex/gender

• Quality of health

• Smoking status and drug use

• Family health history

• Hobbies and recreational activities

• BMI (or height and weight)

• Occupation

• Personal medical history/number of hospitalizations

• Number of dependents

Still, life insurance rates may be determined by other life and lifestyle factors, age is of concern for all life insurance companies. To get the best life insurance rates, do your research and shop the market before purchasing.