Small Business Loans

By information.com — Published September 18, 2017

Small Business Loans

Small Business in the United States created her 63% of new jobs! However, running a small business is a lot harder than it seems. Many people want to start their own business, but never take into consideration all the moving parts that go into running a business of their own.

If you own a small business and are in need of a loan or a credit line. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Setting up a line of credit. A line small business line of credit provides the business owners a credit limit of up to $100,000. The business pays an interest on the money borrowed. You may repay the loan as you wish, for as long as you do not exceed your line of credit.
  2. Accounts Receivable Financing. This is a set up where a company makes use of its incoming, receivables, and any other money owed to them as a guarantee in a loan agreement. This is a case where a company uses its ‘incoming assets’ against a cash loan. It is a good way to get immediate cash for companies that are in need.
  3. Small Business Loans. A small business loan is typically a loan for a specific dollar amount and is used by business owners to manage business operations or expanding their business. Interest on small businesses loans is pretty straight forward. Your interest is paid monthly and the loan term varies from 6 months to 36 months. Interest options change by the type of loan obtained.
  4. Equipment Business Loans. In many cases factories and businesses that involved manufacturing relay on their equipment to give services or build products. A business equipment loan allows small businesses the option to take a loan in order to buy equipment. To secure this type of loan, the business must submit a down payment of at least 20% of the equipment cost. Equipment loans vary from $1,000 to $50,000. An equipment loan has a fixed or variable interest.
  5. Small Business Credit Cards. Most small businesses use credit cards to pay for many of their operation expenses. This is a good way to build up the business’s credit line as well as obtain points that can be used in ways such as travel. Credit Card companies offer a number of set ups when you get a business credit card. Some offer 0% interest for up to 12 months, cash-back, and other rewards.

United States Small Business Facts:

  1. A small business is an independently owned company with number of employees of less than 500. A small law firm that has 30 employees is an example of a small business. In many cases a small business employees less than 100 employees.
  2. Equity in small business is not publicly traded and is personally owned by the business owners.
  3. Another measure for small business is an annual revenue of less than $25,000,000.
  4. There is anywhere between 25 million to 30 million small businesses in the United States.
  5. In the United States, about 50% of the working population works in small businesses.
  6. Over 500,000 new businesses get started and registered each month in the United States.
  7. Over 50% of small businesses are managed and operated from the owner’s homes.
  8. Over 50% of small business owners are over 50 years old. Less than 20% of small business owners are under the age of 35.
  9. 10% of small businesses in the United States close shop every year!
  10. 63% of new jobs every year are created by small businesses.
  11. 19% of small businesses in the United States are family owned.
  12. About 2% of small businesses in the United States are franchisees.

What is Forex Trading?

By information.com — Published October 11, 2017

What is Forex Trading?

Forex, also called FX, simply stands for foreign exchange. It refers to the conversion and trading of one currency to another and therefore is also known as currency market or forex finance. It is a global decentralized market where all the currencies of the world are traded against each other. Whether selling, buying or exchanging currencies at a current rate, also known as floating or a fixed rate, forex trading encompasses all.

The forex market is the world’s largest financial market with its daily trading averaging more than $5 trillion. It is also the world’s most liquid and volatile market. This volatility is what makes forex trading so attractive to traders worldwide. There are more risks involved, however, if done right, you would be able to earn more profit!

Why do people trade forex?

The main reason why people undertake forex trading is that they aim to earn a profit. Although the reasons may differ from person to person, there are two major activities that constitute a huge portion of everyday forex trades.

  • Purchasing foreign goods and services

The most common form of forex trading, purchasing goods and services abroad requires a business or an individual to exchange currencies. So, if you have ever traveled abroad or purchased anything online from another country, it means you have made a forex transaction. In other words, forex is necessary for international trade.

It is important to note that even though foreign exchanges for practical purposes are made every minute of the day, they do not constitute a huge portion of all forex trading. Instead, most people trade currencies to make a profit out of it, which is discussed in the second point.

  • Speculation by traders/investors

Usually, traders who speculate on prices or rates of foreign exchange do not intent on taking delivery of the currency itself. Rather, they aim to take advantage of movements in the forex market.

If you are a major investor, you can make huge numbers of large forex trades even in just one day. They constantly react to and anticipate changes or movements in the price of a currency. One reason why forex is the most liquid market in the world is that it makes trading currencies against each other relatively easy and simple. This is also why forex is much more volatile than any other financial market.

Mostly, international banks like Barclays and Citigroup are the biggest traders in the forex market. They aim to take advantage of the fluctuating exchange rates in the forex market and make a profit off of them. A lot of individual traders make up a huge portion of the market too.

Governments and central banks also involve themselves in the forex market so as to keep their economy under control by regulating the supply of currency. Apart from these, businesses and other financial institutions, and everyday consumers also participate in the market directly or indirectly through overseas transactions, foreign market investments or traveling abroad.

What influences exchange rates?

As is the case with most financial markets, exchange rates or price movement in the forex market is determined mostly by supply and demand. Huge banks and other investors all over the world choose to invest their capital into sturdy and stable economies so that they can make secure investments and make as much profit as they can. So, if a particular region or country is hit with positive news financially, it will attract more investment, thereby increasing demand for that particular region or country’s currency.

This means that unless there is a corresponding increase in that currency’s supply, the difference between the supply and demand will result in increasing prices. Likewise, if a region is hit with negative news, it will discourage investments and foreign businesses, thereby decreasing the currency’s exchange rate. This implies that currencies are reflections of a region’s economic health.

In other words, forex prices go up when the circulation of a particular currency decreases or the demand for it increases. On the other hand, forex prices decrease when currency circulation increases or demand for that particular currency decreases.

Where do you trade forex?

Unlike the stock market, forex trading is decentralized. Or in other words, there is no physical place where currency exchanges are made. Instead, there is a direct exchange between the two parties involved, in a process known as over-the-counter (OTC) market.

So, the forex market, in principle, is run by a worldwide network of banks, which is spread across four main trading centers, all in different time zones. These centers are in New York, London, Tokyo, and Sydney. Forex can be traded 24 hours a day since they do not have to go through any central location. Keep in mind that you will need a forex broker.

How do you trade forex?

Similar to exchanging stocks, you can trade forex based on your predictions for the value of a particular currency. So, if you think a currency’s value will increase, you can buy it. If you think that’s it is headed toward a lower value, you can sell it or choose not to buy. Since the market is huge, the world’s biggest market, to be precise, it is often not difficult to find e-buyers and sellers anytime. For example, if you hear that India is reducing its currency value in order to attract more foreign investments into the country, you can make a forex trade by selling the Indian currency, the Rupee (INR) against another currency, for example, the US dollar (USD). The more the difference between the two currencies, that is, the more the Indian Rupee devalues compared to the US dollar, the more profit you will make.

Every forex trade constitutes two different currencies, as you are exchanging one for the other. For example, the most commonly traded pairs in the world are the Euro (EUR) and the US dollar (USD) or how it is represented in forex, EUR/USD. The first currency, EUR in this case, is called the base, while the second currency, the USD is called the counter. So, when a quoted price comes on, that price is the worth of one Euro in US dollars.

You will always see two prices on your platform. One is the selling price, while the other is the buying price. The difference between the two prices is called the spread. When you click either buy or sell, it is the first currency you are performing the action on.

It is important to understand that forex trading is not a way of becoming a millionaire overnight. As mentioned before, forex trading constitutes high profits, but at the same time, involves higher risks than other financial markets as well. You could lose money as easily as you make money. So always be careful, do your research, consult experts and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

As stated earlier, the FX market is the world's largest market, with a daily trading of greater than 4 trillion dollars. It is also a platform where the 'small fish' can score big, mainly because no one can control the FX market for a long period of time.

How to Make Money Online

By information.com — Published October 10, 2017

How to Make Money Online $

It’s easy to make money today. You don’t even have to get out of your home to make a few dollars. All you need is a computer and an Internet connection. But the thing with making money online is that there are a lot of fake websites and other platforms whose intentions are the exact opposite of helping you make money. Sometimes, it can be a difficult job to decide which websites are trustworthy.

There are many ways that you can make plenty of money on the web. Even though they are not a means of getting rich overnight, they sure do help you get by with a little extra cash. The best part is that you can do all these from the comfort of your own home with just a few clicks. And you can usually work at your own pace and time too.

Here are the best and simplest ways to make online from legitimate websites.

  1. Create your own niche website

A niche website, as the name suggests, is a website created for a very targeted audience with field-specific information. The content presented on the website must be interesting and useful for its target group. If done right, niche websites can receive around 1,000 to 10,000 or more visitors every month.

The aim here is to create website content based on a certain relevant keyword and generate passive income using Google Adsense or external linkings. It is important that you choose a niche that will be the most profitable, a niche that people can relate to and will most likely search for information related to it. Some common examples include passions like fashion, and fitness and health, and solutions to financial problems like how to get out of a bad credit. According to your niche, research keywords and choose a domain name that matches the keywords. Now, you can set up your site using a popular website building CMS (content management system) like WordPress.

   2. Write and sell an e-book

If you have a flair for writing, another easy way to earn money online is to write an e-book and sell it online on platforms like Kindle or Apple’s iTunes connect. There are a number of self-published authors who have taken this path and earned lots of money.

Although non-fiction writings are more preferable as they tend to earn more profit, even fiction writings can be sold on such platforms. So, if you have a great idea for a story or have extensive knowledge about a certain industry you have been working in for a long time, writing and selling an e-book may be the best idea for you to make money online.

The best part about this option is that you can generate passive income even after years as long as your book is in demand and people continue to buy it. You do not have to invest a huge amount of money. What matters most is the quality of the content and the time and energy you put into marketing it.

   3. Become a freelance writer

If you’re not really into publishing an e-book but still interested in writing, then you can opt to work as a freelance writer. There are hundreds of freelancing websites on the Internet. All you have to do is sign up, choose which fields you are interested in, and select writing jobs put up by companies all over the world.

The best part about writing freelance is that you get to work on your timings and at your own pace, as long as you meet the deadline. If you deliver quality work that companies are satisfied with, your rankings go up and you even get to increase your rates. Some popular and credible freelancing websites are freelancer.com, freelancewriting.com, and flexjobs.com.

   4. Take paid online surveys

One of the easiest ways to earn money online is by filling up surveys from different companies. Many research companies are always looking out for people to take their surveys and test all kinds of products and services before they start selling them to the public. 

It is common knowledge that filling up surveys on the Internet will probably not turn you into a millionaire, but it will help you earn enough extra cash - usually around $4 to $5. You can either choose to be paid by cash or if you prefer goodies, opt for exciting rewards. Some of the most popular survey sites are Vivatic, Valued Opinions, Toluna, MySurvey, OnePoll, Pinecone, PanelBase, SurveyBods, iPoll, and Mind Mover.

   5. Make money using Fiverr

It is easy to make money by selling your services, called “gigs”, on Fiverr, the world’s largest and most popular online service market. You can put up absolutely anything as a service – writing, graphic designing, teaching how to play the guitar, translating or even playing pranks, and offer it at a price. Although the default rate is $5 (that’s why the website is called “Fiverr”), you can increase it by adding extra services.

 

You can sell your services or products on this site and generate surprisingly good amounts of money. The secret to earning more money is to minimize the time you invest in each of your gigs. While it may not seem like you earn much at first, it is important to know that it takes time to succeed on Fiverr like any other website where you make money. If you deliver outstanding gigs, your ratings will go up and you have more chances of earning more money.  

   6. Put up your professional services for sale

If you have extensive skills and knowledge in a particular field or industry, you can put up your professional services for sale on websites like Upwork and 99Designs. While 99Designs is a platform solely for graphic designers, Upwork is a platform where you can put up literally any service in any field for sale. It is important to keep in mind that it takes time to build your own credibility and increase your ratings on such platforms. One trick is to find out how the most successful people in your niche go about with their work and learn from them. 

On 99Designs, you can find all kinds of companies looking for designers to work on their banners, logos or website designs. They will put up a description of what they have in mind or how they want a particular job done, and any user of the site can send in their work. The approved submissions are then paid for accordingly.

On the other hand, Upwork has around 1.5 million clients in various industries looking for freelancers of all kinds. Whether you want to work on a long-term or short-term project, Upwork has it all. 

   7. Tutor students online

If education and teaching is your forte, then you can make money by tutoring students online. Many families increasingly prefer the flexibility that an online tutor offers. Depending on your educational background, you could be tutoring a college student or simply helping out a third grader with his or her homework. The only resources you need apart from your education are a computer and a stable Internet connection.

Some common websites for offering tutoring services are Tutor.com, Eduwizards, HomeworkHelp.com, Brainfuse, and Aim4a. Most websites require you to have a college degree. While some websites assign you students, others put up your profile on their site and allow customers to select their tutor of choice. You can earn as much as $9 to $30 dollars based on your qualification and the subject you are teaching.

  8. Sell old or unwanted belongings online

One of the most common and easiest ways to make money online is to sell old or unwanted belongings on platforms like eBay. You can sell basically anything on eBay – clothes, jewelry, books, furniture, electrical gadgets, you name it. If they are rare models or editions that are not in production anymore today, you can get really good deals on them.

 

All you have to do is click a few pictures of what you want to sell, post it on eBay with a brief description of what it is and sell it to the highest bidder. For years, eBay has been the most commonly used platform to sell your old stuff. You can even predict the next big trend, buy the product at low rates in bulk and as soon as demand rises, you can sell it at much higher rates.

  9. Resell domain names

Another way to make money online is by reselling domain names. You can buy domain names from sites like GoDaddy.com and sell it again at much higher prices. The trick here is to do a bit of research or keep up with the trends in the market and predict which phrases or words will have high commercial value in the future. The domain name vacationrentals.com was sold for as high as $35 million in 2007!

Although it is highly unlikely that you will get to sell your domain names at such whopping amounts, you can always sell them to the highest bidder on sites like Flippa and Sedo. Always keep in mind that “.com” extensions are much more in demand and cooler than “.net” or “.orgs”.

It is easy to earn money online, but it isn't going to happen without any efforts from your part. The good news is that if you are willing to make an effort and spend enough time, you would definitely be able to make a good amount of money online!

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Where Can I Get a Personal Loan?

By information.com — Published October 10, 2017

Where can I Get a Personal Loan?

Are you in need of a personal loan? Getting loans from lenders can be a time-consuming task. There are multiple forms that you would need to fill and various procedures and checks that you would need to undergo, in order to become eligible for a personal loan.

If you’ve been wondering where to get a personal loan, the answer is the bank. While there may be multiple other unorganized financiers who are willing to provide you the finances you need, it is recommended to approach a bank for loans of all types. Taking a loan from the bank provides security for applicants, reducing the risk attached to loans.

Another way to get personal loans is through online financial websites, who either work with or are offshoots of banks and other financial agencies. But, before we understand the loan application process, let’s take a look at the types of personal loans that you can apply for.

Types of personal loans

Lenders provide loans of two types. They are:

  • Secured loans

These loans are secured against a property that is owned by the applicant. When applying for a secured loan, applicants must mortgage a property or item that belongs to them, such as their house, car, electronic goods and so on. In the event of non-repayment, lenders are eligible to seize and auction the mortgaged items to recover the money. While the risk for the applicant is higher here, the interest you need to pay is lower.

  • Unsecured loans

Here, lenders do not have any recourse available in event of non-repayment, as the applicant does not need to mortgage any property while applying for the loan. However, the interest that needs to be paid is significantly higher here.

Loan application process

Are you unsure how to get a personal loan from a bank? Banks have a seven-step process when it comes to whetting loan applicants and providing personal loans. Understanding how this process works will help you equip yourself with the necessary documentation and be more knowledgeable about what is expected out of you post-sanction of the loan.

  • Submission of application

Each bank will have a particular application form that they provide applicants who seek personal loans. The form will have questions regarding the applicant’s personal details, employment details, the reason for loan application and so on. Be sure to fill all the details to the best of your knowledge, as failure to provide correct information can be construed as a criminal offense.

  • Personal Interview

Banks conduct a face-to-face personal interview with the applicants, to better understand the reason for the loan application. Banks take on a lot of risks while distributing loans and personal interviews serve as a way to sieve out undeserving candidates. You can use the interview to learn more about the terms and conditions of the loan you are applying for.

It’s important to remember that personal loans, although useful, come with their own share of pitfalls. Here are some facts about personal loans that you need to keep in mind while applying for them:

  • Personal loans are available only for a fixed term and the time period is decided during the application process.
  • You will need to pay a fixed interest on the loan for the entire duration of the lending.
  • Pre-payment and pre-closure penalties may be levied if you wish to clear the loan before the lapse of the lending period.
  • Some personal loans are sold with insurance, leading to high premiums getting attached to the loans.
  • Your personal loan may be subjected to pre-compounded interest making interest rates higher.

Be sure to ask your bank officer regarding the above points, during the personal interview. 

  • Checking of the credit score

Your personal credit rating is an indicator of how well you handle your money. Banks use this score to understand whether their money will be safe in your hands or not. You will be asked to provide bank statements and other credit information during this stage. If you are a self-employed individual, remember to submit your books of accounts to the bank officer.

Credit scores are divided into categories, such as:

  • 300-629: Bad credit
  • 630-689: Average credit
  • 690-719: Good credit
  • 720 and higher: Excellent credit

If you fall above 690 in your credit score, you will have no problem getting the loan. However, if your rating is lesser than 690, you may be expected to furnish additional credit documents to your bank officer. Other reasons for failing to get the loan could be a shoddy work history, too many credit obligations, limited earning capability or a history with the authorities.

  • Pre-qualification for the personal loan

Reaching this stage indicates that the banks consider you a good candidate for the loan. At this stage, the bank will ask for additional information such as your Social Security Number, details about previous debt obligations, salary break-up, other sources of income and so on.

  • Document filing

Once you are pre-qualified to get the loan, you will be asked to submit important documents to secure the loan. You will be expected to file your salary slips, income tax forms, bank statements, passbook details, documents for mortgaged items, proof of place of residence, proof of citizenship and photo identity proof. You may be asked to submit other documents as well, depending on the details of your personal loan.

  • Agreement signing

Once all the documents have been verified and filed, a formal document will be drafted and both you and your bank officer need to sign this. A copy, containing the terms and conditions will be given to you.

Apply for your personal loan online

A visit to the bank is just one way to secure the loan. If however, you find that you are unable to visit the branch in person, you can choose to apply for your personal loans online. There are many online financing websites and portals that provide personal loans to applicants. Websites such as NerdWallet and Cashwell Online allow users to apply for loans on their portals. Many banks too have websites, where customers can apply for various types of loans. While the method of application changes, the procedure remains the same.

Things to do while applying for a personal loan

Experts recommend applicants to follow a few steps, during their loan application process. These are:

  • Keep your options open and check out various avenues for personal loans, before finalizing on one.
  • Check the interest rate charged by different banks and websites and choose one that suits your requirements.
  • Certain loans come along with other benefits such as insurance. Explore your options and select the one that works for you.
  • Read the fine print at the bottom of your loan agreement or have your lawyer look it over, before signing it.

When should you take a personal loan?

While there is no hard-and-fast rule about when to take a personal loan, here are a few situations where these loans might come in handy:

  • Higher education
  • Medical bills
  • High debts, including consolidated loans, credit card debts and more
  • Home remodeling
  • Foreign travel
  • Wedding expenses
  • Purchase of capital goods

Personal loans are extremely beneficial when you are in dire need of cash. Compared to other loans they are easy to get and easy to repay. Understanding how to apply for and secure these loans will make the entire process hassle-free.

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How to Deal with Financial Stress

By information.com — Published October 10, 2017

How to Deal with Financial Stress

Few problems are as mortifying as the stress of having countless debts to your name and little resources to pay them off. That being said, prolonged financial stress can have major debilitating effects of both your physical as well as emotional health. At any given time, there are numerous such individuals around the world that are not only suffering from depression, hypertension, anxiety, and other mental disorders in the wake of a financial setback but also have in some extreme cases been afflicted with more severe medical conditions such as stroke and heart failure!

Now the fact that you are reading this, clarifies that you or someone you know are experiencing some kind of financial stress and are looking for ways of getting rid of it. The good news is that like almost every other ailment in the world, financial stress too can be effectively dealt with and eliminated completely from your life. Managing your debts and planning for your future finances is the key to staying on top of your finances and restoring your utmost peace of mind. To make things easier for you, we here list out a few ways in which you can effectively deal with financial stress and manage your life well.

Gauge the situation

The most common mistake most people commit is not delving deeper into their financial crisis and staying petrified of the unknown. While some believe that talking about their financial problems is not exactly a good idea, the others are simply terrified at the prospect of uncovering the ugly truth of how much they actually owe to the bank. The fact, however, is that simply shutting your eyes and turning a blind eye to everything does not imply that the problem does not exist! You need to come to terms with reality and proactively take a closer look at your financial shortfalls to identify the best corrective measures that can be employed. Chances are that once you have effectively gauged your actual situation, a substantial portion of your stress will be released. And as they say ‘Knowledge is power’, the more you know about your condition, the better equipped you will be in dealing with it!

Review your budget

So basically, if you do not have a budget in place, it is exactly the time to create one and manage your income and expenses better. On the other hand, if you already follow a budget, a financial setback might imply that there is a need for you to review it immediately. Although your budget might have been effective in the past, a major transformation in your personal or professional life such as having a kid or losing a job might end up wreaking havoc on your current finances. That being said, it is imperative to review your budget and determine if there are any unnecessary expenses that you can strike off the list. It is helpful in knowing not only where you want to go but also how you can get there.

Get the help of a professional

If the situation seems to be too out of control and beyond your scope of correcting, it is a good idea to take up the assistance of a professional such as a financial planner to fix things on your behalf. While some people are too embarrassed about the idea of accessing professional help for their finances, the others simply deem it an unnecessary expenditure that would eventually shove them deeper under the burden of debt. That being said, financial experts highly recommend hiring professional help for dealing with grave financial setbacks and restoring the stability of life in general. Also, professional financial planners can not only help in addressing the problem at hand but also offer their valuable insight in managing your finances ensuring that you do not face any such issues in the future.

Focus on the now

It is quite natural to feel too overwhelmed about your finances when you are experiencing a major shortage of funds and there are countless debts jeering at your inability to pay them off. That being said, you must understand that recovering from a grave financial pitfall is essentially a long-term project that will progress gradually and you cannot expect to reverse your situation overnight. Needless to say, it is essential that you take one step at a time instead of trying to fix everything in one go. Get over your past and stop brooding over your future. Focus on your current situation and try to figure out ways of improving your life right now. People who disregard the power of the present and choose to dwell in the past or future find it even more difficult to deal with the situation at hand.

Eliminate your debts

Regardless of however obvious this one might seem, it is worthwhile to keep reminding yourself of how important effectively dealing with your debt really is. One of the major reasons for financial stress among a majority of the people is the burden of a massive debt that gets bigger by the day and eventually becomes impossible to pay off with the resources at hand. Regardless of whether your debt is a result of reckless spending or an unforeseen life crisis, it is essentially a part of the past and you need to stop dwelling on how you could have done things differently. Now is the time to extricate yourself from within the clutches of your debt and restore the stability of your financial health. The best way to achieve this is gathering all relevant details of whatever you owe to the bank or other people and then designing a schedule that you would follow towards reaching your goal of eliminating all debt. Experts recommend paying off the debt with the largest amount first and then proceeding to the others in a descending order. Doing this will minimize the interest portion that you need to pay to the creditors and effectively reduce your financial load in the long haul.

Set realistic future goals

Once you manage to pay off your debt and get your finances under control, it will be important to have your future financial planning in place to ensure that you do not face a similar crisis again. For that, you need to work on creating a realistic financial plan for the future as well. Monitor your spending habits and make it a point to stick to the essentials while refraining from unnecessary overspending in the future. Create an emergency fund for the rainy day by contributing a portion of your earnings to your monthly savings. Inculcate smart investment habits and dedicate a fixed amount to your preferred investment plans and policies to grow your seed money. Work diligently towards minimizing your future debts and spending only as much as you can afford to lose.

Remember, it is the small choices that we make every day that possesses the power to influence our finances in a tremendous way. So, just stay positive and focus on imbibing healthy financial habits not only for as long as you have managed to recover from your current financial crisis but also for leading an entire lifetime of peace and abundance.

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