5 Personal Finance Tips for 2019

Do you want to save money? We all do. Saving money is not the problem. The lack of resources turns out to be the biggest issue most people face. What are we doing wrong? Well, we need to go back to the basics to figure a few things outs. Here are 5 tips that will not only help you save money but will change the way you look and treat money from this moment forward.

1. You need to keep track of your net worth. Your net worth is the what is left after you calculate your assets and debt.

An Example

Trevor currently has in the bank $250,000. His debts total $10,000. Once he pays his debt, in full, he will have $240,000 left over, which will be his net worth.

You need to keep an eye on this figure because it gives you an inside look at where you stand financially. Your amount may differ slightly from Trevor, but you still need to keep an eye on it.

Is your net worth greater or less than your current debt? Those who are in the “greater” column are doing pretty good. Those who are in the “not so great” column, you are not doing so good.

2. You should start setting financial goals. How much do you want to pay off? When? You can say you want to make plans all you want, but, until you do it, you are living in a fantasy. Make a plan and create a chart.

Do you have a Paypal account? They have it set up to where you can create your goals with them. You can keep track of where your money is going, and whether or not you are on track.

How much do you want to have saved? Do you have a specific date in mind? Set the date. Anyone can do it, it does not matter how much money you make.

3. Do you love yourself? This may sound crazy, but it is true. You do need to value yourself. Those who value you themselves more, they will pay off their debts much faster. We have complete control over our lives. One thing I learned in recovery is you are responsible for the choices you make.

One woman started loving herself more once she paid her $20,00 debt. You can do it too. Paying off your debt is another way to be independent because you are dependent on the people you owe money to. Paying the debt off is a way to regain your independence.

4. Start small. Start saving a little bit of money each week from your paycheck. That is what I started to do. You may want to make a purchase this weekend. Do you have a bill that needs to be paid? Pay the bill, buy the item, and keep the rest in your account. You do not need a lot. $15 each week is still $15. The money will begin to add up over time.

5. Learn to be happy with what you have. This is another thing I learned during my recovery. We become obsessed with the idea of “acquiring stuff.” We need to learn how to appreciate what we have now. Take a look around you. You will see that you have a lot to be thankful for.

Everything in life happens for a reason. Sometimes you need to lose something to earn the gratitude. It happened to me.

An Example

I became attached to the idea of simplifying things after I began my mental health recovery. I wanted to simplify my life. I spent a lot of years accumulating things.

How many of you have done the same thing?

You can do the same thing. Take a look at your life. How much do you have? How much do you need? There is a difference? We throw money away on things we do not need. Start small and see what happens. You will be amazed at the amount of money you will save. You will also be amazed at how fast you will pay your debt off.

Conclusion

Start to love yourself. The more you love yourself on the inside, the less inclined you will be to fill the void on the outside.

How to Make Money Cleaning up Foreclosed Homes

Entrepreneur life

Successful entrepreneurs are seldom left wanting for opportunities to make serious money. While property is and always will be one of the primary cash-cows for savvy businessmen, there are other ways to profit aside from sales and lettings.

This is where foreclosures come in, or to be more specific, bringing foreclosed homes up to scratch for buyers. As these type of properties are typically sold in “as is” conditions, they will not have adequate repairs or be brought up to spec for the buyer. A Queens foreclosure may look like a dream property according to its location and exterior, but the inside of the home may be more of a nightmare.

In 2017, there were close to 700,000 foreclosure filings. While this is not quite at the rate it was at the turn of the decade, it still represents a worthy business endeavor for any willing entrepreneur.

A Low Cost & High Margin Opportunity–Banks or U.S. Department of Housing of Urban Development (HUD) are typically mortgage holders of foreclosed homes. While they are not responsible for bringing the properties up to good repair, they do hire contract cleaners to ensure the home is clean and reasonably presented. This is who you will approach or hope to have approach you, for your services.

Your job will be to remove any unwanted items and freshen the place up a little, which does not make for costly overheads or massive expenses. In fact, you can even rent out equipment to complete the job until you build up your reputation

Ensure You Can Get Business in Your Area – There is little point in starting a foreclosure cleaning company if there is no business in your area. You can do some market research to determine if the opportunity to make money in your new venture is worth the time of setting up your business. Look through the foreclosure listings in your area, and how many other entrepreneurs have already established their businesses.

You can contact banks and institutions in your locality to present your services, or approach your local HUD office to see if they require cleaners for their foreclosed homes.

You Don’t Have to Limit Your Services–If you have the resources to set up a home cleaning company, you may include foreclosure clean-ups as part of your overall services. For example, if you target rental properties to begin with, you may earn contracts as a foreclosed property cleaner by establishing your business beforehand. Having a reputation built on the back of excellent reviews may see you refusing work in the end.

As far as a business opportunity goes, cleaning foreclosed homes is an excellent way to make money. If you can convince mortgage holders that your service is the only one worth using, there is a chance that you can establish yourself in a comfortable position. Even if you do start off cleaning foreclosed homes, with enough capital, you can eventually expand to rental properties and offices.

How to Beat Debt When Life Is Unfair

 

There are people out there who have played by the rules their entire lives. They bought only what they could pay for, when they could pay for it. They’ve never borrowed a dime and prided themselves on always paying their bills on time. And yet, thousands of people fitting that very description will still find themselves wondering how to beat debt when life is unfair.

Medical Bills

Even if you have medical insurance, one really bad illness could leave you many thousands of dollars in debt and facing bankruptcy. High deductibles, non-covered procedures and policy exclusions can leave people forced to decide between living in debt and letting loved ones die. What’s worse, you won’t even find out how much things cost until you absolutely need them. There’s no price list available when you check into a hospital. They tell you it’s needed, you say “OK” and they stick you with a bill.

Identity Theft

The downside of maintaining a great credit rating is the potential for unscrupulous individuals to eye it hungrily and usurp your good name. Once they figure out how to “be you” they’ll run up obscene amounts of debt and vanish into the ether. You’ve done everything you could to build up a good name and suddenly you’re facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt—you didn’t even get to have the fun of creating. This is just as true for business owners as it is for consumers. If the victim is successful at getting the charges reversed, a small business owner could still be on the hook for whatever the bank couldn’t recover.

Trying to Help a Family Member

You’re at home one evening, relaxing after a hard day at work when your phone rings. It’s your grandchild who just moved to the city and is trying to get an apartment. They don’t have a credit history, so they need someone to cosign the lease. You love your grandbaby and you want to help. They assure you they have a great job and the decision won’t come back to haunt you. Then (you guessed it) 18 months later, the property manager calls you, says they can’t find your grandbaby—who disappeared owing 15 months of rent, plus fees and interest. And now, you do.

Life Can Be Unfair

There are times when life simply isn’t fair. And, even though you’ve always done the right thing, insurmountable debt can still find its way to your door. In those instances, if you don’t have a sizable nest egg, or an income capable of dealing with the debt—plus what you require to live—you’re in need of a solution.

Debt Relief

In such circumstances, you could feel entirely justified in filing for bankruptcy and walking away from the entire mess. However, that could have some very negative ramifications, including the liquidation of certain assets and an ugly mark on your formerly pristine credit record—for 10 years.

The next best solution is to engage a debt negotiation firm to get the debtor to waive fees, interest payments and a portion of the principal amount so you can pay the debt off. Yes, this will have negative credit ramifications too, but not nearly as bad as a bankruptcy—plus it won’t put your assets at risk.

And, while you may be wondering is a company like Freedom Debt relief legit, there are many ways you can assure yourself you’re working with a forthright debt relief company who will serve your best interests.

This can be the perfect way to beat debt when life is unfair.

7 Reasons Why Less Qualified People Are More Successful Than You

 

promotedYou’re smart, right?

I mean, you might not be a genius, but neither is that guy that just got your promotion. It’s not the first time this has happened either. It seems like you’re always getting passed over for the gigs that come complete with more responsibility and a bigger pay check. Some less qualified Smoh swoops in and steels your thunder.

What gives?

You’ve got brains, dashing good looks, and plenty of credentials. From the outside looking in, you are a business rock star. You have potential; you’re just waiting for the talent agent – your boss – to notice. You’re ready for the big time; you just have to wait it out.

Oh no, there it is – the first red flag.

You’re waiting for someone to notice you, your talents and your abilities? Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. While you’re waiting for permission to implement of your brilliant ideas, those second rate less qualified nobodies you despise aren’t sitting on their hands; they’re taking action. They’re not waiting to get noticed, they’re going to make waves and get noticed.

We might be onto something here. What else is driving a wedge between you and your success?

Are you…

Afraid – acting on all of your great ideas is scary, and executing is crazy difficult. You are afraid. You are afraid of looking silly, you’re afraid of making a mistake, you’re afraid of failing. That’s okay; fear and failure are part of the process. You can’t fight’em, so you might as well embrace them.

Entitled – nobody owes you anything. You’re never going to get a handout. There’s no such thing as overnight success. There are only two ways of getting ahead; doing the work and not doing the work. If you prefer, you can chose the latter and tell yourself how great you are while you continue to underachieve. Or, you can get to work – right now!

Wasting Time – you’re convinced that there’s not enough time in the day to make an impact on all of the work you have to do. Sure, we could all use more time, but you’re wasting the time you do have. You’re doing meaningless tasks and taking too many breaks. You look busy, but that’s because you’re doing busy work, not meaningful work. Spend your time doing more things that matter and fewer things that don’t.

Negative – you’re the first person to say that an idea will fail or that it can’t be done. You point out other people’s flaws and mistakes. You think there’s some black cloud following you around because you can’t ever catch a break. Here’s the thing; you are the black cloud. Instead of always pointing out flaws, try offering a solution. Don’t break people down, build them up. Know this, like attracts like. If you have a bad attitude and continue to think negatively, you’re going to find yourself surrounded by negative people with negative thoughts. Good luck with that.

Making Excuses – it’s not your fault you’re not successful. Right, it’s never your fault. Get that weak stuff out of here! Start taking responsibility for your actions and your life, your success and your failure. Excuses are empty and cowardly. You know what matters, results. Stop talking and start doing. All that time you spend making up excuses could be better spent on of the work you don’t have time for.

Lazy – this one is plain and simple, you’re not willing to put in the work. If you’re not as successful as you would like to be, or at least as successful as the next guy, you are not working hard enough.

I know, you’re waiting, you’re scared, you deserve more, you don’t have enough time, it’s too hard, and it’s not possible. Are you kidding me? Drop the sob story already. We just finished squashing all of this nonsense.

Here’s the truth; you’re lazy. The vast majority of people who are successful worked their tails off to get there. If you’re not, you haven’t worked hard enough, long enough. If don’t want to work, you’re lazy. Which is fine, you just have to admit it and stop wondering why less qualified people are more successful that you. You already know, they worked harder.

TIPS TO IMPROVE ORGANISATION SKILLS

Although many successful people feel that they work best under pressure, there is no doubt that honing your organisational skills makes your business life a lot easier. You need to be able to manage your time and resources to successfully juggle all the tasks in your diary. Organisational skills don’t come naturally to everyone, but you may be relieved to hear that they can be developed. There are a few key things you can do to improve your organisational skills and make your day to day work life a little more manageable. With the help from Live Recruitment, an event recruitment agency, we have put together nine great tips.

1. Avoid fire fighting

Preparing for the day ahead means planning your schedule and deciding what tools you will need to complete your daily tasks. Without this forward thinking and preparation, you may end up facing each day in a reactive rather than proactive way, which means you are fire-fighting each situation rather than planning for it in advance. Not only does forward planning reduce your stress levels but it also enables you to problem solve in a calm and rational way rather than always being required to think on your toes.

Fire fighting

2. Plan your time

Whilst you are planning your day and preparing for each of the tasks ahead, schedule in how long you think each task will take. This allows you to break up your day into manageable chunks. If one of the tasks is taking a lot longer than you had anticipated you can then foresee the impact this will have on the rest of your to do list and either cut the task short, delegate or reschedule the plans you had made for later in the day. This allows you to successfully meet your deadlines.

Plan time

3. Successful planners make lists

Lists enable your mind to remain tidy. Busy people have ideas buzzing around in their heads all the time. By downloading these ideas or tasks on to a list, your mind can move on to think about other things without the risk of forgetting anything. As you complete a task or follow-up an idea you can then cross that item off the list. This has the added satisfying benefit of enabling you to see the list reducing. A fully crossed off list gives a great sense of achievement at the end of the day. This also helps with the forward planning and scheduling of your day as you have clear sight of everything that needs to be achieved.

Planner

4. Begin tasks early

Those of you who enjoy working under pressure may need to feel a deadline snapping at your heels before you are able to settle down and complete a task. However, if you begin work early then you will feel much less stressed if another more urgent task pops up which needs to be dealt with first. It also means that you won’t necessarily be working through the night, missing meals and cancelling other engagements to complete the task.

Early Task

5. Decide when you work best

It can help to be very honest with yourself about when you are most productive. This will differ for every individual. Some people work best when they get up early and begin working as the sun comes up, whilst others are more productive in the evening. Schedule in the work which requires most focus at the times of day when you are most productive. This means you will be at your most efficient.

Work best

6. File smart

We have all found ourselves in a situation where we’re desperately trying to meet a tight deadline but cannot find the crucial file that we need to complete the work. Creating and maintaining a clever filing system is one of the best things you can do in order to work efficiently. This can be paper filing, or more likely digital filing but using an intuitive system and ensuring that items are filed away correctly can save you hours of frustration which would otherwise be spent looking for lost files.

Smart work

7. Avoid distractions

Avoiding distractions is a great way of organising your time well. Having your email server open can create a long line of distractions if you check your emails each time you hear a ping. Scheduling in times of the day when you look at and respond to your emails is a good way of organising your time to ensure minimal disruption. If you are completing a particularly important piece of work you may also find it beneficial to turn off your phone.

You can give your full attention to your messages when you have finished. If you are a manager who otherwise welcomes an open-door policy, don’t be afraid to choose a time when the door is firmly closed, you can let colleagues know when you will be available again. If you travel a lot for work this can be disruptive but ensuring in advance that you have the right tools with you including charger, laptop and headphones, and booking yourself a seat in a quiet area can really help to increase your productivity.

Avoid distraction

8. Make your workspace work for you

Do you find yourself sorting through piles of paper to locate the one document you need? Do you have to leave the room each time you need to use the photocopier or collect more stationery? Allowing yourself enough space at your workstation and organising your props in a logical way to help you work most efficiently can maximise your productivity and minimise your frustration.

Best Workspace

9. Delegate

Delegation doesn’t come easily to many people, but it is an incredibly useful skill to learn if your time is precious. If you have a team around you then allow people to work to their strengths, they may be better at some tasks then you are. Enabling people to develop their skills by delegating tasks to them means that they will be more useful to you in the long run. Although you might feel as though doing tasks yourself will save you money, delegation will ultimately save you huge amounts of time and effort.

With all the tips above, you’ll soon find you’re more organised and your working day seems to progress much more smoothly than it did before!

Determine/Evaluate the Accomplishment of the Business Goals

Secondly, Schultz et al. (1987) point out that a business plan can be a retrospective tool, against which a businessperson can assess a company’s actual performance over time. For example, the financial part of a business plan can be used as the basis for an operating budget, and can be monitored carefully to see how closely the business is sticking to that budget.

In this point of view, the plan should be used as the basis for a new plan. After some time has elapsed, the business plan should be re-examined to see if the company has accomplished its business goals and if necessary needs redirection.

To write or not to write a business plan / The relationship between Pre-start-up Formal Business Plans and Post-start-up Performance

The opinions on the topic whether a business plan is a useful document or whether it is more a waste of time are not unanimous throughout the literature. Despite a lot of researches that have been conducted within this field, the findings from studies that examined whether there is a relationship between the pre-start-up formal business plan and the post-start-up efficiency of the company are not consistent throughout the literature. The word efficiency in this particular circumstance means that it has not been proved that the Business Plan will help a new venture in succeeding.

Some studies claim that they found no relationship between a formal written BP and performance. For example: “Does formal business planning enhance the performance of new ventures?” (Lumpkin et al. 1998) This study examined the relation between planning and performance among 94 firms of which 54 new entrants. Results suggest that new startup companies who use formal written business plans fail to outperform those who don’t.

Of course there are a lot more factors outside writing a business plan playing a role in the future success of the firm. Initially raised capital, experience of the entrepreneurs, used business model, the age of the venture, are just a few to be named. Recent studies conducted by Lange et al. (2007) took all these factors into account and examined whether pre-start up business planning affects the subsequent post-start-up performance of the new enterprise.

Their dataset contained 116 Babson College alums graduated between 1985 and 2003 that started a new business since graduating. From the results of the study it appeared that there is no difference in performance between new ventures that started with a written business plan and those who chose not to write one.

Of course one could argue that the studied dataset has a few limitations. First of all the dataset only comprises ventures started by Babson College which is somewhat limited and will compromise the external validity. It will be difficult to generalize the findings of this study to the rest of the start-up ventures in business world. However, there are benefits at this bounded dataset: the respondents have similar educations. This will limit and take into account the influence from the independent variable, education. On the other hand the taken sample frame is randomized and longitudinal which will benefit the internal validity. This means that the research design allows to formulate a correct answer to the proposed hypothesis.

From their findings Lange et al.(2007) suggest that “unless a would-be entrepreneur needs to raise substantial start-up capital from institutional investors or business angels, there is no compelling reason to write a detailed business plan before opening a new business.” Instead, the authors suggest that “entrepreneurs should make financial projections, especially cash flow.”

It means that they should look at expected sales revenue and operating costs including material, labor and capital assets and open their business. That advice implies that they should do business planning but not write formal plans before starting their businesses. Then, if their business grows and needs external funding, they will be able to write a business plan that is more persuasive.

In contrast to the studies from Lumpkin et al. and Lange et al. , some studies have shown that planning does go together with the success and growth of new ventures. Ford et al. (2003) conducted a study of 800 randomly selected American nascent companies and found a significant positive correlation between the degree of business planning formality and financial results in year 1 and 2.

Liang and Gartner (2005) found, they found that the chances for survival of ventures in an uncertain financial and competitive environment was more likely when they engaged in planning in the early stage of the start-up activities. And that ventures were more likely to continue their activities if they started to plan late in the stage of start-up activities in a certain financial and competitive environment.

For now, we will leave the discussion aside whether causality exists between writing a BP and the success of the venture and move on to asking ourselves why so many entrepreneurs bother to write the business plan.

Many business people or entrepreneurs defend that the time that is needed to produce a formal written BP, would be better spent on pushing the new venture forward instead of writing a plan that no one will read. (Allen 2006)

This might be true if we take into consideration that the venture capitalist or the firms that provide finance to businesses receive piles and piles of business plans and have no time to read them all. In fact, very few entrepreneurs have access to formal venture capital at the moment they launch their businesses. Bygrave and Hunt (2004), for example, estimate that in the US, fewer than one in ten thousand new ventures has the privilege to receive their financial funds of a venture capitalist. This is very rare, especially for the USA which has more than two-thirds of the total venture capital in the entire world. This means that receiving capital from VC’s is by far the rarest form of funding.

So why then go so many entrepreneurs through the process of writing business plans if the main objective of their plan is to secure funding from a venture capitalist and they know that they will almost always come up empty handed? One of the reasons may be that other sources of financial funding such as banks, business angels, equity investors require written business plans too.

Another explanation could be that they write the plan for internal reasons. Although writing a business plan is a very laborious task and it takes typically several weeks to finish it could avoid costly, perhaps disastrous, mistakes later thanks to the planning process that helps the entrepreneur think through things thoroughly. (business plan guide 4 start ups)

Furthermore, it is a fact that if you want your BP to be noticed by investors, the chance is greater if you get a personal introduction, instead of approaching them on your own (Barringer, 2008).

This is definitely the case for all businesses in China. If you want to look for capital, or even if you just want to do business, you will need ‘Guanxi’. Guanxi literally means “relationships”. Since Confucius set-out the basic relationship rules 2000 years ago this has become the basis for conducting succesfull business in China. The reality is that the majority of Chinese people won’t trust and will not do business with people that are not part of their Guanxi. If you win the confidence of a chinese business relation, he will be part of your Guaxi network and will be happy to do business or introduce you to other acquintances or information sources, thus expanding your Guanxi network. Seligman (2005) points out that it has been generally known for centuries that businesses in China with a widely developed Guanxi network are more succesful than those with a limited or no network.

We conclude that is not about having a good or a bad business plan per se to secure finance but more about knowing the right people. This is why startup businesses have the disadvantage over established firms because they may not have such contacts.

Anyway, a lot of authors recommend to do write the business plan because for the internal and external value that lies within the plan. Abrams and Barrow (2005) state that “a good business plan for a sound business concept not only helps achieving the business goals, it also lets you save time and money by focusing on your business activities, giving you more control over your finances, marketing, and daily operations, and helps you raise the capital you need”. Or as Kleiner (2004), a legendary venture capitalist states: “Even if you have all the money you need, you still need a business plan. A plan shows how you’ll run a business. Without a plan, you don’t know where you’re going, and you can’t measure your progress.”

External purposes Raising finance

Most of the time when people think about the reason why a business plan is written, the first thing that pops up in their head is to raise money. It is a fact that most lenders or investors will not put money into a business without first seeing the actual business plan self. If the purpose of the bp is indeed to raise finance, its test will be how much interest it can generate from reviewers in as little time as possible and ultimately how much money it can attract from investors.

Definition of a Business Plan

The literature on the topic business plans is awash with information and offers a lot of definitions.. Essentially these definitions have all the same meanings. Abrams & Barrow (2005) define the business plan as a roadmap to the company’s targeted destination. Ideally, it enables the entrepreneur to get from the basic business concepts to a healthy, successful business.

Barringer (2009) describe it as a “written document that carefully explains every internal and external aspects of a new venture” (Barringer, 2009, p. 1)

The format of the business plan

We can distinct three main factors throughout literature from which the BP structure will manly depend. To begin with, the format of the business plan will mainly depend on the purpose for which the BP is elaborated. For instance Barringer (2008) states that a BP established for a start-up company to investigate the feasibility of the venture may somewhat differ from that of a business in expansion that wants to evaluate the accomplishment of the business goals. For example, a start-up firm will not be able to dwell much about the company’s history or past successes.

Further, Mason and Stark (2004) argue that whether the entrepreneur is pursuing capital from a bank, a business angel or even a venture capitalist, the format of the business plan should be adapted accordingly.

So we can conclude that depending on the firm’s level of development or on what purpose the business plan serves, i.e. to raise capital or for internal purposes, the emphasis on the topics will be different and the format of BP will vary accordingly.

Business Plans For Entrepreneurs

In today’s environment, the business plan is the entrepreneur’s most important document when setting up a new business. Without the help of a well-designed and well- presented business plan the entrepreneur will find it very difficult to express its business goals or secure financing. Without a business plan, it is almost impossible for someone to take your business idea seriously or even consider investing in it.

Because this thesis is about setting up a business plan for the start-up of a new kind of social network, we will first start with an overview about the concept business plan throughout the literature. In this literature study the term business plan is defined as well as the main functions of the business plan followed by an overview of the typical structure of the business plan. Furthermore, a problem discussion on the topic business plan in the literature is displayed.

In the next part the main focus will lay on the composition of the financial plan.

Subsequently, in the section Location Based Social Network a brief explanation is given about LBSN to give the reader an idea about what the business idea is all about.

An entrepreneur willing to start his own enterprise stands before a lot of obstacles. Building up a company does not happen over one night.