I recently email a contact, Greg Nunan for his thoughts on the benefits of Franchising. Greg has 10 years experience in an Australian fitness franchise group, EFM Health Clubs, 7 as a part owner of the Franchise group. He agreed to put a few thoughts down about the benefits of franchising.
There is a definite plus if you want to own your own business to buying a franchise over starting one from scratch. Before you jump into purchasing one make sure you do the following steps:
I love this “secret” method of collecting silver quarters to increase a business’s revenue without adding too much work or time if you’re a cash business. Silver quarters are US quarters minted before 1965 that contain 90% silver and 10% nickel alloy that are worth more than the $0.25 from $1.00 to $10.00 each. If your business takes in a lot of cash, you can make an effort to tell your cashiers to save any silver quarter they come across while on the job. It will be rare, but after a year of diligently collecting them, it can add up to thousands of dollars of additional revenue at the end of the year. Who wouldn’t want that?
Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about selling structured settlements. Here’s the most recent one I received from Mark in BC:
“Hey Tom, Mark here in BC. About ten years ago I was in an accident at work and after a long court battle I received a 30 year structured settlement that pays a little every month. While it’s nice having some extra spending cash, it’s not really enough to live off of. What I’d like to do is sell the settlement so I can invest the lump sum and maybe use some of it to help buy a house or go on a dream vacation. So my question to you is “should I sell my structured settlement?”. Thanks!
Before I answer Mark’s question, let’s go over some definitions and understand exactly what he wants to do.
What is a Structured Settlement?
A structured settlement is a common way for people to receive an insurance payout when they have received a settlement or judgment as a resolution of a personal injury claim. The payments are received monthly, quarterly or annually and provide an ongoing income.
The federal government approves of structured settlements because they consider them beneficial to the government. If a person who is injured cannot work, the settlement will give an income, which makes them less likely to need government support. In 1979, structured settlement repayments became tax free as an incentive to accept a structured settlement rather than a lump sum.
Why Sell a Structured Settlement?
In some cases, a regular monthly income isn’t enough to deal with financial challenges that come along. In this case, it’s possible to sell the structured settlement for a lump sum to a funding source that buys structured settlements from the public. People who have decided that selling their settlement is the right option should look for a funding source that will pay the highest price available.
The cash received from selling your settlement will be far less than if the payments continued. It can be used in any way the person wants, but they will be discouraged from wasting it away. Some of the reasons people want a lump sum are:
• To pay college tuition
• To start a business
• To buy a home
• Make investments
• Pay down debt
To Sell or Not to Sell
So Mark, to answer your question “should I sell my structured settlement” I did some research on structured settlement loans, and found some very helpful and interesting information that I think you’ll appreciate.
The first thing to do is find several buyers. Don’t go with the first broker you approach. Find several good brokers to compare how much they will pay.
Once you have selected a funding company, you will need to give them the information about your structure settlement policy, so they can verify the payments. If you would like to sell your structured settlement, you need to gather some information before you speak to a broker. Make sure you know:
o When your next payment is due
o How much are your monthly, quarterly or annual payments
o How many payments remain to be paid
o The total settlement amount
• It’s a good idea to consult a lawyer before signing any contract. You may think you are getting a good deal, but a legal adviser has skill and knowledge in these matters and will tell you if your deal is actually good. In some areas, a financial adviser is required by law. When you are ready to go ahead, you will need to go to court. A local lawyer will represent you in front of a judge. In some places, it takes up to five weeks to schedule a hearing.
• At the time of your hearing, you will appear in court with your lawyer to explain the reason you want to sell your structured settlement. The judge will ask about the discount rate being offered. The judge may also ask you questions about your prior transactions, employment, and the reason you want to sell. The judge’s aim is to protect vulnerable people who may want to sell for frivolous reasons such as a new car or a vacation.
• When the judge signs the agreement, the deal is closed and the order will be sent to transfer all the settlement payments to the funding company. When this has been finalized, the lump sum payment will be transferred into your bank account.
So, Mark, I encourage you to do your research and think long and hard about what you would use a lump sum payout for before moving forward with a sale.
Q. I am currently living and working in Australia and I save for retirement with a self managed super fund (SMSF). This basically means that I have full control over how my retirement money is invested. I have decided to take up a job offer in Canada. I will be moving early next year and was wondering if there is a Canadian equivalent of the Australian SMSF? I was also wondering if I can continue to contribute to my Australian SMSF while I am working in Canada or if I should transfer my SMSF to the Canadian equivalent?
A. I am going to start my answer with a quick explanation of the Australian pension system for my Canadian readers. In Australia every employer makes compulsory payments into a pension plan (called superannuation) for each employee. Most Australians are members of a standard super fund, which have a range of basic investment options to choose from. However, Australians can also open up a self managed superannuation fund, which means that they have full control over the investments that they make with their pension money. This has a number of tax advantages, especially for those that run their own business. You can read more about how a SMSF works at smsfreviews.com.au.
To answer your question John, the closest equivalent of a SMSF in Canada is known as a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). This is a type of account that holds savings and assets to provide for retirement – for employees and the self employed. Like a SMSF, there are many restrictions relating to RRSP accounts. For example, there are restrictions on the contributions (and timing of these contributions), types of assets and conversion to retirement fund at 71. The contribution limit for RRSP is adjusted each year and is tied to the increase in average wages. In 2013 the contribution limit is $23,820.
Despite these restrictions those that have a personal RRSP can choose how their funds are invested. Some of the approved assets include bonds, mortgage loans, shares, currency, savings accounts, mutual funds, guaranteed investment certificates, income trusts and labour sponsored funds. Unlike a SMSF in Australia, anyone can make withdrawals from a RRSP at any time (although these withdrawals are subject to tax).
There are two main benefits of a RRSP. The first is that contributions made into the RRSP are deductable from regular income tax. Secondly, any income earned by the plan is tax free until it is withdrawn.
As for the second part of your question, you can continue to make contributions into your Australian SMSF, but there are tax implications and other conditions that you need to be aware of when doing this. Your Canadian employer may have a pension plan as well, which may further complicate issues. It is a good idea to speak with your potential employer as well as to an Australian and Canadian accountant to give you the best perspective on this situation. You may also be able to transfer your pension between countries, but this is a complex matter that is best handled by an industry expert.
Accounting in the insurance industry is fundamental as brokers need to juggle taxes, audits and other financial requirements. Most brokers should be confident in guaranteeing his or her clients about financial obligations and rewards. They must know the frequently asked questions asked by interested parties. It is only professional brokers with accounting background who will give ready answers. In dealing with credit reports, accounting knowledge is also handy as they can help clients get improved rates. The following infographic explains the compensation of brokers in selected countries:
Resources on the Web:
The VA Loan Guaranty Program produced the G.I. Bill in 1944, which was very beneficial for veterans on their way home from World War II. This bill was, as one can imagine, enormously popular and successful. The most enthusiastic reaction came as a result of some special provisions involving home loans, which assisted almost uncountable amounts of military men and women in acquiring a home that was affordable to them.
If you currently have a VA home loan that is up to date on payments, Mortgage Investors Corporation (MIC) may be able to help you reduce your rate. Here are just a few reasons why a rate reduction through MIC may work in your favor:
• Relaxed Qualification Standards – So much of the stress of securing a conventional or FHA loan is taken away by the VA loan process. There are no minimum income requirements in order for people to qualify, as well as no minimum credit score required. No appraisal is necessary. There is also a considerably larger buffer zone for the debt-to-income ratios. Do you have questionable credit or bankruptcy issues? It’s okay. You still may have the ability to qualify for a VA rate reduction.
• Low Interest Rates – This is often directly connected to credit scores. As a veteran, your credit score does not factor into your application for a VA loan. As a result, you will be paying a lower interest rate than those who pursue traditional mortgages. This gives you equal ground as a potential buyer with flawless credit. Certainly one of the many great advantages of a VA home loan!
• Financial Breathing Room – You may not be required to make a mortgage payment in the first month following closing. A reduced rate may also help you put your financial resources toward other bills and expenses.
Mortgage Investors Corporation wants you, the veteran, to be as knowledgeable as possible about all of the great benefits you may when pursuing a VA rate reduction through their company. These are just a few. Call 866-659-2477 for more information.
As a working man or woman, you value your salary and the paycheck you work for. But what else do you value? Sure, you might say your co-workers or your vacation time. Maybe even those sick leaves you took when you weren’t really sick. But really, I bet you value the benefits your job gives almost as much as you do that paycheck it gives.
Your benefits naturally include things like retirement plans and health insurance. Who would want to work without being able to retire, or work and get sick and not have health insurance to help pay for it? I’d say retirement and health insurance are the big two people look for when a company tells them what benefits they would be offered working with them. No one likes an uncertain future, and that’s a good reason to make sure you’re offered a retirement plan that ensures your future is safe and sound. Some health insurances that are offered can cover your whole family, which is especially important to those family men.
When your kid gets sick, you obviously want to make sure they recover, and having good health insurance from your job can really help with that, even more so if it turns out to be more serious than a cold or headache. Edmonton’s Benefit Strategies Inc., with their Employee benefit package Alberta, can help you with this.
One of the other biggest things an employee will look for in the benefits for a job is life insurance.We all want to leave something behind, right? That’s what life insurance will handle for you. Just make sure your wife isn’t suddenly upping what you’re worth dead. Most companies will offer some form of life insurance, but it’s also good to check and make sure. I’m sure you don’t plan on banzai skydiving anytime soon, but just in case you forget your parachute, life insurance can cover you.
Paid leave is a rather obvious choice. You take vacation leave, sick days, or holidays. You get paid for them. It’s a pretty common benefit, though not all companies offer paid leave. You might not really care about it, but some people do. It’s being paid for taking a day off, after all! That’s why almost every company will offer it, but some might decline to pay you for your slacking. But don’t worry, they probably still offer the really important things, like retirement, health and life insurance.
Office Perks and Discounts
Two lesser known, and lesser cared about, benefits are office perks and discounts. You’d probably only be hearing about discounts if you worked in a store or the like, because you can’t really get a discount on your paperwork, can you? Office perks sound nice, but that’s probably it. It’s just a nice way to say you don’t need to wear a suit and tie to work everyday, and they probably have a water cooler you don’t have to slide quarters into to drink from. Companies like Edmonton’s Benefit Strategies Inc., can help you and your company to most effectively manage these important benefit plans.
Buying My First Car
I recently purchased a used car, and overall I’m very pleased with both the car and the deal I got. I was lucky to get a good deal, but I didn’t rely on luck alone. I did my research before buying, so I could avoid the pitfalls some of my friends have fallen into. Debt and more debt. First, you should know everything about your car, especially if you plan on purchasing a used car like me. You should know the number of previous owners, the maintenance history, any previous mechanical problems, and if the car has ever been in an accident. More than 2 million car accidents happen annually, and if you’re looking for a used car, then it’s likely it’s had an accident at some time. Next you should look at your budget, and your needs. I’m a bachelor who lives alone, so my needs are strictly my own. If you happen to be married, in a relationship, or with kids, you might look into a car with more space rather than that snazzy sports car. Now, I had a lot of help and learned a lot of things before I made my purchase. If you watch TV, you’ve probably seen the car commercials on every channel. Down payment, APR, Cash-back, and Zero interest. It may seem confusing at first, but once you learn a bit, it’s actually pretty easy and straightforward. Once you know the acronyms and how financing works, you’ll be ready to make a steal of a deal!
Speaking of financing, let’s talk about it for a bit. A couple of my friends bought used cars, and they felt that the car dealer was the only place to get financing. That’s a fine choice, if it’s good enough to compete with the other options. What, you thought the car dealer was the only place, too? Nope. Some places won’t help you with financing due to your lack of credit history, but don’t worry. You should talk to your credit union, insurance provider, or your bank before you turn to the car dealer for financing. Many banks, unions, and providers have the ability and the desire to finance your car purchases.
Don’t forget to look at your personal finances, as well. Don’t buy a car, even a used one, when you can’t afford the monthly payments. While ideally you would want to pay in cash, you’re probably going to need the financing of a union, bank, or provider to help there. If not, well, you’re already ahead of me!
Finding a dealer is also a super important step in the process. I live in Ontario, it made sense for me to search Ontario used cars on-line to find that perfect car for me. Be sure, though, to take that used car out for a test drive to make sure it’s more than just picture-perfect. Don’t fret though if you live elsewhere, as there are many other local web-based searches you can do, such as Toronto used cars or whatever city you happen to live.
The prospect of divorce for men is one of the most frightening and largest risks in entering into a marriage. The reality of the modern American court system and institution of marriage is that women can freely enter into marriage and without any cause, provocation, or justification exit from it. In which case, you will still be held legally responsible — by force of imprisonment from the State — for her care and upkeep for the rest of her life. If men are not careful, they can have up to half of their assets and future earnings seized by the state to be redistributed to their exes based simply on her whim of being “unhappy” or “unfilled.”
Get lawyered up
This precarious legal environment means men should be extremely cautious when entering into a marriage contract with a woman and even more cautious when exiting one. If you anticipate that your spouse may be planning a divorce, the first step you need to take is to contact and consult with a competent divorce attorney. If you’re in the New York area, Giro Divorce Attorneys can supply you with a great divorce attorney in NJ.
Protect your accounts
The next steps you should take to protect your financial house is to get your accounts in order. Start opening new bank, savings, and investing accounts in your own name and begin steadily funneling cash into them. Be careful not to get overzealous however, as this could attract your spouse’s attention. You’ll also want to start trying to figure out ways to close any joint accounts you may have with your spouse.
Guard the family jewels
Next, start safe guarding any valuables you have. People can often behave incredibly irrational during a divorce and separation. If you have valuable jewels or family heirlooms, you’ll want to start transfering those to a secure location to prevent damage or theft when things become tense. Many spouses may take financially or sentimentally valuable items and hold them hostage during the divorce proceedings to gain leverage. Be aware of this tactic and take care to plan ahead.
Consult with a divorce financial advisor
There are many financial professionals who specialize in helping their clients through these tough times. You’d be wise to at least take multiple meetings with those in your area. Even if you do not plan on retaining any, simply having the meeting would be enough to create a conflict of interest that could prevent them from being hired by your spouse. The same tactic could be used when approaching lawyers as well, it should be noted.
You’ll want to start printing out and copying anything and everything that could become useful should your divorce case go to the courts. That means keeping physical copies of receipts, financial account information, emails, text messages, voice mail transcripts, and so on. This especially holds true for the financial records. You’ll want to keep multiple copies of those in order to protect and safeguard yourself from any malicious action on the part of your spouse.
So you finally purchased that dream car you’ve had your eye on—and the next step is to make sure it’s insured in the case of an accident or any other damage that might occur. Or maybe you are moving or your commuting circumstances have changed, so you’re in the market for a new policy. Your children are coming of age, and you need to add them to the family insurance. There are tons of reasons why you might be in the market for auto insurance. Even if you’ve purchased car insurance before, it’s important to research and do your due diligence to avoid overspending on car insurance. Read on for three important tips on how to get the best deal when you purchase your policy.
1. Get quotes from a variety of companies
Car insurance prices can vary widely from company to company, so the first step is to get an auto insurance quote from a variety of different companies. With the advent of the Internet, shopping around for car insurance quotes is easier than ever, since you can do it from the comfort of your own home rather than driving around to insurance offices. Or, if you’d rather speak directly to a representative, you can also get quotes for auto insurance over the phone.
2. Purchase a policy with a higher deductible
The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket if you are in a car accident or need repairs. The higher the deductible, the lower the cost of your policy overall. If you are typically a safe driver, this is a great way to save money on a monthly basis. In addition, this is a good strategy if you make enough money to be able to pay a higher deductible easily in the event that your car needs repair.
3. Bundle your policies
Chances are, car coverage isn’t the only type of insurance you need. In order to ensure financial solvency, you should have a life insurance policy, homeowner’s insurance if you own your home, renters insurance if you are a renter, and coverage in the case of accidental injury, just to name a few. Though the premiums for these policies can add up quickly, you can save money by finding a company that offers all the types of insurance that you need and bundling your policies together. You’ll often get a discount for doing so, with the added bonus of only having to deal with one trusted entity.
One reputable car insurance company in Canada is BelairDirect. According to the company’s website, drivers who switch to Belair Direct save an average of $500 on their auto insurance policy. With savings like that, Belair Direct seems like a great place to start your search for auto insurance. By following these simple steps, you’re sure to find a policy that is affordable with a company you can trust.
People with a knack for numbers and an attention to detail may just have the right stuff to become a Certified Public Accountant, better known as a CPA. With average annual salaries approaching $62,000 it’s one of the most popular career fields year after year. For those wishing to become CPA’s there is a tremendous amount of training and testing needed to fulfill the requirements of this extremely demanding profession.
Training for this profession begins in high school. Taking business classes, including accounting classes, is a great way to begin finding out if the profession will be a good fit for your abilities and capabilities. Joining school business organizations such as the Future Business Leaders of America is also a step in the right direction. Once in college, majoring in accounting or business administration with a concentration in accounting is necessary. Many universities offer combined bachelor’s and master’s programs lasting five years, letting students get an advanced degree and gain experience by completing internships and work-study opportunities. To become a CPA, a person must hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree the preferred choice. Work experience is also necessary before getting a CPA license, so students use their internships and summer jobs to fulfill this part of the training.
Once a student graduates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting, it’s time to turn one’s attention to gaining more work experience and preparing to take the CPA exam. Most graduates go to work for public accounting firms, gaining experience while building their resume for the exam. All CPA’s are licensed by a state’s Board of Accountancy, and each state has its own set of standards to be met before becoming a CPA. Most states require candidates to complete 150 hours of college coursework before sitting for the exam, which is why most candidates obtain a master’s degree.
The CPA exam consists of four parts, and along with the Bar exam is considered one of the most difficult exams to pass. Candidates for the exam are not required to pass all four parts at the same time, but once the first part is passed a person has 18 months to pass the remaining three parts. In order to do so, many candidates take a practice exam before starting the real thing. These exams can cost several hundred dollars, but many guarantee passage of the exam by following their guidelines. Practice exams are a great way to prepare for the CPA exam, and are almost a necessity for passage.
Once the exam is passed successfully, CPA’s are required to take continuing education courses in order to keep their license. Certifications are also available in a number of specialties from various organizations, all of whom will help enhance an accountant’s knowledge. The American Institute of CPA’s, Institute of Internal Auditors and others offer continuing education for accountants. While the training and testing is rigorous, becoming a CPA will pay off personally and professionally for those who succeed.
You’ve finally woken up and smelled the coffee. You’re in debt and you want out, fast! Don’t waste any more precious time. Read on for 5 Quick Ways to Eliminate Debt.
Track Your Spending
A well-known saying in business is, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Successful dieters know that you lose more weight when you write down everything that you eat. This also applies to managing money. When you write down everything that you spend, you tend to spend less. Tracking your spending will not only help you clearly see where your money goes, it will make you give a little bit more thought to each purchase. The savings you gain from tracking your spending can be used to quickly pay down your debt.
Cut out the Coffee
If you cut out that one cup of expensive coffee per day, savings can add up quickly. If you don’t drink coffee, take a look at your spending and see what small everyday indulgences might be taking a big bite out of your paycheck. If you are tracking your spending, this will be easy to do. Almost everyone buys non-necessary items every day as a force of habit. Figure out what your spending habit is, cut it out and watch the savings add up.
Declare This Month a No-Spend Month
All the rage among the frugal is the regular practice of keeping no-spend months, no spend days and even no spend years. On a no-spend day you would not spend any money at all. For a no-spend month, you simply establish some ground rules, such as no spending on anything other than food, transportation and essential bills. This is a quick way to get some extra money to throw at your pile of debt.
Cut out Interest
Make the extra money you have found pay off your debt even faster by reducing or eliminating the interest being charged to your card. Take advantage of zero-interest balance transfers when available. Also, call your creditors and ask them to lower your interest rate. Tell them you have received a balance transfer offer from a competitor, and that unless they lower your interest rate, you are going to switch credit card companies. As long as your credit is in good standing, it is a sure thing that they will lower your interest rate.
Cut up Your Credit Cards
One of the fastest ways to eliminate debt is to stop it from piling up in the first place. Get out a pair of scissors and say goodbye to your plastic by cutting up your credit cards. If you truly feel that you need to keep one credit card in case of emergencies, an old-school trick is to freeze the card inside a block of ice. Before you can use it again, you will have to wait for the ice to melt, which can also provide enough time for your buying impulse to melt away.
When you put these five money saving methods together, you can quickly eliminate your debt.