What to Do with Your Extra Savings During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a global health crisis, but also a financial one, which means people have to be more vigilant about what to do with their money. This seems to be the case for a large portion of affluent citizens in Singapore who are saving more since the pandemic. The same goes for the U.S. population, where the personal saving rate reached 33% during the first months of the pandemic. It also includes small businesses that can easily apply for business loans because of their healthy financial statements.

Amid the economic havoc, it seems that the current situation has made people better at handling money. The shift in consumer behavior caused by COVID-19 has been a complete surprise. The quarantine season has curbed people’s spending, allowing them to put more money into their savings.

As finances remain stuck on lockdown, people turn into force savers, with their inability to splurge on restaurant dining, socializing, and holiday costs. It also gave way to ‘fear savers’ who are too restricting with their budget over concerns on the pandemic’s financial consequences.

Nevertheless, having more savings doesn’t equate to sitting on piles of cash. How you want to spend your personal savings depends on certain circumstances. If you’re one of the lucky ones who saved a great deal of money during the pandemic, here are ways to put those extra savings to work.

Put your money in a certificate of deposit

A certificate of deposit is a savings account offered by banks and credit unions that holds a fixed amount of money for a fixed period. In exchange, the issuing bank will pay the interest. The interest rate is often higher than what a regular savings account offers. So, when you redeem your CD, you obtain the money you previously invested with additional interest. But this will only apply if the rates are good enough.

Interest rates today are quite low, but other banks have rates that aren’t higher than the regular savings account. The most ideal CD rates are typically for longer periods, from five- to 10-year CDs. But if you plan to register for a CD, consider applying for a shorter term (at least two years).

Set aside six months of basic expenses

Having bigger savings in the bank serves as your safety net in case your business shuts down, you lose your job, or your company cuts down your work hours because of a recession. Although you may think that it’s unlikely to happen, it’s better to have extra savings in case something worse happens or you get laid off.

If your current savings have reached six months’ worth of daily living expenses, the first thing you should do is to put in a bank account. Losing a job would mean you’re qualified for unemployment benefits, but chances are, you won’t receive the money right away. We have heard of stories from people who have to wait for weeks to several months before receiving their benefits.

Having savings to support your living expenses during emergency situations can give feelings of empowerment. Thus, an emergency fund will support your basic needs until you get yourself out of that situation.

Put aside only six months of living expenses, nothing more and nothing less. When we talk about essential expenses, these are non-negotiable expenditures necessary for maintaining good health and basic daily living such as food, water, rent, electricity, and medication.

Work on your retirement contributions

Check on your employer-sponsored plans, individual retirement accounts, and retirement savings. If you haven’t contributed much to your workplace retirement plan, this is the best time to do it.

Be sure to contribute enough to maximize sponsored plans offered by your employee for the retirement contributions. This serves as free money which will eventually increase in the longer term. You may also consider setting up an individual retirement account (IRA) beside your employer-based plan. With an IRA, you can pay taxes with your money and enjoy tax-free benefits on your retirement income if you meet its requirements.

Once you have all retirement accounts ready, boost the amount of your contributions or max out your savings for an entire year. Once you reach the age of 50 or higher, you can add extra money to catch up on your contribution.

In these uncertain times, more people are struggling to make both ends meet, so if you’re in a better position to save more money, you’re ready to face any financial challenge head-on. While having extra savings can bring peace of mind, make sure to monitor your expenses and spend money wisely.

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Three Logistics Challenges amid COVID-19 and Ways to Solve Them

More than a year into the pandemic, the adverse effects of COVID-19 are still present in almost every industry, and logistics is no exception. As countries impose travel restrictions, logistics firms witness how the pandemic affected their operations, making it difficult to deliver shipments.

Despite the disruptions, the logistics industry remained resilient as it continues to depend on offshoring and innovate ways to deliver more efficiently. Logistics firms are also working hard to ensure their clients can slowly go back to full operation.

For example, the truck distributor industry has developed groundbreaking features to support the transport requirements during the pandemic. Even transport solutions are responding by offering functional engines to ensure supplies reach their destination safely.

As the pandemic disrupted global trade, the global supply chain suffered from various logistics challenges worldwide. This led to significant losses, where suppliers and manufacturers of industrial and consumer goods have to take decisive actions to restore the supply chain. In this article, we’ll discuss how COVID-19 gave way to logistics challenges and how logistics firms should respond to these crises.

Travel limitations

Freight companies were the first to deal with the effects of the pandemic. In normal circumstances, passenger planes carry a small volume of cargo in the under-carriers. But with flight cancellations and grounded aircraft, many businesses suffered from supply shortages.

Others may suggest that the air cargo sector experienced a relative rise because of re-routed traffic. While this may be true, cargo businesses are still struggling since they cannot meet the increasing market demand. These challenges involve stricter health protocols, causing more delays in shipment.

Even the sea freight sector also felt the jarring effects of the pandemic. While ocean routes serve as the cheapest mode of transport, some sea freight companies have to suspend their operations since many of their clients are shutting down their business. With almost nothing to transport, ports now serve as a docking area for cargo liners.

As authorities introduce new shipping regulations, companies should relocate and diversify supply chains by bringing them closer to their vendors. In turn, freight companies should invest in transportation management systems to increase productivity and meet the growing standards of the global supply chain.

Increased pressure on land transportation

Truck drivers from land transport sectors are also dealing with logistics challenges because of heightened security restrictions. For instance, authorities will only allow truckers and logistics companies to operate if they have a legal permit that identifies them as a provider of essential services.

The increased demand for necessities, local produce, medical supplies, and groceries also presented challenges in logistics by requiring more transport resources. To meet the growing demand, most logistics firms ended up forcing their staff and drivers to work overtime.

Health checkups in state borders are also a source of delay. Logistics companies have to post announcements and remind customers constantly about expected delays because of safety protocols. In response to physical distancing guidelines, drivers and logistics staff go to various lengths before the customer receives the item.

In the new normal, logistics companies should be proactive in updating customers about the exact time of the package arrival and offering more options for delivery arrangements. Optimizing routes will keep customers informed about the location and the package’s condition at each delivery stage. Meanwhile, data sources will help logistics firms predict potential disruptions in delivery routes and make adjustments in real-time.

Labor shortage

With supply shortages and limited demand, logistics companies have retrenched workers to lessen the financial burden in terms of operational costs. Although others are fortunate enough to keep their jobs, they ended up working overtime to meet the workload.

The increasing number of employees acquiring COVID-19 is also another reason for labor shortages. As a result, workers who have close contact with the patient should also stay in quarantine for a few weeks. If this happens, workforce shortage can put a serious strain on delivery and logistics.

Logistics companies should respond to this by being proactive in setting health and safety policies in the workplace. Drivers and logistics staff serve as the asset of their operations, so it makes sense to prioritize their health condition.

The COVID-19 has created a dramatic shift in the logistics industry by highlighting the role of transport solutions in shaping the shopping experiences of consumers. In this regard, logistics providers should respond to this by automating and optimizing their operations to collaborate with manufacturers, businesses, and suppliers accordingly. This way, businesses can ensure the efficiency and safe movement of their goods, no matter the situation.

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How Can You Manage The Increasing Cost Of Dental Care As You Get Older?

Managing rising healthcare costs is becoming increasingly difficult, and this leads to people making sacrifices with their health. Dental health is one of the areas that people tend to neglect because they don’t think it’s as important. However, poor dental health can lead to a lot of other health issues and if you don’t look after your teeth, you could lose them for good. 

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If you want to look after your health as you get older, you need to find ways to cut the cost of dental care so you don’t have to make any sacrifices. These are the best ways to cut the cost of your dental care as you get older. 

Keep On Top Of Your Dental Hygiene Routine

If you can avoid a trip to the dentist in the first place, you can save a lot of money. The best way to do that is to look after your teeth and gums properly. A good dental hygiene routine will keep your teeth and gums healthy and help you avoid issues with cavities or gingivitis. It’s still important that you have regular checkups, but you can save a lot of money because you won’t need as many advanced treatments. 

Find The Right Dentist

It’s so important to find the right dentist for you and your family and there are a number of factors you should consider when making your choice. You need somebody experienced that can provide the care you need. But you should also consider the cost of treatments and spend some time finding an affordable dentist. You also need to find a reliable dentist that will only recommend treatments that are really necessary, instead of charging you for dental care that you don’t really need. 

Explore Cheaper Treatment Alternatives

If you do require treatment for a problem, you should always explore the cheaper options. Dentures, for example, can be incredibly expensive but there is a cheaper alternative to dentures out there. Whenever you require a treatment, you should always speak to your dentist about all of the different treatment options available. That way, you can find the most financially viable option and reduce the burden on your bank balance, while still getting the care that you need. 

Get Dental Care Through Work 

When looking for a new job, it’s always important to consider the benefits, especially the healthcare packages that are offered. If possible, find employers that offer dental care as part of their healthcare package. This extra cover will save you a lot of money. 

If you are already in a job that you like and you have no plans to move, you should speak to your employer about the potential of adding dental cover to your package. If you are a loyal employee and you have been working there for a while, they may well be willing to do this. 

As you get older, you are more likely to experience dental health issues and the cost of care will increase. However, if you follow these tips, you can make it more manageable.

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7 Signs You Should Sell Your House and Move to a New One

The process of selling your house and relocating can be overwhelming. You need to be physically and mentally prepare for what lies ahead.

According to a 2020 Federal Reserve report, nearly nine out of ten adults are happy with their housing situation. If your home is not satisfying your needs, however, you may need to sell it and move to a new one. Once you’re ready to move forward, you’ll be happy to know that you have plenty of options to sell your residential property.

How will you know when to sell your house?

Here are six signs that say you are ready to say goodbye to your home:

  1. A Different House Would Better Satisfy Your Needs

You may need a new (and possibly bigger) home if your family is growing. You may also need a new house if you’re about to retire and want to downsize to a smaller residential property. Whatever the case may be, you should strongly consider selling your home if your current setup isn’t accommodating you.

  1. Your Area is a Seller’s Market

Real estate experts suggest selling your house if you satisfy any of the following conditions:

  • There’s a lot of selling and buying transactions happening in your neighborhood or community
  • The length of time houses are staying on market is going down
  • The prices of residential properties in your area are rising

You may also notice that houses similar to yours are fetching high prices. If you’d like to check this, you could use a real estate selling app to get a glimpse of the prevailing housing market.

If you’ve confirmed that you can sell your house at a pretty good price, you have the choice of walking away from your home with some serious cash.

  1. You Have the Financial Capability to Relocate

When you sell your home, you need to pay for the relevant costs. Some of these expenses include real estate commissions, relocation expenses and possible requests from buyers to pay some of their closing costs. If you plan to purchase your next home and apply for a mortgage, you’ll need to have ample cash to make the down payment requirements.

If you’re short on funds or foresee problems paying real estate-related expenses (even after you’ve successfully sold your house), you’re better off waiting and saving up money before you list your property on the market.

  1. You’re Emotionally Ready to Sell Your House

Remember that selling your home is an emotional issue, as well. Before you put the “For Sale” sign in front of your house, take a few minutes to answer the following questions:

  • Are you prepared to move out and leave the place where you, your spouse and your kids have made lots of wonderful memories?
  • Are you ready for honest and hardball negotiations over what property buyers are willing to pay for your house?
  • Are you prepared to hear the reasons prospective buyers believe your house isn’t perfect?
  • Are you willing to put in the work necessary to prep your property for house hunters?
  1. You Consider Your Home as “High Maintenance”

Maintaining a home can get costly. You have to take into account repairs and scheduled services, such as exterior house cleaning, septic service, snow removal and landscaping.

You may want to sell your home and move to a less expensive residential property if you are sick and tired of watching your payments drain your bank account.

  1. The Neighborhood is No Longer Appealing for You

You or your neighborhood has changed, and you’re no longer satisfied in your current community. There are plenty of reasons for this kind of mismatch. Your family, for instance, may be tired of the restrictions imposed by the neighborhood association.

Another possible reason is that you’re tired of the long commute to work. You may be burning outbecause of the number of hours you spend traveling to the office every day.

If these are your reasons, you may benefit from selling your home and moving to an area that will make you happier.

  1. The Renovations You’ll Do Won’t Add Much Value

Some homeowners remodel their houses to capitalize on a resale. Before you dip into your savings to pay for a renovation, find out if this move will add value to your residential property.

If you are unsure what kind of remodeling you need to do to increase the value of your home, get in touch with a real estate agent. This professional should know what upgrades will be worth spending on – and which ones you should avoid.

If you’re saying yes to one or more of these signs, selling your home could turn out to be a beneficial experience for you. At the end of the day, selling your house and moving on is a personal decision. Do what you think will help you and your family live happily for many years to come.

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Simple Ways to Earn Extra Money in 2021

Simple Ways to Earn Extra Money in 2021

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The coronavirus pandemic has left many people facing debt and finding ways to reduce expenses. However, as 2021 progresses, people are becoming more hopeful as vaccinations are being rolled out, and restrictions are easing. These developments make it the best time to start making some extra cash to recover financially. Earning some additional income could help you meet your financial goals, such as paying off debt, saving for your college education, or even going for that delayed vacation. There are many ways to earn extra money, ranging from adding a side hustle to investing in a Gold ETF. If you’re wondering how to start, here are some ways you can earn extra cash this year.

  1. Swagbucks

Imagine if you can get paid for the very things you enjoy doing every day, such as watching videos online, surfing the internet, shopping, or finding special deals. Swagbucks gives you this opportunity by offering you points for engaging in these activities. There’s no limit on how much you can make, and the rewards are redeemable for a gift card from retailers like Amazon, eBay, and others. Other similar platforms offer these perks as well. 

  1. Food delivery

The food delivery business has become more popular. Many people across the country are signing up for it since it offers an excellent way to make extra money per your schedule. Contrary to popular belief, not all restaurants and catering facilities have their drivers. Instead, most of them outsource since it’s considerably cheaper than employing drivers who would have to wait until there’s an order. Fortunately, many online food ordering and delivery platforms notify you when there’s an order so you can decide whether you’re available to pick it up or not. 

  1. Sell your unwanted gadgets

Instead of leaving your tablets, smartphone, game console, or computers sitting idle somewhere in your closet or drawer, you can easily trade those unwanted items for cash, even if they’re damaged. There are several websites and local stores to sell your things, and you can earn instant money or store credit without dealing with any shipping stress.

  1. Take legit online surveys

If you constantly find yourself scrolling through the internet, then this is for you, as some companies would pay for your opinion. Signing up to take paid surveys is a great way to earn an extra income while working from home. Although it doesn’t yield significant cash instantly, it can help take care of some petty expenses and leave you extra money for more essential undertakings. Since several online paid surveys aren’t so good, you may want to research well to avoid wasting time on any fruitless venture. You can also while away the time in between surveys by trying your hand on a variety of online slots games – Lady Luck may well be on your side.

  1. Tutoring

Assuming you have a particular skill, let’s say, using a specific painting software, playing an instrument, or explaining arithmetic, you can earn some cash sharing your strengths with other people. Doing this can make you between $10 to $70 every hour teaching college students or kids. You can either sign up for an online tutoring website or advertise your services on campus, school, and community boards. 

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4 Ideas to Earn Money Online

The pandemic has required people around the world to stay indoors. This led to businesses losing significant amounts of revenue, which led to many people losing their jobs. With people looking for alternative ways to make ends meet, it comes as no surprise that interest in online businesses is on the rise.

The great thing about the Internet is it is a community hub, sales channel, and marketing network all in one. It offers various opportunities for people to make a living on it. Read on to learn some online money-making ideas you can explore:

Dropshipping

In dropshipping, you don’t keep stock of the products you sell. You purchase products as needed from a third party — usually a manufacturer or a wholesaler — and have each order shipped directly to the customer.

Dropshipping doesn’t demand as much as the traditional retail model because you don’t have to open a physical store, pay overhead, and stock inventory. As a dropshipper, you can reap a huge share of profit by marking up the products you sell. It’s a business model that can be very rewarding.

Startup costs in dropshipping are low, making it an increasingly popular way to earn money online. Among the top-performing categories in dropshipping are women’s clothing and accessories, home and garden, beauty, and jewelry. Products in these categories have a large market and are thus bought relatively frequently.

Shopify is a simple e-commerce platform that you can use for your dropshipping business. Once you are more established, you can explore additional website customization.

A challenge in dropshipping is the heavy competition. In order to succeed, you have to beat your competition with a well-chosen niche and innovative marketing.

Blogging

People blog for various reasons. It could be to share their thoughts and experiences, to educate readers, to sell products and services, or to build one’s personal brand. But how do you make money from blogging?

When starting a money-making blog, you must choose a niche. This allows you to speak to a target audience with your quality content, which can lead to sales and leads.

There are a couple of ways to monetize your blog, including:

  • Sell physical products to your readers. For example, t-shirts or pillows.
  • Sell digital products like digital art, designs, templates, photography, or courses. You can create once and then sell again and again.
  • Sell freelance services like writing, bookkeeping, and consulting
  • Promote brands as an influencer
  • Sell memberships or subscriptions to private content on sites like Patreon

An advantage of blogging is it doesn’t require a big investment. However, it might take a little while before you can earn through this hobby as the blog won’t start at the top of Google search results instantly. But with tenacity and a well-chosen niche, you’ll be on your path to earning money through your blogging hobby.

Some blogging platforms you can use are Blogger and WordPress.

Creating Videos for YouTube

In the past years, YouTube has become the go-to source for all types of video guides and courses. You can make money on YouTube in different ways:

  • Offer video editing services – If you have the expertise, you can earn a lot from video editing because many people are creating videos for the platform. Start by creating your portfolio and showcasing your editing talent. Then you can pitch to your network, local businesses, and freelance marketplaces, such as Upwork.
  • Apply for the YouTube Partner program – You can make money through membership perks, ads, and features, such as Super Chat. Super Chat allows viewers to pay so their messages will be highlighted during live streams.
  • Connect to the Google Adsense program – You must connect your channel to your Google Adsense account to get approved as a partner. Generally, you’ll earn based on the “impressions” that your videos get. An impression is every click or viewing of an ad.
  • Make videos for YouTube Premium – YouTube Premium is the platform’s ad-free subscription service. You can earn a share of the profit from membership fees based on how many times members viewed your videos.
  • Use video sponsorship and product placement – In exchange for a shout-out, companies that are interested in your audience might offer product placement deals or sponsor your videos.

Typing for Cash

If you want a flexible job that requires little to no prior experience, transcription could be the job for you. Transcribing is not complicated: simply listen to an audio file and type it out. If you’re a fast typist, you could earn a pretty penny with this one.

Transcription gives you the freedom to set your own hours. In a lot of cases, it will also allow you to work as little or as much as you want every week.

Transcription jobs are usually categorized into three: general, medical, and legal. The exact amount you can earn from transcribing depends on factors like the company you’re working for, the work available, and your skill level and speed.  Time spent on a transcript is influenced by factors such as audio quality, the accent of the speaker, background noise, and the speed at which people speak.

Companies such as Rev.com hire freelance transcribers.

Now is the time to take advantage of opportunities online. Explore these money-making ideas according to your passions and skills. With hard work, you’ll find yourself making the profit you desire.

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How Financial Independence is Possible through BRRRR

If you’re interested in getting into real estate investment, you will hear about the Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, and Repeat (BRRRR) method. When done correctly, this method will allow you to make most, if not all, of the money that you invested on the property back in a short time.

This investment strategy can be used on fourplexes if you can afford it, allowing lower regular expenses on a property compared to one to three-unit properties. When someone moves out of the dwelling and your property has a vacancy, your income will not go down to zero like it would with a single-family home. Instead, you will still have income coming in from your other two units while you look for a new tenant.

What is the BRRRR Investment Method?

The BRRRR method is a real estate investment strategy that many real estate investors recommend. However, several steps are necessary to make your entrance into the real estate investment world as smooth as possible. With that in mind, this is what you need to know about each step:

  1. Buy

The first step is to purchase a property that needs some upgrades and repairs. The property purchase can be made either by paying in cash, using a private home loan, or using a government-backed loan. However, to improve your investment’s potential return, you must conduct a fair amount of research when buying a property. Ensuring that you get the best deal possible in the property you’re trying to rehab.

  1. Rehab

When you find a property and purchase it, you will begin the rehab process, which, if done right, will address any potential upgrades and repairs on the property. Also, it would be best if you got the home looked at by an inspector who will recommend repairs and upgrades to things like:

  1. Replacing drywall that is damaged
  2. Bathrooms that need an upgrade
  3. Roofing repairs
  4. Installing new carpet or paint
  5. Landscaping overgrowth affects the property’s appeal
  6. Replacing kitchen appliances that are not working properly
  7. It can build bedrooms or units for single-family residences, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes.

Once the repairs and upgrades get completed, they will increase the property’s value.

  1. Rent

After the property goes through the rehab process, you will begin to look for renters. This step requires that you screen potential tenants by making sure that they will afford their monthly payments. Finding the right renter will take some work, although you must make sure that you’re not too demanding since no one is perfect.

Also, an appraisal must be done on your property once the tenant moves in. You will, of course, have to notify the tenant when the appraiser is visiting their property. Moreover, it will also be beneficial to you if the unit is looking clean and organized by the time the appraiser shows up.

  1. Refinance

Once a tenant has lived in the property for several months and you have built an acceptable amount of rental history, you will be able to start the refinancing process. This process will require that you find a lender who will offer a cash-out refinance since most real estate investors recommend it. After the refinancing on the property, the money you borrow must be equal to the appraised value for the BRRRR strategy to work.

  1. Repeat

After you finish the process, you will take everything you learned and the cash you have taken out, and you will be able to start the process all over again. You can also even build a system that implements all the lessons you learned in your previous BRRRR cycle. Moreover, implementing past experiences will enable you to make the process easier and better for future tenants.

Government-Backed Loans

One obstacle with using the BRRRR method is that it requires that you fund not only the purchase of the property itself but the repair and upgrade costs. These costs can be high, and unless you’re an amazing saver, it might be a bit too much to afford. Thankfully, there are government-guaranteed loans that can cover the cost of rehabbing a property while also offer several benefits; these programs are:

203k FHA Loans

An FHA 203k loan allows you to buy a home and finance the repairs with the same benefits offered by FHA home loans. These benefits include:

  • Low 3.5% down payments
  • If the down payment is not affordable, you can get the money as a gift from a friend or family member.
  • The seller can also cover closing costs.
  • FICO scores of 580 also qualify, with some lenders going even lower.

However, FHA 203k loans can also cover repairs and upgrades to properties purchased and used for the BRRRR process. These upgrades and repairs are:

  • Remove all health and safety hazards.
  • Add units or bedrooms to a property with a limit of up to four units.
  • Update property accessibility for disabled residents.
  • Replace appliances that might be malfunctioning.
  • Change carpets, paint, and landscaping.

VA Rehab Loan

The VA Rehab Loan is the VA’s response to the 203k FHA loan. However, this loan is for veterans, active-duty service-members, and surviving spouses of deceased military members. Moreover, the loan offers some of the best benefits available like:

  • Zero down payments
  • Low monthly costs
  • Low-interest rates
  • No mortgage premiums
  • No prepayment penalties

Eligibility requirements for the VA Rehab loan are no different from the requirements for the regular VA home loan. Nevertheless, rehab loans meant to finance the repairs and upgrades to a property; including:

  • Repair doors, windows, roofing, and gutters.
  • Improve Insulation
  • Treat and get rid of mold and lead paint.
  • Upgrade the property to meet accessibility requirements for disabled veterans.

Both the FHA 203k and the VA Rehab loans are lent out by qualified lenders and guaranteed by the United States government. Meaning that the lenders get covered if a borrower must default on a loan, which in turn allows the lender to be a little less stringent about an applicant’s credit score.

Summary

There are several benefits to using the BRRRR investment method. These include the potential for a high return on investment, a fast way to build equity, and the potential for lower overall costs and risks once you start owning and renting out several properties. However, the initial costs might be slightly high, although government-backed loans are sure to reduce those costs significantly.

Phil Georgiades is the CLS for VA Home Loan Centers, a government-sponsored brokerage specializing in VA Home Loans. He has been practicing real estate in a professional setting for 22 years. To apply for an FHA home loan, call us at (877) 432-5626.

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Save Your Business Money With These Top Tips

If you own a business you’ll know there’s a pressure to save money as best as you can. It doesn’t just involve cutting costs, but spending more wisely to free up space for enhanced productivity which you can then use to make more cash. Each business owner goes about saving money in a different way. Cost cutting measures are utilised by all businesses out there, from the biggest you can imagine right to the small. The truth of the matter is that only you know where the money needs to be saved. Try to take advice around business finance carefully and ensure you apply it to your own business in a bespoke way.

End The Subscriptions 

There are so many subscriptions and monthly payments to focus on as a business that you may let some slip. As businesses change and adapt, payments may just get left on the wayside. It may be you’re wondering how to cancel car insurance or how to stop a certain magazine from being dropped on your door. The problem here is usually time. People run out of time and focusing on wading through your bills and subscriptions is something easily cast aside. If you can find this time and put it towards checking your bills and subscriptions there will likely be something in there that can be reduced or cancelled entirely. This is especially the case if it hasn’t been done for a few years. It may not be loads of cash, but it’s cash that can be spent elsewhere.

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Embrace Remote Working

Imagine if you didn’t have to pay office rental or mortgage fees. The huge amount of money you would save can be put elsewhere in the business. Allowing your staff to work from home has other benefits too. The flexibility gives them a happier lease of life. Time saved due to no commuting, not to mention the money too gives them time to spend with family or run errands. If you really do need a meeting, you can book a meeting room once a month and still save a lot of cash. Remote working isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly worth thinking about if you want to save a bit more cash. Also, it hedges the risk of future incidents. The businesses who were set up for home working rode out the coronavirus pandemic better than those who did not. 

Put Your Time Where It Matters Most
As the owner your time is valuable. If you’re out there getting business, having more time means more sales. So use people to help you get there. It might be someone to look after the numbers and accounting so you can spend more time with clients. Yes, you’re spending money, but it’ll make your more in the long term. It might be that you want someone to manage your third party selling platform or help with your human resources application. There are businesses and people who can help you, and in turn your time will be better applied.

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Buy Your Dream Home for Little to No Money Down with these Government Loans

For many Americans, part of what it means to grow up is buying a home and raising a family. However, as the supply of homes continues to dwindle and the demand grows, it is much harder to buy a home. With increased prices and competition, buying your dream home is much more expensive today than it was for our parents and grandparents.

Currently, the median home price is $269,039 in the United States, which is too high for most Americans who do not have the $53,807 necessary to pay for the 20% down payment on the property. That high down payment is too much for most Americans whose median household income is $62,843.

Thankfully, three government mortgage loans can reduce or remove those initial costs that drive most potential buyers away. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) administer these home loans. However, each one of these loans has its benefits and requirements meant to target specific applicants.

FHA Home Loans

Home loans administered by the FHA are perfect for first time home buyers because they have come of the most lenient qualification requirements and some great benefits like:

  • 3.5% down payment requirement.
  • Lower monthly mortgage payments.
  • Lower closing costs.
  • A credit score of at least 580, although some lenders will accept even lower credit scores with a higher down payment.

These loans will even accept an applicant who has gone through some financial struggles in the past. Applicants who have a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in their record must have a two-year gap between their application date and discharge date. Chapter 13 bankruptcy recipients, on the other hand, must have court approval and a 12-month record of making payments on time.

One limitation that FHA loan borrowers have to work with is loan limits. These loan limits vary depending on the County. However, most of the United States County’s loan limits are $356,362 for a single-family home, $456,275 for a duplex, $551,500 for a triplex, and $685,400 for a fourplex.

USDA Home Loans

These home loans help lower-income families who wouldn’t qualify for a home loan otherwise to buy a home in an eligible rural community. To be eligible for this type of home loan, the applicant must be an American citizen and have a stable income either at or below the County’s low-income limit.

USDA home loans can only purchase a modest single-family home with no extra amenities and not used for any business purposes whatsoever. The house that is purchased must also be considered the applicant’s primary residence.

After meeting all eligibility requirements, the applicant will take advantage of some USDA home loans’ great benefits. These include:

  • $0 down payment requirement.
  • Competitive interest rates.
  • A credit score of 640.
  • Low mortgage insurance payments.

County loan limits also exist for USDA home loans, which for most counties are at $285,000 for a single-family home. Counties with a higher cost of living usually have higher loan limits.

VA Home Loans

Loans guaranteed by the VA are for Veterans, Active Duty Service Members, and eligible spouses. People who work in real estate considered these loans as the best Government guaranteed home loans available. These loans have helped more than 22 million Veterans become homeowners due to their outstanding benefits offered by VA home loans, which include:

  • No down payment requirement.
  • Lower interest rates.
  • Lower monthly mortgage payments.
  • No prepayment penalties.
  • No mortgage insurance premiums.

In addition to these great benefits, as of January 1st, 2020, VA loans have completely removed loan limits for first-time buyers. As a result, borrowers can now purchase a home anywhere in the country without worrying about abiding by different county limits. The only limitation is how much the borrower can afford to borrow.

VA loan limits still exist for applicants with more than one active VA loan. However, those loan limits have increased to $548,250 in 2021 for most of the country, formerly at $510,400 in 2020 and $434,350 in 2019.

Conclusion

Therefore, if you’ve ever thought about living in the United States, it might benefit you to look into all the advantages offered by Government guaranteed home loans. As a result, it is possible to buy a home in the County for little to no money paid upfront.

Phil Georgiades is the CLS for VA Home Loan Centers, a brokerage specializing in VA home loans. He has been practicing real estate for 22 years. To learn more about programs available to you or apply for a VA mortgage loan, call us at (877) 432-5626.

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5 Tips for Making Your First Investment

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Investing your funds can be an effective way of increasing your capital but making your first investment can be a daunting experience. From choosing the right investment to learning more about the frameworks and protocols, there’s a lot to do before you’re ready to start parting with your cash. To get started, take a look at these top five tips for making your first investment:

1. Use Spare Funds

Although investments can be a viable way of generating income or increasing your capital, they don’t offer a guaranteed return. Due to this, it’s important to ensure that your other financial obligations and expenses are covered before you begin thinking about investing. By keeping a separate savings account and emergency fund, you can ensure that you only invest funds you can afford to lose. 

2. Get Professional Advice

Using your funds to invest is a big decision and choosing the right investment opportunity can be an even bigger decision! If you’re new to investing or you’re unsure what type of investment is right for you, it’s well worth getting professional advice. By working with an investment manager or financial advisor, for example, you can access the tailored information you need. As well as helping you get to grips with the world of investment, professional advice can also boost your confidence as you embark on your first investment. 

3. Carry Out Research

Don’t even consider investing until you’ve done your due diligence and researched the opportunity. When you see a potentially lucrative investment, it’s easy to forge ahead and focus on ‘getting in early’ to maximize your returns. However, investing in something you’re not familiar with can be a recipe for disaster. By taking the time to carry out in-depth research, you can learn everything you need to know in order to determine whether a particular opportunity is the right type of investment for you. 

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4. Consider Alternative Investments

Many new investors focus on traditional forms of investment, such as stocks and shares, ETFs, or retirement plans. Although these can represent great opportunities, there are other investments to consider. Purchasing a RippleNet token and investing in digital currency could be a fast way to increase your capital, for example. Alternatively, P2P lending could be an effective way for you to launch your investment career. With new opportunities emerging all the time, there are plenty of ways for new investors to use their funds. 

5. Manage Risk

Investments are typically seen as low risk, medium risk, or high risk. The higher the risk, the more chance there is of losing your capital but there is also the potential to generate lucrative returns. Before you get started, be sure to think carefully about your financial circumstances and choose a level of risk that you’re happy with. 

Is Investing Right for You? 

Investing is becoming increasingly popular, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right option for everyone. However, if you have funds available, you’re interested in the markets or you’re looking for a new and exciting way to boost your capital, making your first investment could be a great way to make your money work for you.

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