Negotiate Your Credit Card Debt in Five Easy Ways

Credit card debt is one of the top reasons consumers seek debt relief. American consumers have $102 trillion in credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank. As much we all want to pay our debts on time, hardships like divorce, medical bills and job loss happen. But that doesn’t mean the banks and credit card companies are going to forgive the debt. If you have trouble paying your credit card debt, you will have to reach out to them. Here are five easy ways you can negotiate your credit card debt.
Steps to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt

Talk to your credit card company.

This is both the easiest and hardest step to take. It is easier to avoid the debt—that’s why debt collectors have such a hard job. But you will have a better chance at negotiating your credit card debt if you call them before they or a third-party debt collector calls you. You may not get a friendly voice on the other end so don’t be afraid to haggle if you are not getting what you want.  The next steps involve how to reduce or erase your credit card debt.

Negotiate a lump sum payoff.

If you are having financial trouble, you may not have access to a lump sum of money. But if you can erase a lot of money off of your credit card debt, think about asking a friend or relative to borrow the money. But don’t pay the full amount with interest. The point of paying it off with a lump sum is to pay a lower amount. Negotiate until you get a good deal from the company.

Ask for a hardship or structured payment plan.

With this plan, your credit card company will freeze the debt while it negotiates a plan with you. You may get the interest rates lowered, too. Be sure to ask the credit card company if any annual fee can be waived, too.  Many credit card companies have a hardship plan and will work with customers with a positive payment history. This is a good option if you think you will get back on your feet in the near future. This plan may not work for you if your financial problems are long-term.

Workout another payment arrangement long-term.

Ask the credit card company if they will reduce the monthly payments and interest so that you can afford the bill. The downside is you will no longer be able to use the card’s credit limit (if it is not maxed out already). This is often called a “workout” arrangement because it will allow you to work your way out of the payment. You will have to stick to the arrangement you make or in many cases, the credit card company will be able to revert back to the original terms of the card. Make sure you read the fine print.

Talk to a debt relief specialist.

Sometimes the credit card companies won’t negotiate with you. But you still have options. Debt relief specialists can negotiate on your behalf to have your credit card debt erased or reduced. Be prepared to present all of your financial records and not just the credit card debt so that the debt relief specialist can have a complete picture of your ability to pay. Using a debt relief company takes the stress away from you and helps you get your credit card debt reduced.
Finally, no matter what you do make sure you have the agreements in writing. You don’t want the company to try to obtain the full credit card debt when you have agreed to a reduction.

Effective Ways to Increase Your Chances of Securing A Small Business Loan

A small business loan is one of the easiest and convenient way to finance your business. May it be financing for expanding, procuring equipment or purchasing inventory. This can give you the means to achieve your business goal, at once.
Securing that loan may seem a daunting task to accomplish, but in reality, all it takes is the right knowledge and strategy. Making the adequate planning and preparation before taking action can make all the difference.
Small Business Loan

Where To Apply For Small Business Loan?

For smaller loan amounts, borrowing from money lenders can be a great option. It is easier and faster to secure than going through the bank.
Moneylenders in Singapore are licensed by the Registry of Moneylenders, on which they are required to abide by the Moneylenders Act and Rules. This ensures that the Registry regulates fees, lending amounts limit, and interest rates.
They are in some ways very similar to banks, in granting loans to select small businesses that have substantial financial needs. Legal or licensed money lender does not harass borrowers when their payments are late. They use the similar legal methods banks used with these issues, like sending notifications or reminders.
The only difference in borrowing from moneylenders instead of banks:

  • Loan Amount

Unlike in banks, moneylenders are providing their services for small business owners who are in need of a considerable small amount to finance their business.

  • Faster Processing

They take less time to process. Loan applications are at times prepared and approved within the same day if you have complete proper documents on hand. This is due entirely because they conduct fewer background checks and complications.

  • Easier Approval

Even with a poor credit rating, moneylenders can still grant you with a loan, only with lesser amount compared to other circumstances. They can give a chance to anyone, as long as you prove that you are capable of repaying the amount.

  • Rates

Money lenders mostly offer higher prices compared to banks. This is the only drawback it seems. But depending on your needs, the small business loan from moneylender can still be an excellent option for you. 

Planning and Preparation

Sufficient planning and preparation can give you the much-needed boost on your chances of securing a small business loan. Staying ahead of your business is as essential as staying ahead of your finances.
Anticipate some delays in the processing of your small business loan. If you have an urgent need of the fund, you are not in good condition to make an intelligent decision. There is no good in rushing into a commitment that you are not ready for.

  1. Take Stock Of Your Business

Look into your business plan. What does your business might need regarding resources and finances in the future? You need to establish your goals and strategies on how are you going to utilize the new fund for your business.
Examine the state of your business. Create a strategy based on financial projections that are well thought-out and logical. Work to demonstrate your credibility to your lender. Show them how sincere you are with your application.
Analyze your cash flow and determine how many loans do you need and how are you going to pay for it. List all the issues and problems with your business.
Include preparations for emergency or worst-case scenarios with your budget. Establish a backup plan on how you are going to sustain your payments when your primary source is diminishing.

  1. Update Your Finances

Prepare to present your balance sheets and income statements for the last couple of months, up to the year. This will show that you have enough resource and capability to pay for new loans in addition to existing ones if you have any.
Make sure that the payments on your existing loans and other expenses are up-to-date. It will help a lot if you have a good credit score. Most of the time, both business and personal credit records are scrutinized.
Money lenders need to ascertain if you are trustworthy and reliable. You need to be in your best shape to secure a new loan for your small business. It is true that you are in need of cash assistance, but you also need to be highly-capable of paying it back.

  1. Prepare All Documents And Requirements

Planning and completing all, if not some of the requirements can help ease and speed up your loan application process.
Some of these documents listed might come in handy for your loan application:

  1. ACRA Business Profile
  2. Profit and Loss Statement
  3. Business Bank Statements
  4. ACRA Income Tax Reporting Summary
  5. Proof of Income Funds
  6. Tenancy Agreement for Place of Business
  7. Title Deeds or other Proof of Assets

Taking Action

Now that you are fully prepared, it is time to start your loan application. There are ways you can increase your chances of securing your small business loan during the application process.
You should learn how to make the calculated moves you can make to tip the scales in your favor.

  1. Start Your Application In Advance

Take the proactive path and start your application ahead of time and not right when you need it. This will give you enough time to make sure that you find the best deal.
The loan application can take some time, depending on your preparation. You need to prepare your requirements and use before the need for the fund arises. You also need to spend more time in shopping for offers that will suit your needs.
Having a deadline hanging over your head will only push you in the wrong direction. Your impulsiveness can just do more harm than good for your business.

  1. Choose A Moneylender

The most important thing is you conduct your business with a licensed money lender. This will ensure that all your transactions are legal and that the law will protect your rights.
You can always check online if they have a license and also read some of the reviews from their customers. It is your responsibility to get to know them as well as they did for you. Trust goes both ways, especially when conducting business.

  1. Get Acquainted

Setup an appointment with your potential creditor. Facilitate a tour of your business to show how well you’re doing. This is also the chance to demonstrate how you can be transparent with your procedures.
Cover all the bases, both good and bad. Tell them about your business issues and problems and how you plan to take care of them. They might appreciate your honesty more than you realize.

  1. Prepare A Backup Plan

You need to have a backup plan. When all else fails, you have to be prepared to have a backup source to pay for your loan. This will help show money lenders how confident you are in repaying them.
This way you can guarantee them that you have the capacity and intent to meet your payments, no matter what happens. This would be a better time to have some savings put away, just in case.

conclusion

In conclusion, devoting enough time to plan and prepare before proceeding to your loan application can significantly increase your chances of securing a small business loan.
If in case you get denied with your application, many other licensed moneylenders in Singapore can help you. Just stick with your plan and give it enough time.

Are You A Freelancer? Here Is How You Can Save Up For Your Future

So, you have decided to take that big step of quitting your job and doing what you have always wanted to – freelance. Congrats! The feeling can be liberating – you no longer have your boss breathing down your neck andyou don’t need to fight peak hour traffic or plead with your employer each time you want to take a few days off. Ultimately, you are the boss of your own time and place.
However, freelancing also comes with its own set of drawbacks, the biggest one being that you no longer have a monthly pay check to rely on. You also would be leaving behind paid vacations, insurances, reimbursements for expenses and future pensions schemes, along with your full-time paid job.
When you do start off, you most often end up taking low paying gigs to shore up your experience and to pay for your day-to-day expenses. This, however, means that you are really not saving up for the future, or even for any immediate emergency situation. And, even after you are steady, there may be months where your inflow peaks and others where it hits rock bottom.
Are You A Freelancer
Hence, to make things easier, and to help you get better control over your finances, take a look at these tips and ensure that you always have money stashed away for a rainy day:

Create an emergency fund:

Once you have decided that freelancing is what you want to do, ensure that you have an emergency account where you have saved up at least six months’ worth of funds for expenses and emergencies. You should be able to fall back on the cash at any point, in case you need to. However, this is an emergency account which has to be used prudently. In case you do need to tap into this fund, remember to replenish it the next time you earn money.

Clear major financial burden:

As much as possible, try to pay off all the major loans and debts you have before you quit your full time career and get into freelancing. Avoid using your credit cards unnecessarily as the last thing you would want is to be stuck with is a huge bill and no money to pay it off.

Budget your monthly expenses:

Even before you start your freelancing career, keep a track of how much you spend each month, and do that for around three-four months. Apart from your fixed expenses (house rent/mortgage, school/college fees, taxes, insurances, utilities) also keep an eye on your variable expenses (petrol, eating out, shopping, commuting, etc). Once you get an idea of how much you are spending, you would be able to figure out what income you need to cover those expenses.

Cut costs on fixed expenses:

As a salaried employee you know that you can afford a particular internet/telephone/cable plan since your monthly cash inflow is already fixed. But, with flexible income, there is no guarantee that you may be able to continue paying for the same plans. Hence, it is better to search around and opt for operators who provide you with more cost-effective plans. Save up on telephone bills by using Skype/WhatsApp calling features and on electricity bills by opting for energy saving equipment.

Reduce variable costs:

Now that you don’t have a guaranteed monthly income to fall back on, it’s time to cut down on all your other expenses as well, atleast until you have settled down a bit. This means cutting down on alcohol and tobacco if you are a drinker, opting for home cooked food instead of eating out regularly, finding out deals and coupons to save up on grocery shopping and subscribing to Netflix/Amazon, thereby reducing your theatre trips. You should also be more prudent when it comes to shopping – switch over to lesser known brands which may offer the same quality at much less rates.

Manage your taxes:

As a freelancer, you are liable to pay your taxes yourself, as opposed to salaried employees whose employers handle their tax payments. Hence, you need to be aware of how much your earnings are and where all you can claim tax benefits. Ensure that you claim for deductions on business related items such as travelling on business purposes, equipment and software that you may have purchased for business purposes. Self-employed tax calculators like this one can help you keep track of how much you owe in taxes. If you find it difficult to calculate your taxes on your own, using the services of a tax professional will help as they will figure out ways by which you can save, reduce your tax burden and claim for tax deductions.

Invest in insurance:

A major mistake that most freelancers do is avoid taking insurance. However, in the absence of employer-provided insurance plans, it is important that you buy atleast a good health insurance. Shop around for the best health plans – by choosing government health plans you can qualify for subsidies, but the coverage may be low, you can also opt for private ones which best suit you and your family’s needs.

Keep personal and business accounts separately:

As a freelancer you may invest your earnings into buying technology, domain names or diversifying into other businesses. Here a separate account for your personal and business needs help in keeping your expenses separate and is also useful when you file your taxes.

Keep track of your invoices:

Create an excel sheet where you list down all the clients you work for, the payment you have received from them and any pending invoices. This will help you understand how much you can expect to earn on a monthly basis, and also keep track of your invoices. You will also be able to figure out how much you can afford to spend, based in the cash inflow.

Invoice promptly:

Ensure that you send your invoice across as soon as you have submitted your work. If the project requires more time, have payment milestone – the first 25 percent upfront, 50 percent on the first draft and 25 percent on completion.

Save up for retirement:

Even if retirement is years away, there is no better time than today to start saving up for it. There are a number of retirement option plans such as the IRAs or Individual Retirement Accounts, which is a type of savings account which helps you save for your retirement and offers tax benefits, Simplified Solo Pension and Solo 401(k) if you are in the US.  Aim to contribute atleast 15-20 percent of your net income into this account. In case you have kids, you should also think about saving for their college and scout around for good college savings plans.

Know what you are worth:

Finally, as a freelancer, you should know what your time and work is worth. Way too many freelancers commit the mistake of undercharging as they don’t do know what they are worth or they believe that they will get more clients by charging less. That is not true. Clients have funds at their disposal and can match up to your demand – what most of them need is the surety that they will get back their money’s worth. Also, ensure that you factor in costs such as online payment fees, exchange rate fluctuations (if you have international clients) transfer fees apart from your actual cost for getting the project done, while figuring out your charges. Remember, some freelance sites and payment systems charge and you would really not want to end up paying them more than what you have earned. As you grow in experience and broaden your portfolio, you can also consider increasing your rates.
Here is to a happy and successful freelancing career!
Author Bio: I am Emily Connor, 26 year old psychology student, and a content contributor at Dissertation Help and assignment editor with Assignment Help company. My interests range from productivity, inspiration to reading anything motivational over the internet.

Key Tips on Selecting an Investment Firm

Building an investment can help you determine your long-term financial goals. It can be beneficial for your retirement, payment of mortgage and even paying school fees for your children. Although having a savings account is also be financially important, the returns can be uncertain, which is why having an investment is beneficial for providing you with good returns.
Choosing an investment firm you can rely on for your finances can be a bit tricky, though. Without weighing out your options correctly, you’ll end up getting a sub-par company. If you’re concerned about your financial health, here’s what you need to consider in investing.
Investments

Knowing the Advantages of Investments

Making investments can be a simple process of purchasing a stock, real estate or other type of investments in the expectation that you’ll earn a stronger financial return over time. To know how investing can help you financially, here are some of the advantages:

  • Investments can provide you with a regular income. Your investment can go a long way, especially when you’re close to your retirement. As you need to have a steady income for your daily expenses after you retire, a variety of investments is usually a stable source for income.
  • Investments can provide you with long-term returns. Although investing can be a bit risky, it can potentially give you long-term financial gains. While cash can be safer than spending your money on investments, it’s less likely to generate profits.
  • They can surpass inflation. With today’s low-interest environment, investing has the most likely ability to outperform inflation and be well worth the time, money and effort.
  • Investments can allow you to spend your money based on your financial circumstances. As your economic conditions change over time, you can make investments that suit your situation. For example, you can go on investing a lump sum or begin to invest a smaller amount in order to establish a savings plan. Depending on your financial needs, an investment can give you the flexibility to plan out your finances well.

Things to Look for an Investment Firm

Selecting an experienced investment firm that can be trusted with your money might be the most challenging decision you’ll make as you enter the realm of finances. If you choose poorly, you’ll waste your energy, money, and the bad experience might leave a poor taste in your mouth. If you want to go through the process of properly choosing the most qualified investment firm for your financial needs, here are the things to look for:

  1. Valuable transaction experience

Make sure that your prospective investment firm has the credentials and experience to get the work done for you. You can validate their knowledge by asking about prior projects they’ve worked on successfully. That way, you’ll know how trustworthy and professional they can be for your future investments.

  1. License

Having a license can be essential when dealing with investments. When getting an investment company, check whether they hold a license or authority to operate. That way, you’ll be able to determine if they are legitimate or not. Also, you can inquire whether they’re working with licensed investment professionals who are registered with a state.

  1. Special areas of expertise

As investments can be various types, it’s best to ask your potential firm about their particular areas of expertise. By doing so, you’ll be able to narrow down your options based on what you need and what the company is working on.

  1. Manner of communication

Going through the whole investment process isn’t easy. As you get your money invested, you want to be sure about them. That’s why you need to be particular about how an investment company will communicate your performance. Before picking one, don’t forget to make inquiries about the manner of communication and the timeframe you expect them to speak with you regarding your portfolio and the progress you’re making.

  1. Person who will handle your account

It’s vital to ask who all in the company will be handling your account. Check whether the person assigned to cater to your financial needs is knowledgeable and well-experienced in the field. You can also ask if they are licensed professionals who have been in the business for quite some time. By doing this, you’ll have an idea whether your investments are in safe hands or not.

  1. Violations of federal or state regulations

There’s nothing wrong if you are searching for an investment firm who has never been disciplined by a federal or state regulator. It’s only your way of protecting your interests in the first place. In these types of situations, it’s worth keeping in mind that getting to know the investment company better may have something to do with how they work with their clients. Any violation of federal or state regulations on their part may be something that you should think through carefully.

  1. Fee structure

Dealing with an investment company may also mean paying for its services. Most of the time, payment of a retainer and a success fee are the most common ways that a firm will charge their clients. That’s why you should take the time to verify their fee structure so you’ll be able to consider their fees as one of one of the factors in making your decision.

Steps to Remember for Choosing Investments

Looking for an investment firm will be much easier when you know what kind of investment you’re taking. As you move forward with your financial goals, here are the steps to remember in finding the right investment for you:

  1. Check your goals and needs

You can only make the most out of your investments if you know what you really want from it. Reviewing your goals and needs can be a good start for something bigger waiting ahead of you and your investments in the future.

  1. Think about how long you can invest

Financial health is also crucial to our well-being. You can guarantee it by considering how soon you can get your money back. While timeframes differ depending on your goals, it’s best to be aware how long you can invest. Take note of your financial circumstances so you’ll not end up having some problems in the future.

  1. Consider making an investment plan

Once you’ve made an investment plan, you’ll be able to maximize your options which can help you identify the best product that suits you. Also by having a plan, you’ll be able to determine some risk factors that may affect your investments.

  1. Be mindful of the investments to avoid

It’s a good idea to avoid taking high-risk investments, especially if you don’t understand it how it works. Only consider those medium-risk investments which can potentially give you long-term returns.

  1. Review your performance regularly

You can keep track of how your investments are progressing by doing regular performance reviews. That way, you’ll be able to make necessary adjustments to your savings to attain your goal.
Keep in mind, the value of investments can go up or down depending on the situation. If you want to take advantage of your investments, make sure to choose a trustworthy, honest, and professional company that can take care of your investments over time.