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Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in Blog, Finance & Money | 0 comments

4 Interesting Facts You Should Know About Payday Loans

For years, payday loans have been a quick go-to outlet for those in need of some quick cash. It’s not surprising that such an interesting industry also has a few interesting facts you might want to know about. Some of these facts may even give you the upper hand the next time you’re in need of a payday loan.

Payday Loans Are Just like Other Types of Credit

You can thank the federal Truth in Lending Act for this one. In order to make payday loans more transparent to customers, federal officials mandate payday lenders to provide not just the annual percentage rate (APR) of the loan, but also the dollar amount of the finance charge prior to signing the loan.

These stipulations are the same ones required of credit card companies and traditional lenders. As a result, there’s less chance of you being hit with mysterious finance charges you didn’t see before signing on the dotted line.

Contrary to Popular Belief, the Typical Payday Loan Borrower Isn’t Low-Income

Mention the words “payday loan customer” and the first thing that comes to mind is someone with little luck and a low income. However, the reality surrounding the typical payday loan customer is a bit different from what you’d expect.

Believe it or not, some of the biggest users of payday loans are middle-class income earners. According to Snarketing 2.0’s Ron Shevlin, 38 percent of payday loan borrowers in 2012 earned over $70,000, while 32 percent earned less than $70,000 but over $30,000.

Military Consumers Have Unique Protections When Dealing with Payday Loans

The unique financial circumstances surrounding military service members and their dependents have spawned a number of unique protections. These protections enable military consumers to utilize payday loans without suffering from unforeseen pitfalls:

  • The payday loan APR for military consumers is set at a maximum, with the majority of fees and charges included in the APR.
  • Military consumers do not have to grant creditors access to their bank account as a condition of the payday loan.
  • Military consumers are also given important disclosures about the costs of their loan as well as their rights as a consumer.

Payday Loan Lenders Eschew Credit Checks

Most traditional lenders rely on a collection of tools to determine a customer’s ability to repay the amount loaned. Credit checks are the most commonly used of these tools, as they usually provide a clear and quick way for lenders to vet their customers.

Unfortunately, a wide variety of socioeconomic circumstances have impacted those who’d otherwise have excellent credit scores, making it more difficult for them to borrow money. This has made payday loans a popular avenue of extra money, as these lenders do not perform the customary credit check on their customers.

Without a credit check, however, lenders must charge slightly higher fees and interest to their customers. Nevertheless, these loans have proven quite popular with those who don’t have other ways of borrowing cash.

For more information, contact a company like EZ Money.

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Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Bookkeeping Services For Your Small Business

If you’re a small businessman, you understand the importance of efficiency. You want to make sure every dollar as well as every hour spent gives your business the most benefit possible. One task that every business owner faces is “doing the books.” This ranges from daily sales reports and bank reconciliations to generating financial statements and tax reports. Chances are, doing these things is not your strength. That’s why so many small business owners use bookkeeping services.

You can concentrate on what you do best–running your business–and delegate the task of keeping the books to a professional.

What a Professional Bookkeeping Service Will Do For You

  • Keep the books in a professional and timely manner, so you always have an up-to-date picture of how your business is doing
  • Manage your payroll, making sure all tax payments are made on time (and you know what the consequences are if you miss those payments)
  • Provide you with monthly cash flow and profit-and-loss statements
  • Keep ledger and journal entries to help you keep track of revenue and expenses
  • Prepare financial records for your certified public accountant

Make Things Easier For Your Certified Public Accountant

A bookkeeper is not a certified public accountant (CPA); you should hire a CPA to do end-of-year financials and prepare your taxes. That said, having had a professional bookkeeping service maintain your records makes your CPA’s job a lot easier.

The better shape your records are in, the less chance of a mistake, which can be costly. Also, many CPA’s charge by the hour, so it will save you money to present him with well-organized records rather than a couple of shoeboxes full of receipts and canceled checks.

A Good Small Business Owner Delegates Tasks

If you’re in business for yourself, chances are you do a certain thing very well and are trying to market that skill. You naturally want to spend as much of your own time on doing that certain thing and would therefore prefer to have someone else do the routine tasks.

It’s strange, therefore, how many small business owners are happy to delegate routine tasks such as cleaning the office or driving a delivery truck to employees or outside services, but at the same time, try to keep their own books, even if they have no experience or expertise in doing so.

When you examine the cost of using your own time to do the task of bookkeeping, and then you consider how costly it could be to keep an inaccurate set of books, you can see that hiring a bookkeeping service is almost always the wisest choice. To learn more, contact a company like Kamphaus Henning & Hood for more help.

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Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Blog, Finance & Money | 0 comments

3 Reasons For Getting A Small Loan

While the term “loan” is generally associated with a large amount of money for a car or home, loans can also be for much smaller amounts. These small loans are known as personal loans, and do not fall under any other type of loan. The process of getting a small loan is much like getting any other type of loan. You will need to find a lender, research the interest rates, and apply for the loan. However, the reasons for getting these loans are generally different than the reasons for getting much larger loans. This article will talk about 3 different reasons why you may need to get a small loan. 

College Tuition

College tuition for most schools is due in full at the very beginning of the semester. Many students are not able to pay this amount right up front, so getting a small loan can allow them to get the money that they need right away. Often times a school will offer a small tuition loan, making it easy for the student to pay the money back. All they will need to do is make payments back to the school, with a certain amount of interest.

Medical Bill

Sometimes you get sick or need some type of surgery out of the blue, and you are not prepared to pay for it. However, this surgery cannot wait, so you must find the funds immediately. Getting a small loan to pay for your medical bill will allow you to get the surgery that you need, without worrying about how you are going to pay for it. You will generally get this small loan via a personal loan from the bank. You can choose which bank to get the loan from, and will likely have a variety of interest rates to choose from amongst the different banks. 

Home Improvements

Improving upon a home is something that is very important for most people, so they are willing to take out a small amount of money to make improvements. For simple remodels and updates, a small loan will often provide you with plenty of money to perform the task. This loan will likely range from 1,000 to 10,000 dollars, and will allow you enough money to pay for the materials you need for the remodel, as well as the cost of labor. 

Borrowing a small, personal loan, from a company like EZ Loans Inc, is a great way to get the money that you need right away, whether it be for college, medical bills, or home improvements.

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Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Should You Invest In A Self-Directed IRA?

When you are planning out your investments, you may be interested in diversifying your portfolio. Just as you diversify your overall portfolio to include a variety of investment options, you can diversify your retirement savings with a self-directed IRA. This option allows you more freedom to adjust for current market conditions.

What Is a Self-Directed IRA?

A self-directed IRA is an individual retirement account that gives you more control over your investments. Traditional IRAs limit the type of investments you can choose from to CDs if you open it through a bank or credit union or stocks and mutual funds if you open it through a traditional investing firm. This type of IRA allows you to expand your investments to real estate, gold and even things like art. You are in charge of your investments and you can determine how to diversify them.

Are There Rules About Self-Directed IRAs?

The IRS has set up clear guidelines about the types of transactions that you do with a self-directed IRA. For example, you are not allowed to buy any items from yourself or family members to put into your portfolio. You are not allowed to sell to yourself or family members either. If you have investment property, you are not allowed to live or vacation in it, and you cannot operate a business on the property that you own. You can rent the property to others however.

How Can I Tell If I Am a Good Candidate for a Self-Directed IRA?

One easy way is to talk to your financial advisor about diversifying outside of the stock market. A balanced portfolio that contains both property and stocks is the best way to go. It helps to spread your risk across more markets. It also helps if you have a large amount in an IRA to make the purchases. For many people, this happens as a result of rolling a 401(k) into an IRA after they switch jobs.

Where Can I Open a Self-Directed IRA?

Not all investment firms will allow you to open an IRA. Many of them will offer you selection of mutual funds or stocks to include based on how much investment risk you want to take. If you want to open a self-directed IRA, you will need to look for a firm that specializes in them. When you look for a firm, take the time to check the reputation of the firm and to interview them to make sure you are comfortable working with them. 

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Posted by on Sep 18, 2014 in Blog, Finance & Money | 0 comments

Does A Refinance Make Financial Sense For You?

A home is the largest expense for the majority of Americans. The amount of money you have to pay may make it difficult to write that mortgage check every month. A refinance might make that burden a little less, but you should only refinance under the right conditions. Otherwise you might just be throwing more money away.

Refinance When the New Interest Rate is 2% Points Lower than Your Current Rate

A general rule is to refinance home loans or your mortgage when the new interest rate is two percentage points or more under your current rate (you should aim for a 4% loan if you are currently paying 6%, etc.).

Refinancing when the interest rate is only one or one and a half points lower might make financial sense, but you might be kicking yourself if interest rates continue to fall. You don’t want to refinance a 6% mortgage to 5% only to see rates fall to 4% or lower. You don’t want to refinance twice because of closing costs.

Check mortgage rates often to track trends. If the interest rate is two percentage points lower than yours, jump on that refinance! If the rate is only one percentage point lower than your current rate, watch to see if the rate drops any lower.

If it starts to climb, it might be worthwhile to refinance before they get too high again. But any rate that is two percentage points lower than yours should be scooped up—a refinance should save you money in the long run.

Refinance When the Closing Costs can be Recouped in a Short Period of Time

The average closing costs on a $200,000 loan are over $3,700.  

Let’s say you are five years into a 30 year, 6% mortgage on a $200,000 house. If you refinanced your house to a 25 year, 4% mortgage (you don’t want to add years back on to your term, otherwise your savings is negated in the extra 5 years of interest you are paying), your refinanced payment would be $223 less per month. In the case of $3700/$223—you would recoup the closing costs in 17 months.  Any mortgage payment after that will be an automatic $223/month savings.

You should aim to make back your closing costs as quickly as possible—at the very least, you want to recoup those costs before you sell your house.

Refinance When You Will be Staying in the House for Many Years to Come

A refinance with closing costs really only makes financial sense if you will be staying in that home for a few years. You want to stay at least as long as it takes to recoup the closing costs from the refinance, no matter if you paid the closing costs out of pocket or you rolled them into the mortgage.

If you plan on staying in your home forever, a refinance less than two percentage points probably makes financial sense—as long as you can keep your temper if interest rates drop further.

Before refinancing, there are a lot of variables to take into account, not just the ones mentioned in this article. Be sure that a refinance is the best use of your money.

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Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in Blog, Finance & Money | 0 comments

Donate, Sell Whole, Or Scrap For Cash? What To Do With Old Gold Jewelry

If you have old or broken gold jewelry that you no longer want, you may be wondering how to get the best financial return on this investment. While there are several ways to make money from old gold jewelry, the most lucrative option often depends on your financial situation, as well as the type and condition of jewelry you’ll be selling. Read on to see which jewelry disposal method may be the best choice for your situation.

Donation

Donating gold jewelry to a charitable organization will not give you immediate cash in your pocket, but can provide a valuable tax deduction. If you itemize your deductions — by deducting expenses such as healthcare costs, employee business expenses, and mortgage interest — instead of taking the standard deduction, you may actually receive more of a benefit from donating than from selling (and paying taxes on the income received). However, if you take only the standard deduction, you won’t be able to receive any additional tax benefits for donating. 

If this option appeals to you, you’ll first want to go to an appraiser to determine the fair market value (FMV) of the jewelry you’re donating so that you know what amount you can legally deduct on your tax return.

Selling “as-is”

If you won’t receive any financial benefit from donating, you may want to sell your old jewelry as-is. Many buyers may be interested in repurposing or repairing your broken jewelry. You can list your jewelry for sale on any number of free websites, including social networking sites, or even have a yard sale. Be aware that you’ll need to report any funds received through sale on your income taxes.

Selling to a scrap gold buyer

The third option is often the easiest — selling your jewelry to a scrap gold buyer. These buyers will measure the amount and type of gold in your jewelry and then offer you a price based on the current cost of gold. The jewelry is then sent off to a processor, where it is melted and the pure gold extracted to be used in jewelry, electronics, and other applications.

In many cases, you don’t even need to physically go to a gold buyer — the gold buyer will send you an envelope, you’ll use it to mail in your jewelry, and then you’ll get a check in the mail once the final rate has been computed. This can be a good option if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of trying to sell individual pieces of jewelry, and if you’re not able to itemize your deductions.

For more information, contact Roseville Numismatics Services or a similar company.

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