Under30CEO » Personal Finance http://under30ceo.com Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:18:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6 Under30CEO interviews successful young entrepreneurs to hear about their story and journey while starting their company. These young founders have over a million dollars a year in revenues and have been through many ups and downs to get there. These stories are meant to inspire, educate and motivate more young people to take a leap and do what they are passionate about. Under30CEO clean Under30CEO jared@under30ceo.com jared@under30ceo.com (Under30CEO) Under30CEO Interviews with Young Entrepreneurs on Starting Businesses entrepreneur, business, interview, young entrepreneur, business advice, startup advice, founder interview, ceo Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/u30logo300x250.png http://under30ceo.com/category/personal-finance/ 4 Reasons Why Getting Insured Might Not Be In Your Best Interest http://under30ceo.com/4-reasons-getting-insured-might-best-interest/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=4-reasons-getting-insured-might-best-interest http://under30ceo.com/4-reasons-getting-insured-might-best-interest/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 17:00:25 +0000 Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/?p=38708 With the Obama administration pushing for young people to “get covered” and the high cost of medical care otherwise, getting health insurance may seem like a no-brainer. However, if you’re young and healthy, getting insured might not pay off. Here’s why: 1. You may not be legally required to obtain insurance The Affordable Care Act, […]

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health insurance

With the Obama administration pushing for young people to “get covered” and the high cost of medical care otherwise, getting health insurance may seem like a no-brainer. However, if you’re young and healthy, getting insured might not pay off. Here’s why:

1. You may not be legally required to obtain insurance

The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, includes a requirement to have health insurance by March 31 or else face a penalty of several hundred dollars or more, depending on your income. But if at least one of the following applies, you’re not legally required to purchase health insurance:

  • Your religion opposes health insurance
  • You’re an undocumented immigrant
  • You’re in prison (don’t do this one on purpose!)
  • You belong to an Indian tribe
  • Your family income is below the federal filing threshold
  • Health insurance would cost more than 8% of your income

2. You may be able to avoid a penalty

Even if you’re required to obtain health insurance, the IRS has limited capabilities to enforce the penalty. The IRS’s options include:

  • Taking it from your tax refund
  • Sending reminder letters
  • Suing you

The only significant threat is the first option, as three in four Americans received a refund check last year. Reminder letters may be a nuisance, but that’s about it. As for suing you, the IRS would have to ask the Department of Justice to do so, which, as Texas Tech law professor Bryan Camp told Yahoo! Finance, “if it’s such a small amount, it’s unlikely the government would sue for the same very practical reasons you wouldn’t sue someone for $25.”

3. You’ll be subsidizing Grandpa

If you buy health insurance, you’ll really being paying for older people’s health care. That’s because as we age we tend to require more health care services, and you—being young and healthy—will likely pay more than your fair share. That’s a double-whammy since the median net worth of senior citizens is more than 13 times that of young adults, so you’ll effectively widen that gap!

To illustrate, the Wall Street Journal pointed out that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito made a similar argument about the young subsidizing the elderly under Obamacare. He stated that young adults now spend an average of $854 per year on health care, but under Obamacare they’ll have to pay roughly $5,800 for insurance. “The mandate is forcing these people to provide a huge subsidy to the insurance companies … to subsidize services that will be received by somebody else,” Alito argued.

4. You’re not a knucklehead

First Lady Michelle Obama recently commented that young people need insurance because they are “knuckleheads”. She went on to explain that they’re the ones who are “cooking for the first time and slice their finger open, they’re dancing on the bar stool.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve never sliced my finger bad enough to go to the hospital. Also, I don’t dance on bar stools, and even if I did, I’d have to take one mighty fall to suffer anything beyond a few bumps and bruises. Thus, your health is largely within your control, so if you avoid risky behavior you may be able to skip purchasing insurance.

Every individual’s situation is unique. That being said, if these reasons don’t apply to you, sign up for health insurance to avoid a catastrophic loss in the future. 

Bisi Ibrahim writes for NerdWallet Health, a website that empowers consumers to find high quality, affordable health care and insurance. Take a look at NerdWallets Affordable Health Insurance Guide that covers the health insurance basics you need to know before purchasing a plan.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

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5 Most Common Mistakes Investors Make http://under30ceo.com/5-common-mistakes-investors-make/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-common-mistakes-investors-make http://under30ceo.com/5-common-mistakes-investors-make/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/?p=38221 Investment is studying the market trends carefully and yet not depending too much on past records of a particular stock that is showing up returns too good to last long. Investors make mistakes in not analyzing one’s risks properly, overdoing investment amount and showing impatience. As a newbie investor contemplating on making the best use […]

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active-investing-wsj

Investment is studying the market trends carefully and yet not depending too much on past records of a particular stock that is showing up returns too good to last long. Investors make mistakes in not analyzing one’s risks properly, overdoing investment amount and showing impatience.

As a newbie investor contemplating on making the best use of your savings by making an investment through opening up a brokerage account on pouring it on stocks, it is imperative to introspect and ponder carefully before taking plunge. For like every investor you are human and this means committing mistakes is something very commonly witnessed even in pro investors. Investment comes with uncertainty and hence there is no specific formula or computerized program that can give you the right idea of whether the money you pour in will provide you with valuable returns. Often emotional behaviors on investors’ part leave them making mistakes in their investment decisions. So before you invest and trigger circumstances where you relent later, here are 5 common mistakes you should avoid as an investor.

Inability to Analyze Risks:

You might have been prudent enough in gathering a whole bunch of assets that could help you lead a comfortable life after your superannuation. But when the question of investment crops up, you might be digging a dungeon for yourself by going for extremely risky investment which may turn its back on you anytime making your strategies go haywire. And yet there are young people who love to procrastinate in spite of possessing the ability to handle risks with their advantage of age, thereby ending up taking hasty investing decisions later which may be detrimental.

Impatience:

Investment is a matter of patience and making rash emotional decisions can turn out to be harmful bargain on your assets. You cannot expect your investments to give you prompt gratification and returns and to reap the benefits from the investment that you thought to be a quality one in the first place, you need to be hold on to your patience till the completion of the cycle. The duration of the cycle is something you get to know only after its culmination. Being too active in your trading sessions and making investment decisions too often or more than once in one year can really cost you a fortune.

Over-Investment:

Just like over-gorging can lead to indigestion putting too much money in one basket or into your favorite stock account calls for danger. For even though the particular portfolio may appear the most promising one, it is advisable not to go about representing more than 10 per cent of your investing money in one single position. A balanced diet comprises eating the right proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and the likes. Similarly, to have a balanced financial investment strategy you need to diversify your investments and not over-do anyone. If you over-commit yourself you might find yourself whipped by your daily expenses as well which you need to maintain your basic living standard.

Frequent Changing of Mutual Funds:

Mutual funds should be invested by hedging your bets and committing to remain faithful to them for the long-term. Investors tend to get swayed by the latest dwindling performance of mutual bonds and sell them while buying the funds when their performance has been relatively much superior. Consequently you tend to buy at high prices and sell at low ones and losing a considerable amount that you could have earned had you shown perseverance and patience.

Here, the issue of “chasing yield” comes handy. You might be tempted to invest in a particular account simply because it is yielding handsome returns which look much more luring when compared to others. As noted by expert financial planners if a company is utilizing up its cash in its entirety for a quarterly dividend, it may so happen that it curtails its share value in future to meet the expenses of other quarterly bills, thus leaving you to lose on your shares as well as the dividend income that you could have earned.

Being Too Optimistic:

If you are among those investors who feel too optimistic about their investment overtures and their success and have a subconscious bias considering yourself a more discreet stock picker than the herd you might be ending up overestimating your capabilities. While you might be overconfident about your stock and refuse to learn from your mistakes you should also remember your stock does not care in the least about you.

Jennifer Winget is a marketing professional. Apart from her profession she loves to write and share articles related to business, technology, health, fashion and financial services. Follow her @jennywinget01

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Travel Hacks: How to Save Money and Find Cheap Airfare http://under30ceo.com/travel-hacks-how-to-save-money-and-find-cheap-airfare/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=travel-hacks-how-to-save-money-and-find-cheap-airfare http://under30ceo.com/travel-hacks-how-to-save-money-and-find-cheap-airfare/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 13:00:29 +0000 Matt Wilson http://under30ceo.com/?p=38574 Finding cheap flights is a science.  As the co-founder of a travel company, we bring our team all over the world, and try to do it as wisely as possible.  We take travel hacking very seriously.  The more money we save on flights, the more money left to spend on incredible experiences. Here are ten […]

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Cheap flights and travel hacking Matt Wilson

Regional flights can be a lot of fun. I scored this seat on Cape Air to Nantucket…

Finding cheap flights is a science.  As the co-founder of a travel company, we bring our team all over the world, and try to do it as wisely as possible.  We take travel hacking very seriously.  The more money we save on flights, the more money left to spend on incredible experiences.

Here are ten awesome travel hacks to help you find cheap airfare:

1) Book during the right time of the month

If you are booking on your credit card, you should be paying attention to your cashflow.  My billing cycle turns over on the 28th of every month, so you’ll almost always find me booking flights after that day.  Through American Express, I will have nearly two months to pay that off…

I just booked my flight for our Under30Experiences April 2-6 trip to Costa Rica.  Luckily for me, March’s bill will come to me at the beginning of April, and I’ll have until the end of April to pay it.  Pretty sweet.

2) Book during the right time of the week

By looking at historical data and watching trends over the last several years, you’ll notice that sitting down to book flights in the middle of the week, Tuesday – Thursday is most economical.  FareCompare.com did a study here and said Wednesday at 3PM ET is the best time to book flights.

3) Find off-peak flights

Most people need to fly home on Sunday afternoon to get back to work on Monday.  But if you have more flexibility, why not fly home off-peak hours?  Nobody wants to fly on Saturday night, or on red-eyes, or super early in the AM.  Be sure to use the +/- 3 days button on Kayak.com to see what day is cheapest, and you can save a fortune.

4) Search other destinations and buy a connecting flight

Flying to Asia or Europe?  This works really well.  If you are flying to Bali, first research flights that fly in to the Bali’s DPS airport.  Then, compare those prices with flying to other cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shanghai. These major hubs are going to be way cheaper, so, search a local carrier like AirAsia to get you the rest of the way there.

For our U30X trip to Bali, I found JFK to Taipei nonstop for $1000, and then TPE to Bali for $300.  Even more fun I’ll get to check out Taipei for however long I want… remember… it’s all about the experience!

Superhack: Search your flight to Bali, and then see through what airports the cheapest flights connect in.  This is how I found Taipei– not a city in Asia I would ever thought to fly into, but it’s where most of the cheap flights were stopping. I’ll buy a second ticket and get my to Bali for less.

5) Take advantage of free-stopovers

A lot of the cheapest flights are the ones most people consider the worst–with long layovers.  This mindset is for people who simply aren’t good at life.

Last year, I found myself flying Emirates Air (amazing) with a long layover in Dubai.  I called the airlines, and arranged an even longer, 24 hour stopover, and had a blast.  I rode camels in the desert, swam in the Persian Gulf, saw the Burj Khalifa, Palm Islands, indoor skiing, and had dinner with a friend from college.  Not a bad day.

Icelandair offers up to seven days free stopover if you connect in Reykjavik.  Flying to Europe this year? Book your flight on Icelandair, and go spend the day relaxing in the Blue Lagoon. It’s natural beauty will blow your mind, and it’s very close to the airport.

6) Watch the price predictors

Many sites including Kayak and Bing Travel use data from past flights to predict the prices of upcoming airfare. For flights to places that are undiscovered like Nicaragua, we always notice that the price predictors say to wait.  It’s not uncommon for flights to go to Managua only half full, and get cheaper as time goes on.

Keep an eye out, because on any given day flights can jump up if it gets too close.  I recently couldn’t get on a flight from Miami to Managua, because our attendees bought up all the flights.  I had to pay a lot more on another airline and travel alone.

7)  Buy travel insurance ASAP

This one sounds obvious but you need to protect yourself against flight cancellations, or unforseen circumstances.  We suggest World Nomads Travel Insurance to protect yourself against trip cancellation, if you or a business partner get sick, a relative dies, or your trip gets interrupted because of inclement weather.  This might not save you money off your flight, but it’ll save your ass in an emergency.

8) Find the right credit card for you

My life and business is devoted to travel, so I choose to pay for an expensive charge card with American Express Platinum. This isn’t an article about selecting credit cards, but yes, I did get 30,000 miles just for signing up… Find mileage bonuses on a low APR credit card theoretically will let you travel with no money down for a year or two… Be careful here.

9) Know your frequent flier alliances

Mainly, be sure you are signed up with one of the big three airline frequent flier groups, Star Alliance (United, US Airways, Copa, Luthfansa, SWISS, EVA Air)One World (American, British, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, LAN, Qatar), and the new Sky Team (Delta, KLM, Aero Mexico, Air France, China Airlines…)

Try to book with them, even if they are a little more expensive. You’ll make up for it in the long run with free flights.

I prefer Delta because when I book via American Express Travel I get triple points. Yup. Double points for every travel dollar I spend with AMEX, and then the frequent flier miles with Delta on top of that. You get this deal with any airline on AMEX, but the nice thing with the Delta / AMEX partnership is that you can transfer your points between the two programs.

10) Know your booking sites

With Kayak they let you compare to the big guys like Orbitz, Expedia, Booking.com, etc… but don’t forget about the other sites like CheapOair, Airfarewatchdog, Skyscanner, and Google Flights. Of course, you should always check the airline’s website directly, and local regional carriers.

11) Setup price alerts

You’ll be able to setup fare alerts on a lot of these sites, and they’ll notify you via email of any price change. You want to watch the flights for a little while, but in general, the earlier you book the better. You’ll be able to wait until the right time of the week or month (as mentioned in tips #1 and #2), but don’t wait too long or you’ll miss out. Price predictors (as mentioned in tip #6) rarely say they flights are going to come down in price.

Superhack: Put it all together. Here’s my general process when booking flights:

Search Kayak for the flight you want, and check the price predictor.  If the flight is more than 3-4 months away, I’ll set a fare alert, and watch the price. On a Tuesday or Wednesday, at the beginning of the month, after my credit card is on a fresh billing cycle, I’ll check the flight on the search engines again, and then head over to American Express Travel where I can pay with as many points as I have, bringing down the fare, and put the rest on my card.

Happy travels!

Matt Wilson is co-founder of Under30CEO and Adventurer in Residence at the travel company Under30Experiences.  Read his free e-book The Escape Manual, the secret to temporarily escaping your job, living a life that makes your friends jealous and making memories that last a lifetime.

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How to Save Money without Sacrificing Your Lifestyle http://under30ceo.com/save-money-without-sacrificing-lifestyle/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=save-money-without-sacrificing-lifestyle http://under30ceo.com/save-money-without-sacrificing-lifestyle/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 16:00:27 +0000 Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/?p=38028 Nobody wants to waste money unnecessarily. That means everyone loves saving money, right? Not necessarily. I’m sure everyone knows that saving money is hard work. We often spend less by sacrificing on certain things, i.e. eating home-cooked food most of the time, buying fewer clothes, skipping vacation days and many more. While effective, these methods […]

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Nobody wants to waste money unnecessarily. That means everyone loves saving money, right? Not necessarily. I’m sure everyone knows that saving money is hard work. We often spend less by sacrificing on certain things, i.e. eating home-cooked food most of the time, buying fewer clothes, skipping vacation days and many more. While effective, these methods are often painful as it sacrifices your lifestyle. What if I told you there are other ways to save money that are relatively pain-free?

By being a little bit imaginative, you’ll notice that there are many ways to reduce spending without drastically hurting your lifestyle. This article will attempt to get you started and will offer several money-saving tips which are guaranteed not to let you feel the pinch.

Take care of your health and stay healthy

The first one is to get healthy. As most of us might realize, eating healthy and staying fit is easier said than done. But here’s the thing, if you are in good shape, a lot of money can be saved on life insurance and health insurance plans. Why waste the extra money? If you’re already fit, good job! If not, get started. It’ll be worth your while.

Review and re-examine your auto insurance

It is recommended that you review and reexamine your auto insurance policy every year for opportunities to save. Consider this: should you be raising your deductible to a lower premium? If you’re driving an old vehicle, do you really need to have collision coverage which covers damage to your car when your car is hit by another vehicle or objects? Also, it is a good habit to compare between auto insurance quotes by different companies annually. This can be done online within minutes. Why not do it?

Improving your credit score

Many successful people will tell you that that the best way to save money without hurting your lifestyle will be to improve your credit score. This is very true and improving your credit score is arguably one of the most important tips you can follow. Every loan you take, whether it is a home loan, car loan or even credit cards and auto insurance, the interest rate all depends on your credit score. By improving and maintaining a good credit score, you will save yourself quite a small fortune which can easily reach to tens of thousands of dollars.

Invest on the cheap

It doesn’t matter if you are a passive investor who invests only in mutual funds or whether you invest on active stocks and options, there are many ways you can consider to save your hard-earned cash. If you are investing in mutual funds, only invest in funds that have reasonably low expense ratios. The rule of thumb is to make sure the weighted average expense ratio for all mutual funds stays under 50 basis points which is 0.50 percent. When compared to funds that fee charges are over 1 percent annually, you’ll notice that the savings can be substantial in a long run. As for active trading, it is recommended that you stick with brokers that charge $10 per trade or less.

Save on your internet, cable and phone bills

In this age of technology, it is a necessity to stay connected. This does not come cheap and paying for internet, cable and phone services is undoubtedly one of the biggest monthly expenses for most households. The majority of providers today often offer discounts when you bundle together all three of these services together in what is called a triple play. This way you will also get the convenience of a single bill every month.

Pay as you go

Consider switching over to prepaid services for your cellphone. While this option is not for everybody, you can save a small fortune with prepaid cell phone plans. There are prepaid cell phone plans that charge only just $0.10 a minute. Do your research and get yourself the best rates. Also, since they are prepaid, there is no need to commit yourself to long-term contracts and be tied down for years to come.

Get cash back on your credit cards

If you have a good credit score, there are many credit card providers which offer cashback solutions that can pay up to 5 percent on purchases. Forget about loyalty points, get cashback for your purchases. To maximize your savings, use the card for monthly bills and everyday expenses which you would have to pay for anyway. Do not charge items that you do not need. For monthly bills that can be paid by credit card, put in an instruction for auto-debit standing instructions. It is vital for you NOT to forget to pay the credit card bills on time every month to avoid late charges.

Jenny Corteza blogs for Better Price Paid and regularly writes about money-saving tips. She delights in finding change underneath her sofa as it pleases her no end. When she’s not helping people save money and avoid bad debts, she can be found laughing at viral cat videos and trying to recreate her own kitty memes with her temperamental Manx, Elvis.

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Balancing Your Income Between Your Needs and Wants http://under30ceo.com/balancing-income-needs-wants/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=balancing-income-needs-wants http://under30ceo.com/balancing-income-needs-wants/#comments Mon, 17 Feb 2014 16:00:17 +0000 Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/?p=37947 The best time to start saving is while you’re still young. You still have plenty of time to make mistakes and the luxury of time to fix them, along with some bad spending habits you might’ve developed over the years. You also have more opportunity to consider a ton of options involving money early on […]

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Want-Need

The best time to start saving is while you’re still young. You still have plenty of time to make mistakes and the luxury of time to fix them, along with some bad spending habits you might’ve developed over the years. You also have more opportunity to consider a ton of options involving money early on in life.

However, just as there are opportunities, so are there plenty of distractions that could make it difficult for you to save up. Before you make any more brash decisions or mistakes, it’s best to assess your spending habits.

First off, let’s classify the different types of Wants and Needs.

Wants

These are the pretty, eye-catching, and more often than not—expensive things you’d like to buy every moment of every day, if you could. You don’t really need these but if you want to show off signs of your social status or enjoy the momentary convenience they offer. Among these are:

  • Designer clothes, bags, and shoes
  • Luxury cars
  • Latest gadgets
  • Coffee
  • Taxi fares
  • Eating out
  • Shopping
  • Things you usually want to buy once you see them

Prioritizing your wants may give you instant gratification, but that’s about it. It drains a huge chunk of money out of your savings fund—all for a product or service that won’t benefit you in the long term.

Needs

These items aren’t as exciting or attractive to you and often refer to items that are hard to save up for. People often take some of these for granted:

  • Emergency fund
  • College tuition
  • Retirement fund
  • Credit card debt
  • Things you put off saving for or paying

As you can see, it’s easier to make a list for wants than needs. The list may be short, but these items take a whole lot longer to save for. However, being able to save or spend for these things will definitely make you worry-free once they’re taken care of.

How do you start, for real?

Honestly speaking, it’s easy to “prioritize” because it’s all talk. However, walking the talk is the real challenge. This article could go on and on about why putting your needs first is the best thing option to go for. If you really want to push through with what’s important to you, here’s what you do.

1)      You DECIDE.

I don’t know how you’ll manage to convince yourself to WANT to save, but this is the starting point of your savings career. Draw a line here and stand by it.

2)      Make it a CAREER.

Consider it an art you’ve to master. You need to start from the bottom, and make your way up the ladder of success. It’s not easy, but you’ll get there somehow.

3)      REDEFINE success and happiness.

Being able to buy all your wants and suffering the consequences of those purchases isn’t what success is all about. Those material things won’t ever make you happy—not for too long, at least.

4)      SHARE the burden.

Get your family in on it. Tell your friends to help you out. Feeling accountable to other people might help you make better financial decisions knowing they have their eyes on you.

5)      Don’t CUT, practice PRUNING.

Going cold turkey seems like it’s more practical, more efficient. Sadly, tough love isn’t going to cut it sometimes. Instead of making drastic changes in your habits, make little adjustments. Walk instead of taking the cab. Start buying in the market instead of going to the grocery store. Live below your means. To do this, you need to:

6)      Do the MATH.

If you’re allergic to doing math, the more you need to do it. Start computing how much you spend monthly. Let the numbers disgust you. Let the numbers frighten you. See how much you actually waste away on nothing. Then, you should:

7)      Learn to SAY NO.

You’re used to giving in to your every whim every single time. If there’s something that needs tough love, it’s your conviction. Unless you’re the prince or a princess of a certain business empire, you’re not allowed to splurge on clothes, food, shoes, or watches. You don’t have that luxury.

8)      Use TIME to your advantage.

Don’t hate how long it takes to save money. Instead, research on the best interest rates banks have to offer in a savings account and put your money there. This will surely benefit you in the long run.

Like any new experience, saving money takes some getting used to. Once you get the hang of picking your needs over your wants, however, rest assured that your future can only be safe, sound, and secure from hereon.

Ryan Del Villar is a writer and online marketing specialist at Money Max, Philippines’ leading online comparison portal. Ryan is also a freelance writer at Helm Word, an Online Reputation Management company. He worked as an online video editor before he started his writing career.

Image Credit: www.farewellstranger.com

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Home Renovation Nightmares and Lessons You Can Learn From http://under30ceo.com/home-renovation-nightmares-lessons-can-learn/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=home-renovation-nightmares-lessons-can-learn http://under30ceo.com/home-renovation-nightmares-lessons-can-learn/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 17:00:00 +0000 GuestAuthor http://under30ceo.com/?p=37914 A home renovation is one of the riskiest financial ventures that most people will get involved in and there is a lot of potential for things to go wrong. When things go right during a renovation you will beautify and modernise your home in a cost efficient way, but when things go wrong it can […]

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home renovation

A home renovation is one of the riskiest financial ventures that most people will get involved in and there is a lot of potential for things to go wrong. When things go right during a renovation you will beautify and modernise your home in a cost efficient way, but when things go wrong it can cost you an unbelievable amount of money, time, stress and headaches.

So what are the most common nightmares that occur when homeowners undergo a large renovation project? Here are some examples of home renovation headaches and what you can learn from them:

Hiring Cheap Non-Professionals

Sometimes a home owner, in an attempt to save money on their renovation, will hire a non-professional who offers to do the work at a cheaper price. However, cutting corners in this way doesn’t usually work out in the long run. Think about it – the contractor can probably charge a cheap rate because they have unlicensed or inept workers or because they are scrimping on their materials. Too often, these non-professionals will short change the client by delivering poorly executed and incomplete work.  You might save money new, but it will cause you big problems in the future.

Usually, they will not have set out a written contract, so the home owner can’t really do anything about it. The lesson learned? Always hire a professional and complete a written contract.

When Sub-Contractors Let You Down

In some cases, when you hire a contractor they will hire sub-contractors to do some of the work. However, when the sub-contractor provides you with shoddy workmanship, the contractor will fail to hold them accountable. This means that you will be stuck with dealing with the problem and the extra cost of fixing the problem. Before you hire a contractor who will be sub-contracting the work out – clarify what happens if the sub-contractor’s work isn’t up to standard.

Misjudging Your Renovation Costs

One of the most common nightmares that happens during a home renovation is when your costs start to slowly creep up well beyond your original budget. Perhaps when you rip away the walls, you start to notice that your home needs all new wiring or that you need to reinforce the structure of the walls – a cost that you never anticipated.

Remember, there is always a chance that these renovation problems will manifest when you start working on your home – so you should expect from the beginning that your original budget won’t be enough. Always add at least 10-20% percent extra for unexpected surprises.

Reducing Your Home Equity too Much when Refinancing

Many home owners decide that their best option is to take out a home equity loan on their mortgage in order to fund the renovation. (visit NPBS to learn more about this option). While this can be a smart financial move, it’s important to do it properly.

Before the real estate bubble burst some home owners were refinancing their home based on property values that were overinflated and didn’t last. This meant that they took all the value away from their home when they refinanced then found that the investment didn’t pay back when they tried to sell later when property values were down. If you are planning to use your home equity to fund your renovations, make sure that you work with the professionals and do it the right way.

These are just a few examples of how home renovations can go very wrong and cause a lot of stress and turmoil – so try to refrain from making the same mistakes when you are fixing up your home.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

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5 Ways to Save Money You Don’t Realize You’re Spending http://under30ceo.com/5-ways-save-money-dont-realize-youre-spending/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-ways-save-money-dont-realize-youre-spending http://under30ceo.com/5-ways-save-money-dont-realize-youre-spending/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 16:00:54 +0000 Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/?p=37569 We all spend money.  There are basic life necessities and discretionary items we buy on a regular basis.  Because spending money is as easy as swiping a credit card, it becomes even easier to spend unconsciously.  Some of our financial commitments are auto debited, so we don’t even actively pay the bill on a monthly […]

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Save Money

We all spend money.  There are basic life necessities and discretionary items we buy on a regular basis.  Because spending money is as easy as swiping a credit card, it becomes even easier to spend unconsciously.  Some of our financial commitments are auto debited, so we don’t even actively pay the bill on a monthly basis.  Check out these five ways to save money on expenses you may not realize you can save money on:

Evaluate Your Auto Insurance

If you own a car and are paying auto insurance, you may be missing out on an opportunity to save money on your payments.  Examine your auto insurance policy to find savings opportunities in your existing plan or look for alternative policies to use.   Consider whether or not you really need collision coverage, or lowering your premiums by raising your deductible.  Not sure how to do that?  Fortunately, services exist to make our lives easier!  For example, with CoverHound you can quickly compare instant auto insurance quotes from top providers and they offer savings opportunities through bundling other insurance, like renters or homeowners.  One CoverHound user is saving $800 a year on her auto insurance!

If you own a car, but do not drive much, you may want to consider “pay as you go” car insurance, which provides coverage based on how much you drive.  When you drive less, you’re less likely to get in an accident, and companies like MetroMile will pass those savings back t you through their per mile car insurance.  This option is ideal for people who drive less than 10,000 miles per year and can reduce rates by 20% or more!

Refinance Your Student Loans

You’ve graduated, but you may still have student loans to pay.  And if you’re like most people with student loans, you’re paying more interest than you should to multiple loan servicers.  In general it’s a good idea to pay off your debt, including mortgage and credit, quickly, and student loans are unique in that they are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  They stick with you for life, so make sure you are getting the best rate you can.  Social Finance (SoFi) is the only lender that refinances both private and federal student loans for university/college graduates.  And with no origination fees, current variable rates as low as 2.94% APR with AutoPay, and fixed rates as low as 4.99% APR with AutoPay, SoFi offers a compelling refinancing option to save borrowers up to $26,700!

As a full disclaimer, I work for SoFi.  I also refinanced my student loans with SoFi and am saving thousands of dollars! 

Bundle Your Internet, Cable, and Phone

Most times it is cheaper to bundle all three, even if you don’t use all of them.  Double check with your cable/internet provider to make sure you’re not paying more than you need!  My housemate and I recently got internet installed at our apartment and it ended up being cheaper per month for us to get cable as well.  Even though we didn’t need cable, we wanted the savings!  Plus, it will be nice to catch new episodes of New Girl, or our alma mater’s football games!

Get Free Shipping

The additional few dollars spent on shipping can add up, especially if you are regularly ordering various household needs online (and if you aren’t, try it, it’s so easy, convenient, and cheap – if you’re not paying shipping!)  To save on shipping use Amazon Prime.  With Amazon Prime you get free two-day shipping on numerous items.  And if that’s not enough, you also can stream movies and TV episodes and download kindle books!  Amazon Prime costs $79 per year, but rumor is out that Prime may soon be much less.  Check out how much you’re spending on shipping and figure out if spending the $79 is still less than you’re spending on shipping in a year!

Buy Work Snacks in Bulk

If your company doesn’t provide an endless supply of snacks to munch on during the day, you may be regularly buying coffee drinks and granola bars to get you through the day.  Even though they’re small transactions, those micro-spending habits add up!  Think about it, $4 for each latte, every day, is $20 per week, close to $1,000 per year on lattes!  It’s a similar story for granola bars.  If you buy snacks in bulk, either from a store like Costco, or online with your new Amazon Prime membership, you can save a few dollars here and there, which will add up if you’re a daily snacker!

What other ways have you saved money on expenses you didn’t realize you could save money on?

Mary is an entrepreneur, having been through the trenches, starting, building, and consulting for companies since age fourteen. She is a Director of Business Development at Social Finance (SoFi) and the founder or Iorio’s. Previously she worked in early stage venture capital and learned what venture capitalists really look for and the skills necessary to be a venture backed entrepreneur. In addition to her entrepreneurial ventures, Mary trained at The Second City and improvises through group jams, comedy writing, and Improv 4 Entrepreneurs workshops. Read more from Mary at her blog, Venture Gal.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

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10 Tips on How to Save Money in College http://under30ceo.com/10-tips-save-money-college/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=10-tips-save-money-college http://under30ceo.com/10-tips-save-money-college/#comments Sun, 26 Jan 2014 20:00:59 +0000 Under30CEO http://under30ceo.com/?p=37231   Among all other attributes associated to college, one thing is for sure: college is extravagantly expansive, even when all types of financial aid are taken into consideration. Balancing the tight class schedule is difficult enough for students, which is why they usually don’t like thinking about balancing a check book on top of everything. […]

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Save Money In College 

Among all other attributes associated to college, one thing is for sure: college is extravagantly expansive, even when all types of financial aid are taken into consideration. Balancing the tight class schedule is difficult enough for students, which is why they usually don’t like thinking about balancing a check book on top of everything.

Every aspect of college studies (entertainment, supplies, transportation, food, textbooks… you name it) costs money. Avoiding budgeting won’t get you anywhere, so you better start thinking about some easy ways to save money and follow our 10 tips that will teach you how to get through college without the constant feeling of panic that you could go broke any minute.

1. Visit second-hand bookstores to get your textbooks

If you never liked spending money on books, you must have been thrilled after the first encounter with textbooks – sometimes they can be ridiculously expensive, without any lab material included. It doesn’t mean that you have to starve in order to study, so we suggest walking around the campus area to look for used bookstores. This will bring you great savings, and the books usually come in great condition.

2. Choose a proper meal plan

Student meal plans depend on location, the quality of food, how often and how much you usually eat, and many other factors. If you choose wisely, a meal plan can keep you satisfied and save you a lot of money. However, you have to make an evaluation and see whether or not a certain meal plan is worth the money before you agree to it. Ask for a brochure and talk to some of your friends who have already paid for meal plans. If they have complaints, it might be better to start planning your eating budget on your own and choose healthier, cheaper alternatives.

3. Spending money on gas is out of the question

Driving a car is considered a luxury while in college. You will have to spend a large percentage of your monthly budget on gas, tickets, and parking passes. To avoid that, you should start using the subway or bus transportation and use your student ID to ride for free. If you study in the area without a reliable public transportation system, you can always turn to your bike or walk to class. If staying fit doesn’t motivate you, the saved money surely will.

4. Organize yourself

College expenses can seem like a real hassle, which is why you should keep track on how you spend your money and save the receipts. This will keep you on track and you will gain consciousness about your spending habits. When you see where your money went at the end of the month, you will realize how unnecessary spending is making great troubles for you, and you will slowly learn how to stay away from such activities.

5. A student checking account is a good idea

Many banks offer free savings and checking accounts for students, so you should explore your opportunities and use them. It doesn’t matter that banks make you scared – they can help you avoid withdrawal fees and give you other benefits that will save you money. We suggest you to choose a bank that enables online banking as an option, since that will make it easier for you to follow your money activities.

6. Get a student job

If you can find the time and energy for a part-time job and fit that activity into your class schedule, you should definitely go for it. Instead of being a burden to your parents, you can start earning your own money – that will make you more serious and responsible. The restaurants in college towns are always looking for employees, so you can try your luck there. You can also work at the college library, or apply for any other on-campus jobs your school offers.

7. Don’t spend much money on leisure

Having fun doesn’t have to cost a lot. Your college campus probably offers different opportunities, such as park hangouts, arts centers, movie theaters, cheap cafes and bars, and so on. You can involve your friends and plan a great picnic in the park, organize a book club, invite your date for a dinner or movie instead of going to a bar or expensive restaurant, go for long walks and get some fresh air instead of spending your free days in crowded cafes, and think of other alternatives that don’t cost money.

8. Be responsible with apartment expenses

If dorms weren’t cool enough for you and you insisted on apartment living, you have to be even more careful with your expenses. You will probably need to live with few roommates and split the rent. Check if the apartment complex provides accessories for tenants, such as a microwave, washer and dryer, refrigerator, or something else. Ask your friends or parents to give you some house appliances they are not using. Be careful with electricity and turn off the lights whenever you don’t need them.

9. Be careful with cell phone expenses

We’re not saying that you should ditch your cell phone, but you should definitely choose an affordable plan that will fit into your budget. You can apply for a family cell phone plan and use it together with your parents. Text messaging adds up to the monthly cell phone bills, so you should avoid it as much as possible. You can always send e-mails or Facebook messages instead of texts.

10. Scholarships are your savior

Don’t give up the research on different types of scholarships and financial aid available at your school. There are limitless scholarship opportunities, so it’s not that difficult to get one if you try hard with your studies and keep applying.

Robert Morris is freelance writer from essay writing service Ninjaessays.com. Loves writing tips and tricks for students. He is interested in improving his writing and learning through technology. Follow Ninjaessays on Twitter!

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At What Age Should You Start Contributing To Your 401K? http://under30ceo.com/age-start-contributing-401k/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=age-start-contributing-401k http://under30ceo.com/age-start-contributing-401k/#comments Sun, 29 Dec 2013 16:00:33 +0000 GuestAuthor http://under30ceo.com/?p=37351 No matter which country you live in, planning for retirement is essential. When you live in the US, that means making plans for your 401k. However, the following guidelines are helpful no matter where you live (with a few adjustments, of course). So, when should you start making contributions to your retirement fund? How much […]

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401k

No matter which country you live in, planning for retirement is essential. When you live in the US, that means making plans for your 401k. However, the following guidelines are helpful no matter where you live (with a few adjustments, of course). So, when should you start making contributions to your retirement fund?

How much do you need?

When you’re young, retirement is conveniently far away. You think it’s something to put in a box and not worry about until you’re old. Not so. The earlier you start planning for your retirement, the less of a struggle it will be as you get older. But how do you start planning?

The first step is to work out how much you will need when you retire. This can be tricky when you’re in your twenties or thirties, however, think about when you want to retire, and how long you will need your retirement funds to last. Try using a retirement calculator to help with this. You can learn more about planning for your own retirement by clicking here.

What other debts do you have?

It’s also a good idea to look at your current debt situation before you start putting funds away for your retirement. It’s generally recommended that if your employer matches 401k contributions, make sure you put in enough to get that match, even if you are in debt.

Next, look at the kind of debt you have. If you have credit card debt or loans with interest in the double digits, pay that off before putting more money towards your retirement.

Why should you contribute?

Nowadays, we are all responsible for our own retirement. It’s unfortunate, but we cannot just rely on employer contribution and government funds (such as Social Security) when we retire. This is why it’s important to plan for your retirement and make extra contributions when possible.

Putting extra into your retirement throughout your life will not only boost your total retirement fund, but it will also help to boost your annual return through the years (higher amounts in your retirement fund can grow faster than smaller amounts).

Work out a ratio

To make saving easier, it can help to work out a save/spend ratio. There are a number of recommended ratios out there, but in the end, you should really only choose one that works for you. This will depend on how much you make, how much you owe, and how much you can afford to save.

Some people recommend a save/spend ratio of 50/50, however this can be difficult to achieve, especially when you have responsibilities such as a mortgage and kids. A ratio of 25/75 may be easier, but even if you only manage 10/90, it’s better than nothing, and can improved on later.

Divvying up your savings

Once you’ve worked out how much you can save, it’s time to work out where to put those savings. A good priority could be:

  • Contribute to a 401k up to the employer match cap.
  • Build up your personal savings so you have an emergency fund of six months’ living expenses.
  • Max out an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
  • Max out your company 401k.
  • Invest any remaining savings in an investment that works for you.

If you’re not based in the US, check out the best ways to make the most of your retirement. It can be a good idea to speak to a retirement or tax professional, as they will be able to advise you on your best course of action.

Will I be able to access my money?

Putting away extra money in your retirement fund will usually mean it’s locked away, and penalties will apply if you want to withdraw it. This is a great way to avoid spending those funds on unnecessary purchases, however, before you invest, make sure you don’t need it.

Image Credit: http://www.fortiphi.com/

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Going International: 5 Tips for Meeting KYC Requirements http://under30ceo.com/going-international-5-tips-meeting-kyc-requirements/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=going-international-5-tips-meeting-kyc-requirements http://under30ceo.com/going-international-5-tips-meeting-kyc-requirements/#comments Sat, 28 Dec 2013 18:00:01 +0000 GuestAuthor http://under30ceo.com/?p=37151 Since the implementation of Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations, international business has been forever changed. Governments, banks, and businesses must comply with tightened security measures to combat money laundering, identity theft, and possible terrorist funding. Navigating different nations’ specific requirements can be tricky, but doing so will enable your business to expand. Here are five […]

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international business

Since the implementation of Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations, international business has been forever changed. Governments, banks, and businesses must comply with tightened security measures to combat money laundering, identity theft, and possible terrorist funding.

Navigating different nations’ specific requirements can be tricky, but doing so will enable your business to expand. Here are five ways to manage the process:

1. Know Your World

For many industries, following KYC regulations is not optional. Banks, markets, and financial institutions unfortunately become prime targets for fraudulent organizations. Your business could unknowingly support illegal and violent parties without following the appropriate KYC requirements.

Within the United States, these regulations were supported by the Patriot Act of 2001 and made mandatory for all banks by October 2002. These regulations were made more stringent with the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.

The Reserve Bank of India introduced KYC guidelines to all its banks in 2002. Several other nations, including South Africa and New Zealand, have instituted KYC guidelines. However, no set of completely consistent guidelines exists across borders yet. Each nation can institute different practices and procedures to ensure legal activity.

Today, more businesses are seeking global opportunities. Giant multinationals, as well as home-based services, strive for international markets. Within this framework, it’s vital to identify potential threats and valuable resources. Research your intended markets thoroughly to make sure your practices comply with existing guidelines.

2. Use Available Resources

Your most significant resources are available databases that allow you to verify client information instantly via electronic means. They can provide convenient and secure service to your business and potential clients.

Many businesses limit their operations to nations where databases are readily available. While this practice aids expediency, it could also limit your customer base to select markets. In addition, technology and access costs can mount quickly, depending on your potential target markets.

Old-fashioned methods can also be used to verify data, such as phoning or writing to clients. Hybrid mail services enable verification letters to be mailed globally from international locations so they reach clients quickly. Several financial services organizations meet KYC requirements by incorporating these non-digital verification systems.

3. Build Relationships

Working with regulatory agencies can be complex and challenging. Building healthy, productive relationships with these governmental bodies is essential — these agencies have the power to halt your trades and even shut down your business. Governments do not, however, dictate exactly how you operate. The ruling guidelines can — and do — change as circumstances change.

Government compliance teams should continually work with these institutions to maintain secure and successful commerce. Remember that overnight answers might not be possible, but long-term relationships can be forged with these regulatory agencies. Governments naturally want to encourage commerce in a secure and effective manner.

4. Create Solutions

Think creatively to meet your KYC requirements. Online databases and automated verification programs can certainly ease the way, but you might have to seek other solutions. Common alternative verification approaches include phone calls, certified documentation, and activation codes sent to customers’ residences to confirm applicants reside at their given addresses. These avenues may be the most feasible — depending on the size of your operation — and modern hybrid mail solutions and automated calling options can result in faster response rates than were previously possible for businesses with global client bases.

Keep in mind that criminals are continually able to find new ways to circumvent digital security programs to further complicate KYC matters. In light of evolving criminal activity, due diligence obligations are frequently updated and altered.

5. Personalize the Customer Experience

Staying ahead of the game and establishing viable means of compliance is critical. However, a creative and possibly “antiquated” approach could actually improve your connection to clients or customers.

Businesses constantly work to improve customer satisfaction and service to retain lifelong connections and referrals. In an era when many customers feel distanced or disgruntled by strictly digital, automated interactions, taking the time to connect on a personal level can work to your advantage.

Something as simple as a personalized letter, email, or welcome survey can work to fulfill KYC requirements, as well as provide you with important information to tailor your service. With this perspective, KYC is not a burdensome regulation to complete — it’s a chance to raise your customer knowledge and support to the next level.

The convenience and immediacy of digital business are, regrettably, balanced by criminals looking for profitable opportunities. KYC rules help provide protection from these elements. By raising your awareness of current regulations, working with government agencies to create solutions, and embracing customer service, you can grow your business in international markets.

Peter C. Harris is the founder and managing director of QiQ. Following a move to Australia in 2001, Peter recognized the potential for an affordable mail service that combined traditional mail with the speed of the Internet. This led to the development of the business’s first hybrid mailing solution, L-Mail.com, and more recently, Docsaway. These solutions are frequently used by businesses wishing to meet KYC requirements. You can reach out to Petter on Google+.

Image Credit: www.captivate.com 

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