Paying Off Debts – The Easy Way

Paying Off Debts – The Easy Way

Being in debt can be a real burden. It can make you feel as if you do not have any options with regards to money and you may just want to be free of it. There are actually some simple ways to pay off debt and it is worth understanding what they are.

  • Use Savings: Firstly if you have any savings take a look at how much interest you are getting on them and compare them to what you are paying on the debt. It is most likely that you are making less on your savings than you are paying on your debts. If this is the case then simply use the savings to pay off some or all of the debt.
  • Earn More Money: Of course, not everyone has any savings or enough to pay off the whole of their debts and so another means needs to be used. It can be worth seeing whether you can earn more money so that you can use that to pay off the debt. The easiest way to do this is to ask for a pay rise or see whether it is possible for you to work more hours. You could even change jobs so that you are doing one that earns more money. Another way to make some money is to sell things that you have. You may be able to sell clothes that no longer fit or are no longer worn. You may have other items as well that you could sell such as games and toys, books, CD’s, DVD’s and other possessions. There are auction websites out there where you can make quite a bit of money from selling this sort of thing.
    A more radical approach is to start your own business. You could do this in your spare time      and keep your job, so that you guarantee your income but you will have to check with your employer first to make sure that it is okay.
  • Spend Less Money: Another way to free up more money is to reduce the amount that you are spending. You will need to find out where your money is going in order to do this. Write down everything that you spend money on and see whether there are any places that you can cut down your spending. You may find that you can see some obvious ways to reduce spending on items that are not necessary, but there may be other ways that you can cut down as well. You may be able to reduce your utility bills by using a different company. If you have a mortgage you may be able to move to a cheaper lender. You may be able to buy food at a cheaper supermarket. You may be able to use the car less and save on fuel.
  • Reduce Debt Costs: It is also worth seeing whether you can reduce the cost of your debts. Look at them all and see whether you can move a loan to a new lender or move a credit debt to a 0% card. There could be things you could do to reduce the cost. It is also wise to note how much each is costing you and make sure that you start to pay the most expensive one back first. This could save you a significant amount of money.

About Author:

Keith writes on legal aspects of selling and buying annuities or settlements. His motivation, JG Wentworth company is the best company for structured payments.

The 5 Worst Employers To Work For In 2013

You might agree with Mark Twain that “Work is something that is best avoided”. For most of us, choosing to not work isn’t a viable option. However that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and avoid working for terrible employers. Below you will learn about the companies who have been selected as the worst to work for by their employees. Take a job with one of these companies at your own peril.

Here are the top ten worst employers of 2013

#1 Toys R Us

Toys R Us might be a delightful place for children but that’s not the case for its employees. The company has a history of treating its workers badly. In 2009 the company paid $100,000 in penalties and restitutions to its employees because of failure to pay earned vacation time. Job security at Toys R Us isn’t great either. When the company was taken over by Bain Capital roughly 2,250 employees were fired. With some of the lowest pay rates in the industry, this is one company to avoid.

#2 GameStop

Video game retailer GameStop is a perfect example of how changing technology and market pressures can make an employees life very unpleasant indeed. With 6,650 stores worldwide, this company is finding it difficult to make the retail numbers work. Increasingly customers are downloading games directly from the internet. This means that staff are under pressure to hard sell any customer that enters the store. Gone are the days of offering friendly advice about the latest and best games. These days it is all about making your sales numbers.

#3 United Airlines

United Airlines has been crowned “The worst airline in America”. Customers frequently complain about poor customer service, lost baggage and delays. The evidence certainly supports those complaints, in the year to September in 2012, the on time arrival rate was a meagre 77.75%. Again it is the employees that experience the worst of this anger. Many of the problems at the company have been caused by the merger between United Airlines and Continental Airlines in 2010. The company is still struggling to integrate the two companies. Employees having to come to grips with new systems face additional pressures.

#4 Hertz Global

The rental car industry was already highly competitive, but new entrants such as ZipCar have made it even more so. Hertz is the second largest car rental business in the world and operates in 145 countries. While the company is profitable the competitive pressures mean that this isn’t a great business to work for. Employees of Hertz, say the upper management is out of touch with the realities of running a car rental business day to day. That means targets that those lower down the food chain find very difficult to meet.

#5 RadioShack

RadioShack is another retailer who is experiencing technological change. It’s over 34,000 employees, complain that the company over works them and doesn’t pay enough. Specifically the commission structure of the company was criticized. Sales targets are very difficult to meet because they require that the employee achieves a complex series of metrics. The sales focus of RadioShack means that many customers are also disgruntled. Unfortunately it is the front line staff who feel the brunt of this displeasure.

Nils is a passionate blogger and works as a marketing consultant specialising in employer branding.

What Shareholders Must Know About The Capital Gains Tax

Many stockholders don’t understand how the IRS charges taxes on equity investments. Some people think that the IRS charges a tax on profits that you have made on any shares of stock that you owned during the year. That is a common misconception. The IRS charges taxes on dividends that you received and any profits that you made on shares of stock that you have actually sold. The latter is known as a capital gains tax.

What Should you Know About the Capital Gains Tax?

Every investor who makes a profit after selling a share of stock must report the proceeds to the IRS at the end of the year. Here are some of the factors that you need to keep in mind when dealing with capital gains.

The Entire Capital Gains Tax is Reported in the Year of the Sale

You may have purchased a share of stock in 2010 and sold it in 2012. The value of the stock may have increased by $10 during 2011 and another $10 in 2012. You will pay the $20 tax that you accrued during 2012.

Capital Gains Taxes Vary Depending on the Time you Held the Investment

The IRS charges a different tax rate for long and short-term investments. Any investment held over a year is going to be considered long-term. You may want to hold an investment a little longer if you are planning to sell it after holding it for a year. That would mean that you would only need to pay a lower tax rate.

The IRS states that you don’t have to pay a long-term capital gains tax at all if you are in the 10-15% tax bracket. You will only need to pay 15% on your returns if you are in the 25% tax bracket.

Of course, you don’t want to hold your stocks longer if you fear that they will be dropping and won’t recover in the long-term. You should always be more focused on making a profit on your investments than reducing your taxes.

Remember to Write Off Capital Losses

The IRS allows you to deduct any losses that you incurred after selling your stocks. Make sure that you don’t forget to do so. Substantial losses could even place you in a lower tax bracket and reduce the rest of your income tax.

Some financial advisors suggest that you sell some of your stocks at a loss at the end of the year to offset some of your gains during tax season.  I don’t think this is usually practical advice, but it may be a good idea if you are skeptical that the stock will recover at all. You may want to cut your losses and write them off if your other capital gains place you in a higher tax bracket.

Capital gains taxes can consume a large chunk of your profits. You should do everything that you can to reduce your taxes as much as possible. The best way to do so is to hold your stocks for over a year so the IRS will classify them as long-term investments.

 

About the Author: Kalen holds an MBA in finance from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He currently works as a financial writer where he talks about the benefits of pursuing an llm in tax management.

The Ultimate Debt Checklist

If you want to clear your debts this year but are drowning in a sea of store card or credit card debt, the ultimate debt checklist can help you to clear your debts quicker.

1. Facts and Figures

The first step to clearing your debts is to acknowledge them. Begin the process by creating a list of the debts you want to clear starting with the largest amounts. Note down all of the crucial information for example interest rates and minimum payments. Once you have created a list and know which cards should take priority it’s time to ask yourself a few home truths.

2. Take Action

So you know that you are struggling to make your monthly payments but do you know why? In order to take action against debt, it is essential that you know exactly how much money goes out of your account each month and what goes in. You could be in debt for a number of reasons but this will help you identify where changes need to be made. Are you currently spending more than you earn? Living beyond your means is one of the main reasons that debt can mount up and is often one of the hardest habits to break. However, there are a number of ways in which you can cut back, freeing up more money to pay off your debts.

3. Cut Back

Once you know how much debt you are dealing with, it is time to highlight possible areas that you could potentially cut back on. Go through your current direct debits and decide if each one is absolutely necessary. Do you really need that magazine subscription or the gym membership that is burning a hole in your pocket each month? You can save hundreds simply by revaluating your digital TV costs, energy and phone providers.

4. Get More for your Money

When reviewing your finances, this is also a great opportunity to make sure that you are getting the most for your money. Now is the time to make sure you haven’t overpaid tax or paid too much in bank charges.

5. Sell Sell Sell

Do you have old clothes in your wardrobe that you no longer wear? Do you have an old mobile phone lying around? There are many online sites that make it easy to sell your possessions online for cash. In most cases all you will need is the internet and a PayPal account.

6. Tackle Debt Head On

Cutting costs can help you on your journey to become debt free but tackling debt head on will make the biggest difference. If you’ve tried everything but you are still struggling to pay off your debts, seek help from the professionals. A debt specialist will tailor a debt management plan to suit your specific needs and take the pressure off. If you would like to find out how you could become debt free in 2013, Sanlam Private Investments and debt management services can help you take the next step.

Things You Should Know About Legal Document Translation

Legal document translation is a very intense job. You cannot afford to work with a freelance translator for such complex work. That’s because a translated legal document has to go through the grind of proofing, re-checking and perfecting and standing up in a court of law, and these are factors that many freelancers cannot deliver. So, while you may be able to hire a freelancer at a lower cost, there’s no guarantee that he will deliver perfect output.

Translating legal documents is a very tough job. Every nation drafts its law based on its culture and other local factors. Translating legal documents needs mastery of the language and the lingo. Working with a general translation service or a non-legal translator will get you inaccurate output, which could damage your business and your reputation. This is why you must work with a service that specializes in legal translation, hires native translators who understand law, and above all, hires professionals who are certified and experienced.

You may think that translated legal documents are required only in courts and that the numbers required may not be significant. However, you must know that the world is fast becoming a smaller place and companies are setting up offices around the world. People are migrating, marrying into different cultures, and setting up families in different parts of the world. Invariably, legal problems crop up in a business’s and individual’s life and that is why legal translation assumes tremendous significance.

You must note that if you want your translated document to be valid in a foreign land, then it must be certified by a “sworn translator.” A sworn translator is a professional who has been empowered by his country to execute a sworn translated document and such documents are legally valid in the translator’s country. Note that this differs from a certified translation – a certified translation refers to a document that is translated by an accredited professional. A certified document may not be legally valid in a foreign land. Legal translation services can provide output that carries the local court’s seal. Every page is sealed and signed by the sworn translator to make up a legally-binding document.

There are many documents that must be legally valid in a foreign land – for example, birth certificate, identity proof, patent certificate, corporate legal documents, etc.

So, if you want a legally-binding document, go with “sworn translation,” and if not, work with a translator who knows the language, culture, law and the lingo. In either case, work with a legal document translation service that is reputed and experienced.

James K. Huntley is a blogger and legal aid who specializes in document coordination.

Fundamental Trading Rules

The secret behind the success of many stock investors is application of fundamental trading rules in their dealings. These are basic principles that every stocks investor should possess to have make viable decisions when trading. Note that this kind of trading requires skills and knowledge of how it works and what affects it. These skills are acquired when you familiarize yourself with the fundamental and basic trading rules. Failure to know this result to total failure since guess work strategy does not work at all. This article highlights some of these rules and how they are applied to make your investment viable and profitable in the long run.

2 Basic Strategies: 

Stock investment generally involves trading of shares and securities of different companies. There are two basic strategies that are used by the investors in this market.

A.  Buy & Sell

There is buy and sell strategy where the investor relies on favorable price fluctuation of stocks. ‘

B. Buy & Hold

Another one is buy and hold strategy where the investors buy the traders with an aim of gaining from dividends. These are returns given to shareholders at the close of every financial year. These two strategies involve financial risks which should be calculated before you enter into the market.

Ways to Minimize Your Risks: 

There are several methods that one can use to minimize the risks and maximize the opportunities in this sensitive investment. There are four fundamental aspects that should be considered when investing in stock market. These are earning of each share, the share price to its earning ratio, the current price of the share to its par value ratio and the current dividend yield. When these four variables are analyzed, you will be able to know whether the specific shares are worth investing or not. By doing this, you will be able to acquire simple analysis skills which provide the basis for each trading you make.

Stock Market Supply & Demand Game: 

There are other guidelines that help stocks traders especially the beginners in maximizing the opportunities and minimizing the risks. It is essential to note that stock market exists to make money and this is a reality to those who observe fundamental trading rules. Like any other market, prices are determined by the forces of demand and supply. This helps one to know when to buy and when to sell with an aim of making profit. The investor should also avoid the temptation of buying the risky stocks especially when returns are low. This is done with an assumption that the yield will be higher in future. This should always be avoided in stock trading.

Long Term VS Short Term Investing: 

These basic rules are essential for new entrants in the market. Most of them may not have adequate information on how to start. There are two methods that are used by most investors. There are long term and short term investment. Long term investment applies to those who look at the growth and prospects of the stock market. Short term looks at the current value of the stocks with an aim of making quick returns out of the investment. New investors in the market are advised to look at the future growth of the market and the company you are investing in. This is part of the fundamental trading rules in stock market.

* stock trading always has risks, so seek a financial advisor to help you fully prepare before investing into the market.

About Guest Post Author:

Nate trades stock as a hobby and is a freelancer writer for The Complete Lawyer. A community site filled with related legal news and share-able articles.

UK Work Pensions Know Your Rights

Workplace pensions have been getting more mention than they have in a long time, thanks to the implementation of the new Workplace Pension Scheme.

The new scheme began last autumn and automatically enrolled millions of people into a workplace pension. Essentially, the scheme ensures that a percentage of your salary will go towards the pension scheme, which in turn means you are saving for your own retirement.

Enrolment

The enrolment began on October 1st 2012 and though millions joined, not everyone did straight away, while some won’t at all.

Those over the age of 22, earning over £8,105 will have joined the scheme if they are in employment but not paying a pension. However, those employed by companies with fewer than 120,000 employees will not join initially and will do so at a later date. This will occur between now and 2018 depending on your employer and the business at hand.

How Much

Initially, around 1% of the pre-tax salary you earn will be placed in the pension scheme – this is taken out before wages are given. Employers then match the amount, though this is taken from them and not from your pay. By the time the scheme reaches fruition in 2018, you will pay 5% of your wage, while your employer will also add 8% into the scheme.

Those who are already in work pension schemes will not be enrolled, though if you pay less than 2% you may need to pay more to meet the minimum threshold by 2012. This may be a matter for your HR department, so ask them.

The money is invested in a pool with thousands of other people’s contributions across a wide range of stocks and shares. In time this will be narrowed down and there will be a number of different strategies to invest in. This may mean you are covered to retire early in the case of sickness or accident at work claims.

Charges

Like all pension funds you will have to pay to invest in the NEST pension scheme, and the present charge is 0.3%, though an additional charge of 1.8% is charged annually for the launch of the scheme, though this will be dropped in time – no date is yet set.

You can also opt out of the scheme if you like, though it is advised that you consider your options before doing so. Nest is there to help you save for retirement and with dwindling government pensions, it might be better to have an alternative option instead.

Pension schemes are increasingly a necessity, though have their place and should certainly be considered.

Cormac Reynolds has written a variety of articles on finance and insurance for a number of sites.

How To Pay For Grad School In A Bad Economy

A graduate degree can be a great investment for anyone who wants to advance their career. However, some people have trouble coming up with money to pay for graduate school. Paying for graduate school has become increasingly difficult as many schools cut financial aid. Employers such as Boeing are no longer offering tuition assistance to their students. Fortunately, you can still pay for your education if you are willing to take the right steps.

Paying for Graduate School

You don’t need to let high tuition costs deter you from pursuing an advanced degree. Here are some things you can do to make graduate school more affordable.

Look for an Assistantship

Many schools offer a number of assistantship programs that you can take advantage of. You can help a professor grade papers or conduct research. These assistantships are offered at both online and brick-and-mortar schools.

Ask the school what financial incentives they provide. Many schools offer reduced tuition in addition to stipends.

You will need to be proactive if you want to take advantage of these opportunities. Find a faculty member who may need help and talk to them as soon as you are accepted. Teaching and research assistant positions are usually in high demand and there won’t be many left if you hesitate.

Apply Early

You want to make sure that there is going to be plenty of financial aid available when you apply for school. The students who apply early on will typically get much more aid than those who wait until the week before the application deadline. Try to put your application in as early as possible.

Find Out About Scholarships

A number of scholarships are available to graduate students. Research what scholarships are available to you and apply to everything that you are eligible for. Scholarship opportunities tend to go quickly, so you should apply for them long before you commit to attending graduate school.

You may be eligible for graduate scholarships based on:

  • Your undergraduate academic performance
  • The type of school you attended
  • Membership in certain organizations

You should talk to a graduate admissions representative or somebody who is familiar with the program you intend to study. They can give you more information on the types of scholarships that are available to you and offer tips on how to secure them.

Consider a Tuition Waver

Many schools offer tuition waivers to students who are having trouble paying on their own. You can contact the school and explain your circumstances. Schools want to compete for highly qualified graduate students who have proven themselves during their undergraduate careers. Find out if you are eligible for a tuition reduction and take advantage of it.

You Can Afford Graduate School in a Bad Economy

Many people are worried that they can’t afford to attend graduate school in the current economy. At the same time, they realize that attending graduate school may be essential to advancing their careers. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can pay for school if you take the right steps.

About the Author: Kalen is an education writer who talks about different educational opportunities people can take advantage of. He encourages you to click here to learn more about an online dnp degree.

7 Tips On How To Choose An Accountant

Making sure you pick the right accountant is crucial; it’s necessary to carefully consider what you need out of an accountancy service, and whether or not you require a personal accountant, or someone to work for your business. Accountants provide more than just bookkeeping, and can offer expert advice on your tax structure, your VAT, and your future financial planning. In this context, you need to look at a number of factors when choosing the right accountant for your needs.

1 – Evaluate Your Needs

It’s important to know what kind of accountant you need, and the kinds of financial services that you’ll require across a year. In terms of personal accountancy, do you need someone that can help you to complete your tax form, while ensuring that you invest your savings in ways that lower risk and produce long term profits? Alternatively, do you need an accountant that has expertise in one particular area like inheritance tax or off shore accounting? Moreover, in terms of business accounting, how much detail do you need your accountant to go into – will they work with your finances on a day to day basis, or will they just help you to file your tax return at the end of the year?

2 – Assess the The Size of Their Firm

Depending on your needs, it can be better to go with a relatively small firm, which can provide you with more time and a personal service, compared to a larger firm; personal accounting can often be better served with these kinds of firms, while larger businesses that need a lot of different financial areas covered may need to work with a large firm that have different experts on hand to help you. In all cases, though, make sure that a firm and accountants are members of the Association of Chartered Accountants, ICAEW, or CIMA, and that you have the chance to speak to their current clients to get a sense of their performance.

3 – Consider Your Personal Relationship with Them

Your accountant has to be someone that you trust; after all, they’re going to be handling sensitive financial information, and need to be transparent with you when things go wrong. When you first meet a prospective accountant, focus on first impressions, and whether or not they appear to have spent time going over your case. Do they make a convincing case as to whether you should hire them?

4 – Communications

It’s integral for the accountant that you pick to be easy to communicate with – what are the different communication channels that you can use, and can you guarantee that you’ll be able to speak to them directly, or will you have to pass on messages? Is there an email system in place, or some form of instant messaging? Consider where an accountancy firm is based, and whether or not it’ll be practical to get to them at short notice.

5 – Don’t Pay for More Than You Need

You don’t want to be put into a situation where you’re paying an accountant to do jobs that you could probably handle yourself; always get a clear break down of costs, and what kinds of services they’ll be providing. Work out how fees are charged, and whether there’ll be flat monthly fees. Similarly, if you’re hiring a full time accountant, consider how their work will be subject to salaries and bonuses.

6 – Be Prepared to Change

Finding the right accountant is difficult, and there can be situations where you need to end a relationship due to communication breaking down, or due to personality clashes; you may even need to get a new accountant as the result of your business outgrowing their capacity. In any of these cases, there should be enough transparency with your current accountant to allow for a smooth handover to a new firm.

7 – Extra Business Advice

Again, always be thinking about what added value your accountant can provide you with; this can range from the specialist tax advice that they might be able to offer, through to their general commercial awareness of how your business operates. The best accountants will be able to evaluate the long term future of your business, and can explain to you how best to achieve that through day to day financial planning.

This article was contributed by Matthew Broadhurt. He’s currently working on a visibility project with MartinBrook Accountancy Services – providers of professional accountancy services to Suffolk and Ipswich.

Tax, And How To Make It Work For You

Tax, and How to Make it Work for You

With 3 months to go, this is the time to find out if the systems you have in place are working to your full advantage. It’s not the most riveting way to spend an afternoon, but organising your finances now will help avoid penalties later.

Paul Stacey, the tax counsel for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, says

“Those penalties start at 25 per cent of the unpaid tax but can be as high as 75 per cent.”

Looking at all your staff and checking if contractors are really employees will make a huge difference.

The building and construction sector are already annually reporting to the ATO all payments to contractors, but this could well be useful across many businesses.

Fringe Tax Benefits

Car claims can be a nightmare if they’re not dealt with properly. If you have employees who use a car for business purposes, you may decide a company car is warranted, or to reimburse the fuel expenses.

The Fringe Tax Benefits (FBT) system in relation to cars means that your employee can claim for mileage, maintenance and insurance.

Cents Per Mile

The way this is measured is for your employee to:

  1. Determine the distance travelled by the vehicle in question (yearly).
  2. Determine the % of the annual distance travelled for the employee’s private use.
  3. Multiply figures from 1 and 2 to create the annual distance travelled for private purposes.
  4. Estimate the cost per kilometre for a vehicle of the type used. This information can be obtained from the RACV, NRMA, or like motoring organisations
  5. Multiply the annual distance travelled for private purposes by the estimated cost per kilometre. The result is the value of the motor vehicle component of an employee’s remuneration.

Is my Company eligible?

In order to qualify, your company must have the following pre-requisits:

  • Minimum 50% of the vehicle’s total annual mileage must be for your trade/business.
  • The car must have been driven at least 10,000 kms during the year, mostly by employees.
  • A ‘car’ for these purposes can mean:
    • Motor cars, station wagons, panel vans and utilities (excluding panel vans and utilities designed to carry a load of >1 tonne)
    • All other goods-carrying vehicles designed to carry less than one tonne
    • All other passenger-carrying vehicles designed to carry fewer than nine occupants.

One thing is for sure, whether the Car Fringe Benefits relate to your business or not, arranging your tax affairs now will save a lot of hassle further down the line. Find more information on FBT from the Australian Taxation Office and how they affect you, click here.

Hannah Brankin is a passionated editor for car logbook - YourCarLog and often gives very useful advices about car related issues.