The open enrollment period for most companies and for those who buy plans through the Affordable Care Act is about to end. Insurance decisions are particularly challenging for parents. Kids get sick and you never know when your kid will break a bone or have another injury.
If there’s one thing you need to understand as a business owner, it’s your market. If you don’t understand who you’re selling to and why they’re buying then you’re decision making is arbitrary: not guided by anything, it’s simply shot in the dark after shot in the dark and eventually that ends in closed businesses – sooner rather than later.
You’re going to need to learn to listen to your customers, and learn from them just how you can target them most effectively, in your stores, with your products and with your marketing. Working with a market research company will help you out here: they can provide not just the work of surveying customers but expert interpretation that turns that raw data into insights that will drive your business forward! Click through to find out more about working with market research firms.
The first thing you need to look into are your demographics. Who are these people who are shopping with you? Who makes up your market? Learning about the demographics of your market will tell you about the age of your customers, where they’re from, where they get they news, where else they shop and perhaps most importantly, how much money they have to spend!
A handy way to get hold of a demographic breakdown of your market is to pay for a question or two in what’s known as an omnibus survey. This collects questions from dozens of different brands for a relatively low price. It’s not a good way to get deep answers from your customers but it’s a great way to find out who they are! Even if you’ve only got one question in there – to help you pick out relevant customers from the great mass of respondents – you also receive the full demographic dataset! If you can interpret that, you can learn a great deal about your market.
Your brand is one of the most important assets you have, but it’s a complex issue. A brand is your customers’ understand of your business, built from all the different ways they can interact with it. You can’t affect that directly. You can try to influence it with adverts, with sales, with designs, but to make sure all your efforts are having the desired effect you need to check in with your customers.
Brand tracker surveys are a good health check for your brand, and if you keep up the research effort throughout the year, you’ll find you’ll find you can start to predict which choices have good outcomes and which ones bad, so you can optimise your marketing for your market and meet with success just when you need it!
Once you’ve entered into an IVA you’ll be aware that it’s legally binding between you and your creditors for a period of 4-5 years.
Whilst your chosen Insolvency Practitioner will have discussed your long-term intentions and plans things sadly can (and do) go wrong – including not being able to pay.
Your commitment to pay the set monthly amount to your Insolvency Practitioner can occur for a number of reasons, with one of the most popular one being unemployment. Of course, you might not have planned on losing your job (for whatever reason) when you first entered into the IVA but redundancies and job losses are often a sad fact of life.
What should I do if I can’t pay?
The first thing to do is to contact your Insolvency Practitioner and explain the reason why you’ll be unable to meet your monthly payment. By now you should understand what an IVA is and how it works.
If you miss a payment then you’ll probably be sent a ‘notice of breach’. This will ask you why payment hasn’t been made and will ask how you intend to rectify the situation. It’s important to engage with your Insolvency Practitioner as quickly as possible so that you can work together to find a solution.
What if I just don’t pay?
If you fail to pay within a reasonable period of time (usually 2 or 3 months) then your IVA can do one of three things:
- They can change the terms of the IVA. For example they might look to lower the repayments if you’ve explained your current circumstances and reasons for non-payment.
- They can end your IVA and issue a certificate of termination.
- They can apply to the Court to make you bankrupt. This course of action can lead to serious consequences and it’s important you take timely advice if this is looking likely to happen.
Can my Insolvency Practitioner help in any way?
Yes – but only if you get in touch with them straightaway. He or she may be able to give you a payment break for a few months by relying on the IVA Protocol. This is a voluntary code of practice which all practitioners and most creditors have now signed up to. The key aim of the protocol is to ensure that all IVA company’s processes are clear and fair.
If you’re eligible for a payment break then the length of your IVA will simply be extended to cover any payments you might have missed. The length of any payment break will depend on when your IVA was set up. If, for example, it was set up after 1st January 2016 then you’ll be entitled to a maximum period of 9 months.
The most important thing – whatever the reason for non-payment – is to seek advice from your Insolvency Practitioner as soon as possible. Remember, if for any reason your IVA fails (i.e. due to non-payment) then you’ll have to find other means of repaying your creditors and also find the means of repaying your Insolvency Practitioner under the terms of your agreement.
Are you one of the 68 million Americans with a bad credit score? If so, then you probably know that it can be challenging to get a credit card.
If you’ve been wondering, “Can I get a credit card with bad credit?” you’ve come to the right place.
The short answer to this question? Yes. But, you may have to jump through a few extra hoops.
Read on to learn how you can get a credit card even with a less-than-ideal credit score.
How Can I Get a Credit Card with Bad Credit?
When it comes to getting a credit card with a bad credit score, you can employ a lot of the same strategies you would use to get a personal loan with bad credit.
Some of the best approaches to take when trying to get a credit card include:
Look into Bad Credit Credit Cards
There are a few credit cards out there geared specifically toward individuals with bad credit scores.
These cards often have higher interest rates and annual fees. But, they can still be a good option for people who are looking to build up their credit score and can’t get approved for other cards.
In many cases, you can also get the annual fee on these cards waived simply by asking the lender.
Consider a Limited Use Credit Card
Another way to start building credit or improving your credit score is to apply for a limited use credit card from a retail store that you shop at frequently.
Retail stores typically have low credit limits and higher interest rates, so it’s important to keep up with your payments.
They’re still a good option for improving credit, though. And, retail stores can typically be relied upon to approve applicants with lower credit scores.
Use a Secured Credit Card
A secured credit card is a card requires you to pay a security deposit before you can use it. That security deposit is made against the credit limit.
It may not be ideal to have to pay money before you can start using a credit card. But, it’s better than nothing and still provides you with an opportunity to build credit or improve your credit score.
Remember, too, that after a year or so of on-time payments, you can convert your secured credit card to an unsecured credit card.
Avoid Subprime and Prepaid Credit Cards
Some of the credit cards geared toward people with bad credit come from reliable lenders. But, there are also credit cards are not great options for those with bad credit scores.
Subprime credit cards charge high upfront fees before you can use them. These fees take up a large portion of your credit limit.
It’s also a good idea to avoid prepaid credit cards. These cards don’t improve your credit score, so they won’t help your financial situation long-term.
Work with an Online Lender
If you’ve been turned down for a credit card from traditional banks or credit unions, you might want to consider applying for a credit card from an online lender like Bonsai Finance.
Online lenders typically are more flexible when it comes to granting loans to people with bad credit scores. They may also take other factors into account, like your employment history, income, and education level.
Credit Card Mistakes to Avoid
Once you are approved for a credit card, it’s important to be smart when using it. Otherwise, you’re going to rack up additional debt and continue to struggle with bad credit.
So, what does it mean to use your credit card in an intelligent way? Start by avoiding these common credit card mistakes.
Learn Your Credit Card Terms
Many people obtain credit cards and don’t realize what kind of terms they’re agreeing to. It’s important to thoroughly understand the terms of your credit card and pay special attention to the following pieces of information:
- How the company handles late payments
- What is the annual fee (if there is one at all)
- Are there balance transfer fees?
- What is the minimum payment?
Go over the terms of your card once or twice a year to make sure you’re up-to-speed.
Pay the Full Balance Each Month
Some people are under the impression that it’s good to leave a balance on their card each month. In reality, it’s best to pay off your full balance every month.
Leaving a balance on your card increases the amount of interest you pay each month. It can also negatively affect your credit score.
Pay Your Bills on Time
This seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of people have a hard time paying their credit card bill on time each month.
If you forget when the payment is due, set an alarm on your phone or set up automatic payments so that you never have to worry about making them on time.
Read Your Billing Statement
Many people throw their credit card billing statement into the trash without ever looking at it. This is a big mistake.
Read your billing statement each month so that you’re alerted to any changes to your credit card terms.
Keep Your Credit Utilization Low
Finally, remember to keep your credit utilization at or below 30 percent. For example, if you have a $1,000 credit limit, avoid charging more than $300 on your card each month.
If your credit utilization is high, you’re at a greater risk of over-the-limit fees and penalty interest rates.
Take Control of Your Finances Today
You now have a clear answer to the question, “Can I get a credit card with bad credit?”
But, remember that there’s more to managing your finances than just having a credit card. You need to make sure you’re using it appropriately and paying it off in a timely manner.
Keep the money management tips in this article in mind so you can take control of your financial situation once and for all.
Need more financial advice?
Be sure to check out the money and finances section of our site today for more tips and tricks.
One day you’re heading into work, business as usual. The next, you’re receiving notice that your employment is ending. It could be because your company is facing widespread layoffs or restructuring. It may be something more personal to your position or performance. Either way, you’re out of a job.
In the aftermath it may feel like you’re the only person to ever experience such misfortune, but many people have gone through this process and come out the other end stronger. But fewer than half of Americans have an emergency fund, meaning many people find themselves without a cushion after losing their jobs. Not only does it become difficult to keep up with living expenses in this case, but it makes credit card debt even more dire.
The important thing is that you take the time to regroup—which includes making a plan for your finances.
Cut Your Expenses
Budgeting is always important, but it’s especially so when you lose your main source of income. Evaluate your expenditures and identify what’s absolutely essential like food, utilities, rent or mortgage and transportation. Slash all non-essential spending in the meantime. This might mean canceling entertainment subscriptions, cutting out junk food or taking public transportation more. Streamline immediately so you can hold onto as much money as possible.
Get creative. You may even be able to raise the deductible on your insurance policies to save money on your premiums. You may also find you have objects sitting around your home you can sell for extra cash.
Evaluate Your Bills and Debts
It’s daunting, but the next step is sitting down and auditing what you owe. Only then can you prioritize your bills. Here’s an example from one financial planning expert: “It’s better to push off a medical bill than a mortgage payment.” He also advises letting lenders know about your financial situation before you have to start missing payments. This may help you buy time before your debts go to collections.
Tackling Credit Card Debt After a Layoff
The problem with credit card debt in particular is that interest just keeps building… and building. Lines of credit already tend to carry high interest rates, often upwards of 15, 20 or even 25 percent. The longer you wait to address the situation, the more you’ll keep owing.
There are a few options for addressing mounting credit card debt. One option is to simply keep paying the minimum balance to stay afloat. While you’ll do nothing to pay down interest, you’ll avoid late fees and going to collections. While this is not necessarily a sustainable solution, it can serve as a life raft during financial hardship.
If you’re struggling to keep up with credit card payments, another option to explore is debt settlement. Enrollees in a debt relief program make monthly deposits into an account they control based on how much they can afford. Once they’ve saved up a certain amount, negotiators reach out to their creditors and attempt to settle debts for less. Creditors are often willing to negotiate when the alternative is getting no payment at all. While this won’t put an end to collection calls or keep your credit score intact, it may significantly reduce the amount you end up paying—something that can help out in the wake of a layoff.
Before signing up, look what past and present clients have to say about their experience—Freedom Debt Relief reviews show a very high overall satisfaction rating, demonstrating why this company is an industry leader with over $9 billion settled. This company also offers Consolidation Plus for qualified clients, helping them receive a consolidation loan to pay off their outstanding debts.
If you own a home, another option is to refinance your mortgage. You’ll be responsible for paying off more in the long run, but you’ll be able to take out in cash the equity you’ve built up. You can use this cash to pay off your credit card debts and keep up on vital living expenses until your income resumes.
Dealing with credit card debt and living expenses after job loss is primarily a matter of planning and prioritizing.
Soon your kids will have a lengthy holiday break and it will be up to you to keep them occupied. You don’t have to spend a lot of money taking them to see the latest light show or event. Here are some creative and cheap holiday activities for kids to help you keep your kids happy (and keep your sanity) over the holidays.
Most people with bad credit can easily get discouraged when looking for a financing option. That’s because finding a convenient loan when you have bad credit can be a tad more challenging.
Nonetheless, there’s no need to despair, there are still some lenders, such as www.micropaydayloans.com, which offer more lenient terms. Leaving that aside, we’d like to focus on the ways in which you can still obtain financing, in spite of your credit rating, which isn’t the best.
Defining Bad Credit
We hear a lot of talk about good credit and bad credit, but what is, really, the distinction between the two? Each borrower has a credit history, which incorporates details concerning late payments, collection accounts, bankruptcy records, and the list may go on. Usually, these are the aspects that are prone to negatively affect your credit rating.
Since different lenders define bad credit differently, we cannot assign something specific to the bad category. That’s because each lender has a given perception. In fact, your credit might be better than you think it is. You should take the time to verify it before applying for a personal loan, and you’ll know for sure what to expect. And while some problems might still be there, there is still the possibility that some of the listings there are incorrect.
What Options Do You Have in RegardtoBad Credit Personal Loans?
Happily, gone are the days in which there weren’t many options when it came to lending money. In the past, if you didn’t fulfill the lending criteria of a conventional bank, you didn’t get the chance to get financing for your needs. The good thing is that this doesn’t apply anymore.
You have a bunch of options to choose from. So to speak, there are payday loans, installment loans or cash advances.
- Payday loans
In general, payday loans are provided by short-term lenders. Note that this type of financing is created expressly to address unexpected emergency expenses that may arise. To that end, we don’t encourage you to turn to this financing solution on a regular basis. This should constitute an alternative for emergencies only.
At the same time, granted that you don’t manage to repay the sum you borrowed in the form of a payday loan, the interest and penalties are likely to add up, further complicating your financial situation.
- Installment Loans
Moving on, installment loans are also worthy of your attention, as they entail making equal payments over the course of a couple of months. In comparison with payday loans, for instance, the APR is lower. Nonetheless, if we were to compare installment loans with other types of personal loans, the APR would be higher.
To conclude, it’s as simple as this: if a lender’s criteria are more lenient, it implies that the additional fees and interest rates will be higher. This is because the lender must compensate for the added risk one takes when lending money to a risky borrower.
Tis the season to shop and if you have to shop with your kids, you may not be in a jolly mood. Lucky parents can find a babysitter and others have to prepare themselves for the battles that will likely happen in the aisles. But you don’t have to fight with your kids if you establish some ground rules before you get into the car.
Life as a business owner or entrepreneur can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. On the one hand, there are few things more thrilling than running your own company, where you get to choose your own hours and decide how much you want to charge for your products or services. On the other hand, running a business means taking on a lot of stress. Sometimes, you won’t know for sure how much you’re going to earn on any given month.
To help you launch your business with no regrets, we’ve put together some quick things that you need to know before you start running a company. This blog will help to guide you through the first few months in your new venture.
Your Business Plan is Crucial
In today’s fast-paced digital world, a lot of would-be entrepreneurs assume that they can get by without any business whatsoever. After all, business plans take a lot of time and effort, and if you’re keen to jump straight into action, you might assume that you can simply make things up as you go along.
Business plans are useful for a range of reasons. First of all, they ensure that you know exactly what you’re getting into from day one. When you write your business plan, you’ll figure out how much money you need to earn, and how much work you’ll have to do to earn a reasonable income. Additionally, your business plan will also be crucial when you decide to pursue funding from investors and banks.
Passion is Crucial
The best businesses solve a significant problem in the marketplace. If you can design a product or service that other people genuinely need, then you shouldn’t have too much of a hard time selling your product. However, it’s not enough to merely have a great idea. You also need to be passionate about whatever it is you’re going to promote or sell.
While there’s more to a great business than just passion, it’s your commitment to your niche that will help you to keep going when times get tough. Since any business can have its ups and downs, make sure that you’re getting into something that you can genuinely commit to from day one.
Know Where You’re Going to Get Funding
Money is crucial in any business. There’s the cash that you’re going to make from your customers and clients, and then there’s the money that you’re going to need to invest into your organization tog et it up and running. As they say, sometimes you need to spend money to make money.
Unfortunately, unless you’re a very lucky person with a lot of extra cash, the chances are you won’t have enough cash to simply fund your company out of your own pocket. This means that you’re going to need to speak to a bank about getting a loan. Remember, when you’re searching for the right business loan, compare your options online. The lower your APR, the less you’ll have to pay out each month when you have other expenses to deal with.
Be Ready to Get Some Help
Even if you plan on running your business as a one-man band, to begin with, that doesn’t mean that you won’t need help to thrive. Most business owners start off on their own, then hire other people and contractors to fill the gaps in their skillset. One of the most obvious professionals you’re going to need to begin with is an accountant.
Managing the financial and tax-based side of your company can be very difficult, particularly when you don’t have any experience with tax law. An accountant will help to keep your books on track, so you don’t have to worry about explaining mistakes to the IRS when it’s time to send off your tax returns.
Be Prepared for Anything
Finally, as exciting as it can be to run your own business, it’s also a nerve-wracking experience too. You need to go into it preparing for anything – including failure. Remember that things won’t always go according to plan with your company, but if you can stick to your guns and continue working on your strategy, you might be able to pull ahead again.
Sometimes, running a successful business is about knowing how to push forward when the going gets tough. Other times, you might need to understand when it’s time to step back and change your strategy. Be flexible and be ready for anything.
Bringing home your baby from the hospital is a joyous occasion, but it’s also scary, especially for first-time parents. You may be even more scared if your child has health issues. For this reason, many parents turn to baby monitors for help. The Owlet Smart Sock 2 is the most unique type of baby monitor on the market. Created by Kurt Workman, Zack Bomsta, and Jordan Monroe, the Smart Sock is getting rave reviews after just a few years on the market. Is the Owlet worth it? Here’s what you should know.