Hiring a Real Estate Agent – How to Get More Bang for Your Buck

What is an estate agent?

An Estate agent works independently or with an agency. They specialise in the sales and letting of a property. These may be residential or commercial properties and land. They negotiate on behalf of their clients.

They study the property – its size, location, condition, etc., then compare it with the commensurate properties in the area and value it. Then they pitch them to a prospective tenant or buyer to get the best price for the client.

How to search them

Inquire with your friends, family and acquaintances to get a personal recommendation. Or expand your search by consulting the yellow pages offline and online. A real estate agent should have a license and register with the local authorities as they deal in a costly commodity, i.e., someone’s property.

They should have the prescribed education and training (covering sales, customer service and public relations) besides a good knowledge of local property market. The education qualifies them to conduct a full survey and valuation of properties. They should also have a good network to know which properties are on the market to show you the best options.

What do estate agents do?

They facilitate the complete process from the time the property goes on the market till it is sold or rented. They are involved in every step of the way as they liaison with clients to market the properties. They try to maximise the sale or rent for the landlord while getting the best for the tenant.

 

They visit the landlords and value their properties. Then draw up a list of commensurate properties as a part of their database. They handle the enquiries from potential clients and promote sales by producing brochures, reports, etc. They arrange the appointments for viewing these properties and share the feedback.

 

These feedbacks are used to negotiate the price or rent of the property. They usually have an in-house lawyer who manages the sale, mortgage or lease license for the said property. Besides handling the disposal and acquisition of properties and concerned documentation the estate agent may also handle auction sales.

 

To get the most out of your estate agent

Study your requirement and pen it down. Find yourself an estate agent and tell if you want to buy, sell or rent property. If you want to sell or rent out – invite the estate agent to value your property. Consider the suggestions they make to enhance the sale or letting. Inform them of the kind of people you would like to sell or let out to – such as companies or individuals. State your expectation and their commission.

 

If you are looking to buy a property or a tenancy, share the requirements list and your price range or budget. Go over their database, discuss the pros and cons of these properties. Then shortlist them to view them with the agent. Consider their opinion but make your own observations and decisions.

 

Last but not the least, after you have sold or selected the property to rent discuss the legal details and payment procedure. If you have rented, then the landlords accept monthly direct debits or cheques against a deposit and leave license. In both the cases, the agent earns a commission from both the parties.

 

About the Author:

Elena is a lover-of books, mom, and a resident content writer at Luxury Villas Malta. When she’s not hiking and traveling, she works as an educator, where she gets to share her love for great books and writing with her students and fellow teachers.

What Is the Dax 30 Index?

The DAX 30 Index is one of the most significant indices in Germany. Also known as the Deutscher Aktienindex, it consists of stocks in 30 leading German blue-chip companies traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The CFD broker UFX allows you to trade a variety of asset classes, including currencies, ETFs, stocks, and commodities, as well as indices like the DAX 30. When trading indices online, it’s important to stay updated on the market performance of a wide range of assets, particularly the individual stocks listed on those indices, because price changes can affect their overall strength or weakness.

 

The top 5 companies listed on the DAX 30 are Bayer, BASF, Siemens, SAP, and Allianz. Together, they make up over 43% of the index’s value. When opening a position on the DAX, smart traders keep a close eye on the performance of these companies, as well as the strength of the relevant industrial sectors, such as pharmaceuticals in the case of Bayer, and chemicals for BASF.

 

The base date for the DAX is 30th December 1987 and it was started from a base value of 1,000. The DAX is a “capitalisation-weighted” index or a “market value-weighted index,” which means its component stocks are measured according to their total market capitalisation. In other words, the more important stocks account for a larger part of the total value of the index.

 

For a company to be included in the DAX, it must be listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. As stated on the Deutsche Böerse website, “The Prime Standard is a segment of the Regulated Market with additional admission follow-up duties. The admission conditions and the individual follow-up duties are set out in the Exchange Rules for FWB® the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.” Among the admission criteria are requirements that the company possess an approved security prospectus, a reported history of over 3 years, floating of shares valued at a total of at least €1.25 million, a total of at least 10,000 shares to trade and a free-float of at least 25% of the total issue.

 

The DAX tends to react to news, political events, and economic changes, particularly European-based. Because of this, it’s important for traders to stay up to date on news and the economy. Brokers like UFX help keep their clients informed in real time.

11 Step Guide for Financial Freedom

Most people dream of attaining financial freedom but only a few turn it into reality. If you want to become financially successful, there are few actions that must be on your to-do list for sure: prioritize your debts, Seek options for additional income and part ways of friendship & business.

A famous quote on financial freedom:  A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what-ifs of life.”

Furthermore, we share with you the 11 step finance planning guide which will pave the way towards your financial freedom.  These steps can give you a ray of hope, to begin with, your journey towards attaining financial freedom.

 

Step 1: Have you set your financial goals? If not, then start now.

One of the essential steps in the process of attaining financial freedom is to set your financial goals. Setting your own goals depends on the things you wish to do or possess in life.  Before you start listing your life goals, pen down how much you have in your bank account. This will give you a clear picture of how much you need to save more and the time to achieve those goals.

Step 2:  Look for opportunities to fetch additional income       

If you wish you become a self-made millionaire, then never rely on a singular source of income. Being smart is all about looking for various opportunities to fetch additional income. To fulfill the extra demands, you need to create multiple revenue streams. Jot down the alternate things you wish to do in life apart from your regular job.

Sometimes hobbies can be a source of extra income. If you are passionate about photography or painting, then look for ways to use the spare time to pursue your passion and get money as well.

 Step 3: Set your budget

A budget is a key factor for becoming financially successful. You need to set a budget for everything starting from your monthly bills, shopping, entertainment etc. It will help you to manage your finances and give a clear insight of unnecessary expenses as well.  You can set a monthly routine to check your dues, savings and expenses. Your budget will help to cut-off the unwanted expenses and save more money.

Step 4: Opt for automatic savings

Most people opt for automatic savings without even realizing its benefits. Auto savings option helps in stacking a fixed amount in your savings account every month. You can enroll in your employer’s retirement plan and get the benefits. Keep options of automatic withdrawal as well, if you need money for any emergency purpose.

Step 5: Make clearing your debts a priority

Debt is the biggest hurdle in your journey towards financial freedom. So, make it your first priority to clear-off debts.  Debt is like cancer which grows exponentially with time and becomes your most expensive liability. Once you get your paycheck, set a rule to clear-off the debts.  This will help you in becoming debt-free and clear the path towards attaining financial freedom.

Step 6: Pay off your credit card in full

If you don’t keep a track of the credit card dues, you might end up in huge trouble.  Set a reminder to pay off the full amount of credit card every month, once you get your paycheck. It is better to use credit cards only in case of emergency instead opt for debit cards or cash. This will save you from paying the unwanted interest amount in case of late payment.

Step 7: Never waste time

It is well said: “Time and tides wait for none.”  Try to use your time for maximum productivity. Time is an essential factor that determines success. Invest your time in setting up priorities, life goals, more saving ideas and sources of alternate income.  Relaxation is equally important but utilizing time efficiently is the key to success.

Step 8: Don’t hesitate to negotiate
Most of us hesitate when it comes to negotiating for price, be it any commodity or service. You might be surprised to know that “Negotiation is an art”. If you sport it well, you can save more dollars every year. Most SME’s are open to negotiation, and it’s no harm in trying your luck when you can save more.

Step 9: Stay updated with market trends

Keep yourself updated with the changes in tax laws to get the maximum benefit.  Update your investment portfolio with the market trends for news on stocks and exchanges.

Step 10: Proper maintenance, fewer expenses

Proper maintenance of commodities increases its life span; be it a car, a house or anything. This reduces the unwanted expenses that might occur due to repairing or poor maintenance.

Step 11: Health is wealth

Money is essential but health is everything. Taking care of your health can help you save more. How?

  • No sick leaves
  • No insurance premium
  • Work till retirement & even more.

It is well said: “If money is lost, something is lost. But if health is lost, everything is lost.”

 

In the journey of attaining financial freedom, it is also important to balance your mental peace. Hope this 11 step guide will give you an insight of how to manage money to become financially successful.

 

Jenni is a personal finance blogger who loves to write & educate people about personal finance, money management and frugality. Visit here personal finance blog and share your thoughts.

Canada Remains A Top Destination for Capital Flows

In 2018, Canada will assume the presidency of the G-7. This is a prestigious honor which is bestowed upon countries that are economic and political beacons of hope for the world. The Canadian economy is rapidly emerging from a 90s death spiral that saw sharp contractions taking place. Now, Canada is a symbol of prosperity, hope and economic opportunity for the world at large. The current growth rate in Canada is on par for the fastest GDP growth rate in 6 years.

 

Heading into 2017, Canada surpassed 0.6% growth in January, according to Statistics Canada. Economists were anticipating a growth rate of 0.3%. The global financial crisis had a detrimental impact on the Canadian economy, largely due to the heavy reliance of the economy on commodities like crude oil. At the start of 2017, leading economists were anticipating an economic growth rate in the region of 3.5% – 4% – an unprecedented increase for this North American powerhouse. The Canadian economy has been a robust performer in terms of jobs creation and economic opportunities.

The dramatic oil price collapse of recent years was devastating for the Canadian economy, notably the loonie which found little comfort in international currency markets. According to StatsCan strong growth has been reported in the natural gas and oil sectors, and this is increasing month on month.

The Bank of Canada has taken all of this in its stride; talk of an interest rate hike remains on the back burner while the economy is gathering momentum. Currently, the interest rate in Canada is 0.5%, among the lowest of the developed economies, and on par with that of the United Kingdom. This is good news for investors and consumers who can take full advantage of low interest rates with financing, business loans and personal credit facilities.

Canadian Prosperity

The current inflation rate in Canada is 1.6%, and the unemployment rate is marginally higher than the US rate at 6.5%, but declining. This paints a picture of an economy on the mend. Added to that are important business metrics. The Canadian business confidence level is currently 53.8 (any figure above 50 is expansionary and bullish), and Manufacturing PMI is 55.1.

The current consumer confidence level is also positive at 52.32, and growing. Canadian GDP was measured at $1.55280 trillion in 2015, this is substantially more than the GDP of countries like Mexico and Australia. In terms of GDP per capita, Canada ranks highly at $43,248.53 (2015 figures). As such, Canada remains one of the most lucrative countries for global investors.

Capital flows have been pouring into Canada at a rate of knots. Various reputable money transfer services have reported a sharp uptick in international investment in Canada, thanks largely to the myriad of opportunities now available in the economy. Foremost among them are widespread changes in automation. This disruptive technology is set to revolutionize the Canadian manufacturing industry, and global investors are cashing in in the nascent stages.  

A paradigm shift in employment is taking shape in Maple country, and a massive transfer of money to Canada from abroad is now evident. The growth of money transfer industries has been unprecedented in recent years, and all of these companies are targeting Canada and its vast investment potential. Investors are getting significantly more bang for their buck by using non-bank services for their money transfers.

Favorable Exchange Rates

In 2016, it is estimated that some C$30 billion was transferred out of Canada, with C$1 billion going largely to banks in fees and commissions. These extortionary profits have precipitated the rapid rise of non-bank money transfer services in Canada. The traditional bricks and mortar banks and financial institutions were put on notice with the advent of these money transfer services, and now fees are coming down across the board. The inefficiencies that currently exist in the regulated banking environment have acted as a disincentive to investment and money transfer to and from Canada.

 

Nonetheless, Canadians have embraced the many options available to them for global investments, and foreigners are taking advantage to purchase real estate, established businesses and cash in on Canada’s vast natural resource wealth. Transferwise’s exchange rate estimator makes it easy for Canadians and foreigners to estimate precisely how much they can expect from their money transfers.

 

Since there are no fees on the actual transfer, these bank-beating rates are among the lowest in the world. This means that more personal or business funds are available for investment purposes, or personal money transfers. This creates an equitable platform for everyone operating within the financial system.

What is a Stock?

A stock represents ownership in the assets and earnings of a company. A company issues stock through equity financing, which is the process of selling an ownership interest, or a “stock”, to raise funds for business purposes. This is what differentiates a stock from a bond: bonds are raised through debt financing, in which a company promises money in return for investment. Stocks give one a share in a company’s profits, while bonds are essentially interest on a loan. Additionally, stocks give owners one vote per share to elect company board members, whereas bonds do not give owners the right to vote.

Types of Stock

The two main types of stock are common and preferred. Like the name states, common stocks are the most popular type of stock and contain all the features described in the last section. In contrast, preferred stock provides a fixed dividend. In the case of liquidation, preferred stockowners are paid off first. However, since preferred stocks don’t contain the risks of common stock, they also don’t have the potential for high yields. With their fixed dividends, preferred stocks are similar to bonds.

Common stock can also be divided into classes such as Class A and Class B. The most common reason for doing so is because the company wants voting power to remain within a certain group. For example, Class A may have more voting rights than Class B.

Why Buy a Stock?

People buy stocks for capital gains. Presently, bank accounts and bonds pay out low interest rates. This is why people turn to stocks for income. Stocks are also bought to diversify investments. For example, if someone has a lot of real estate, they may seek to balance this with the purchase of stocks. The same is true if one has money in art, antiques, etc.

How to Make Money on a Stock

The main way to make money on a stock is through appreciation, which is a fancy term for the old maxim: “buy low and sell high.” For example, you buy a stock at $100 and hold onto it until it sells for $200.

Another way to make money on a stock is through dividends, which are additional cash and stock payouts that do not reflect the stock’s overall value. For example, a company may issue a 5% stock dividend, which grants stockholders 5% more stock than they already own.  However, not every stock grants dividends. Just because a company has issued dividends in the past does not mean it will do so in the future.

Types of Investors

Before you invest in stock you must decide what type of investor you are going to be. The traditional type of investor is long-term, or a buy-and-hold type. Before buying a company’s stock these people take a careful look at the company and ask themselves: what is this company’s plan, how will it earn money, how long will this continue and what are the risks? The buy-and-hold investor pays special attention to a company’s management team. All companies encounter problems, and great companies have managers who can solve these problems.

Other people invest in stocks simply to short them. This means that the investor sells borrowed stocks, and hopes that the price will decline so he can buy it back at a lower price. An example of shorting a stock is selling a borrowed stock at 20, and buying it back at 10.

Skilled investors also purchase stocks in the short-term. For example, there are hedge fund owners who buy stocks at opening, ride them up, and sell them by the end of the day. To emphasize, this is something that only skilled investors should practice.

When deciding what type of investor you will be, please keep in mind that Warren Buffet, the most successful investor of our era, buys stocks for the long-term. His ideal holding period is forever.

How to Analyze a Stock

The simplest way to analyze a stock is through its balance sheet. The left side of a balance sheet contains assets, and the right side contains liabilities. The way to calculate a company’s net worth is to subtract its liabilities from its assets. Although net worth is usually positive, occasionally even well-regarded companies such as Clorox Wipes displays negative net worth. For example, Clorox Wipes has solid assets and earns money for its stock holders but has shown negative net worth in the past due to heavy borrowing and depreciated assets.

One can also analyze a company through income statements and cash-flow statements. An income statement shows how much money a company is earning, while a cash-flow statement shows how much money a company is receiving.

Although it is important to analyze a company before buying its stock, one should also keep in mind that stocks trade based on perception. If people think a stock is doing well they will buy it, and if they think a stock is doing badly they will sell it.

How to Buy a Stock

The most common way to buy a stock is through a broker. All you have to do is tell your broker which stock to buy, and how many shares. The broker will then execute the trade on your behalf, and receive a commission. An alternative is to go online and execute the trades yourself and pay a lower commission.  You can check out a great review on online brokers for Canada and the USA here.

A stock may be purchased at “market order” or “limit order.” Market order allows you to buy the stock at its current price while limited order allows you to wait until the price has reached a certain threshold.

This concludes our short guide to stocks. We hope you use the information and tips contained in this article for prudent and profitable investing. If you are looking for a more in depth guide, Stocktrades provides a great article on how to buy stocks in Canada.

BIO:
Stocktrades provides stock,personal finance and investing information to beginning and intermediate investors. Started by Dan Kent and Dylan Callaghan in 2016, they aim to bring solid investment solutions to your desktop. You can check them out at http://www.stocktrades.ca

Originoption: Technical Analysis and Binary Options

Want to make money trading binary options? The first step is to find a reputable and regulated binary options broker like Originoption. Originoption is based in Australia, regulated by the Australian Securities and Exchange Commission (ASIC) and even offers all clients free demo accounts so you can practice and refine your binary options trading strategy.

Technical analysis is the science (or art!) of studying charts of market prices and using historical data to attempt to determine where the market is likely to move next. In this piece we will take a look at some popular forms of technical analysis that can be applied to binary options markets in order to turn a profit.

The trend is your friend

Trend following is a time honoured and proven technical analysis strategy popular in the forex and stock markets. Traditional ‘buy and hold’ trend following strategies can’t be applied to binary options due to the short term, binary nature of the contracts, but binary traders can still gain a significant edge by trading in the direction of the trend.

The first step is to identify the direction of the trend:

  • An up, or ‘bull’ trend, is characterized by a series of higher lows and higher highs
  • A down, or ‘bear’ trend is characterized by a series of lower lows and lower highs

Once you have identified the trend, the aim is to look for trading opportunities in the direction of the trend. In a bull trend you will be looking for buying, or ‘Higher’ opportunities, and in a bear trend you will be looking for selling, or ‘Lower’ opportunities. You could look to trade a breakout, or continuation of the trend, or another option is waiting for a resumption of the trend after a structural correction.

Candlestick patterns

Candlestick charts were developed centuries ago in Japan and came to dominate western charts in the mid 20th century. Candlestick charts are far superior to a simple line chart as they show you all the information you need to analyze a particular market: the high, low, open and close (line charts only display the closing price). Candlesticks aren’t just a great way of displaying market data though, a savvy binary options trader can use what’s known as candlestick patterns to predict markets.

A candlestick pattern is a distinctive candlestick, or series of candlesticks, that usually leads to a reversal or continuation of the market trend. Reversal patterns are likely the more popular of the two as they help the trader adhere to the age-old adage of ‘buy low and sell high’. There are far too many candlestick patterns to list here but we will name a few of the more popular ones that all traders should familiarize themselves with:

  • Bullish Engulfing – A bullish reversal candle that occurs at the end of a downtrend, closing above the open of the final bearish candle.
  • Bearish Engulfing – A bearish reversal candle that occurs at the end of an uptrend, closing below the open of the final bullish candle.
  • Bullish Hammer – A bullish reversal candle that occurs at the end of a downtrend. A new low is set initially, but the candle eventually closes slightly above or below the open, leaving a small body and long lower wick that resembles an upright hammer.
  • Shooting Star – A bearish reversal candle that occurs at the end of an uptrend. A new high is set initially, but the candle eventually closes slightly above or below the open, leaving a small body and long upper wick.

Candlestick patterns are extremely popular amongst Originoption traders as they can be very reliable for predicting the next market move.

Chart patterns

Chart patterns are another popular method of technical analysis used by Originoption traders. Where a candlestick pattern is usually only comprised of 1-3 candles, a chart pattern is comprised of a multitude of different candles, which together, form a larger pattern. Just like candlestick patterns, chart patterns are very reliable and can signal both trend reversal and continuation.

The most widely recognized and reliable reversal pattern is the Head and Shoulders bearish reversal pattern. This pattern appears at the end of an uptrend and is characterized by a series of three highs, with the middle being the largest, vaguely resembling a human’s head and shoulders. The trader enters short on a break below the ‘neckline’, the line connecting the two shoulders.

Another related pattern is the Inverse Head and Shoulders, which is the same pattern but flipped upside down and which occurs at the end of a down trend. Once again, the trade signal occurs on a break above the neckline.

If you’d like to know more about candlestick and chart patterns, be sure to check out Bulkowski’s thepatternsite.com which has pictures and performance statistics for each and every chart and candle pattern.

This was just a quick introduction to technical analysis in binary options, as you can see there are many different approaches which suit different people and different strategies. It’s also worth noting that these approaches aren’t necessarily used in isolation and are often welded together by the most successful traders. Want to get started? Come over to Originoption today and hone your analysis and trading skills on a free demo account!

How to Get a Month Ahead on Little Income

We know trying to get ahead when you do not make a ton of money can be difficult each month. You want to save, but also want to have money to do what you want to do. What are the steps that you can take to live the life you want?

Here are four steps you can take that will get you ahead on your monthly bills, and offer you some savings in the meantime.

  1. Take account and budget

One of the best ways to getting a month ahead on little income is to create a budget that you can actually stick to. Take an accounting of all of your monthly bills that need to be paid. Rent or mortgage, credit cards, cell phone, utilities, and any other bills you get on a monthly basis. Determine how much all of this costs.

As a tip for getting ahead, you will want to take a close look at all of these bills. Is there anything you can cut? Is there anything you can get reduced or switch to a cheaper option? There are a lot of competitors out there for various industries. Make sure you are getting exactly what you need, and not more. No one wants to pay for what they do not use!

Once you have this solid number of bills, you will want to subtract that number from your net income. The rest is what you have to work with on a monthly basis. From there, you can determine your budget.

Image source: Pixabay

  1. The biggest money percentage

Did you know, besides rent and mortgages, your food budget is usually your biggest expense for the month? Going out to eat, even fast food counters; add up to more than going food shopping every week. The key here is to plan. If you can plan every meal, even do all of your cooking on Sunday if possible, then you can save money and get ahead. Cooking together as a family is fun, there is no need to spend money on restaurants.

The rest of your budget can go towards other household items needed, like paper towels and laundry detergent. But look for other options as well. There are many recipes for cleaners that are cheaper to make than the pre-bottles stuff, and just as if not more effective.

  1. You can still have fun

There is a way to plan into your budget a night out once a month since going out all the time takes away the special feeling off it. Plan a great weekend night out and set a budget for it at the beginning of the month. Also look into free events, live flea markets and museums that can be a great time without spending a lot of money.

  1. Individual investor programme benefits

Employing these tips here can help you get ahead on your monthly bills, but you will want to create savings as well. Avoid the costs of commissions by investing in an individual investor programme. These individual investor programme benefits can help you get ahead with your investing, and save you money for the long term. These programmes offer benefits including unbiased, actionable investment education. With these types of programmes, you will learn how to invest your individual assets, whether your goal is retirement, choosing winning stocks, or finding the best mutual funds, the benefits of these types of programmes is endless.

You do not want to pay for someone else to do the work you can do yourself. You make the decisions about investing your hard earned money with individual investor programme benefits.

Conclusion:

If you want to get ahead on your monthly bills with little income, just follow these tips to start, and figure out a budget that is right for you. With your saved money, invest it to earn more, but do so in a way where you get the most benefit out of it with individual investor programme benefits.

About the Author:

Elena is a Finance Content Executive at http://www.maltasothebysrealty.com/.  She is a passionate blogger and an avid traveler. Outside of work she helps young adults get a better understanding of how they can stay out of financial troubles.

How to invest in your passion

Passion is an integral ingredient of success, so turning a passion into an investment is as rational a pursuit as it is emotional. Those who can hone their strategies with as much skill as Rodin once honed marble tend to enjoy financial benefits, too. Photographer, Brassai said, “One must have the courage of one’s vocation and the courage to make a living from one’s vocation.” The fun will automatically follow. Whether purpose is found in the arts or corporate finance, entrepreneurship or gaming, there are techniques that will attract returns.

Where Collecting and Asset Building Unite

Collecting won’t turn a profit tidy enough to retire on, but hobbyists who are passionate about the pursuit will gain enough entertainment value to make the mediocre financial returns well worthwhile. Forbes calls collectibles an ‘emotional asset’ in that the time investment is significant and the general return is equal to what one might make from a savings account. Inflation-adjusted returns over a century generate about 6.4% across a huge array of collectibles, which is significantly lower than the returns on equities.

Collecting requires knowledge, and the internet makes that easy to acquire. The savviest way to handle collecting is to buy before an item has value and sell it once that piece has enough years behind it to deliver significant returns on auction. Alternatively, prowl auction sites to build complete collections that sell for far more than each individual part does. Anything from clocks and glassware to art and toys can gain enough value to become an investment. Gifted buyers might even discover the instrument of a legendary musician or a vintage motorcycle. Auctions are the purest market because they operate per basic supply and demand. Navigating them profitably entails buying when demand is low and selling when it rises.

Career Investing

A stock performs the same regardless of how the investor lives, but invest in the right career path, and the returns can be magnified exponentially through hours of hard work. An elite degree can earn $900, 000 over 20 years, and a wisely chosen field will produce the kind of returns money can’t buy. Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Even so, research is required to remove risk. Choose institutions that deliver the highest returns and use sites like PayScale to make sure that chosen career path will pay in the long-term.

Source: Pixabay

Gaming the System

They say life can’t all be fun and games, but learn to play poker like a pro, and the probabilities are your financial outlook might get a lot brighter. Whether the hobbyist’s idea of fun is learning a few strategies to keep the mind sharp or truly anteing up at a poker table, there are three ways to monetize this kind of career:

  • Brands will sponsor gamers who’ve already built a name for themselves.
  • Gamers with a gift for entrepreneurship and public relations can brand themselves as weblebrities or well-known personas.
  • Partnering with teams that already have established marketing campaigns lets gamers leverage the brand power of others.

It’s also possible to bolster this investment further by running workshops, monetized blogs, and YouTube courses. The basic principles of turning games into an investment apply across sporting, strategic table games, and even video games.

Source: Pixabay

Entrepreneurship

Starting a business in a field you love can be a superb investment or a nightmarish one depending on how impressive your entrepreneurship skills are. Bill Gates crashed so badly in the Nineties that his product was eventually given away free of charge. Determination is often all that separates failure from success. Business owners who bury themselves beneath their own failure never get far enough to open a company as legendary as Microsoft.

Like any investment, business ownership is romanticized in the minds of laypeople. The same strategies that apply to equities apply here: unrealistic expectations and greed will be an entrepreneur’s downfall if he lets them be. Building wealth is time consuming. Success must be gained one small step at a time rather than overnight. Hard work is required, but an education is just as critical to success. Business management, marketing, and even economics knowledge will add to returns. Those who are disciplined enough can even do free online Oxbridge business courses.

Picasso was pragmatic about his passion. He paid as much attention to the pricing of his art as he did to its composition. That’s why he was one of the few who succeeded in his own lifetime. Crowd funding has only made it easier for hobbyists to invest in their passion. All that’s required is an internet connection and a dream. Angel investors will handle the rest of the initial investment. Once that’s done, all that’s needed is a strategy and a stubborn insistence that dreams can, indeed, come true.

How to Prevent Delays From Destroying Your Business

Any kind of delay can harm your business. Whether the delay involves late product delivery, lack of response from your customer service team, or overdue payments, the end result is the same: loss of revenue. The goal of any business owner is to strategize ways to stop allowing delays to hurt your bottom-line.

Production Delays

All companies want to deliver the best product possible to their customers. However, during production, delays are often inevitable. Although you don’t want to deliver a second-rate product, how do you manage to satisfy customers who have been anxiously awaiting the product’s arrival? The key is to avoid making promises your company can’t keep. Although you might be anxious to introduce a new product or service to the masses, keep things under wraps until you have a firm release date.

If you have experienced delays in the past with the delivery of products and services, take a close look at what went wrong. Learn from past mistakes to avoid them in the future. If you keep clients waiting too long, they may just take their business elsewhere.

Payment Delays

One of the biggest threats to your business is payment delays. Making a sale is a good start, but collecting on that sale is what truly matters to your company’s sales ledgers. Not collecting your payments on time can affect the cash flow for your business. Suppliers, staff members and taxes must still be paid regardless of your payment woes. Worse yet, a business with too many outstanding payments can end up folding under the strain.

Although you should have cash reserves to keep your business afloat, you don’t want late payments to become a consistent headache. Your goal should be to help your customers make their payments easily and on time. One way to achieve this is through the use of faster payments software. Faster payments software paves the way for safe and secure electronic transactions. Instead of waiting weeks for payments, your company will have debts settled the same day. Users have 24/7 access to a cloud-based software program and can make their payments at their convenience. Due to the speed of the programs, companies always have the latest account data.

Project Delays

One of the highest valued qualities for employees is punctuality. Employers want staff members who show up on time and deliver their work within the expected timeframe. Some procrastinators within your company may be hurting your company by consistently missing deadlines and always having an excuse for why their projects are delayed. Although your gut reaction may be to clean house to solve the problem, there are strategies you can use to inspire employees to get their work done on time.

  • Be clear and concise in instructions. Allow the employees to have options, but make sure the options abide by any time constraints.
  • Focus more on the start date, then the end date. Once employees get going, the end is already in sight.
  • Ask employees to seek out feedback frequently. Don’t ask only for the final product. If employees are forced to check in, they will feel more obligated to stay on top of deadlines.
  • Be flexible to a point. Some delays are foreseeable and you may have to be accepting of them.

Customer Service Delays

However you feel about it, there is a common belief that the customer is always right. And customers want timely service. Delays devalue the service you are providing. Scientific research supports this idea. In a 1989 study published in Advances in Consumer Research Volume 16, researchers found that customers’ perception of service was more negative during delays that occurred in the pre-process and post-process phase of a restaurant.

Not all customer problems can be fixed right away. The ideal strategy is to keep them well informed. Let them know the lengths you’re going to as a way to resolve any issues. Receiving a customer email and not responding for days will not inspire customer loyalty. If you receive a high email volume this can be problematic.

In this case, use an email ticketing system to manage responses. This will at least let the customer know his or her email has been received and your team is working on the issue. If any kind of resolution seems far off, shoot off a quick email to let the client know the cause for the delay. Your customer is likely to be much more understanding if they are kept in the loop.

Stay on top of any company delays to reduce financial and help your business thrive.

Are Canadians making Embarrasing Financial Decisions?

 

ispos-survey

According to a recent Ipsos survey commissioned by LowestRates.ca, Canadians are jumping into big financial decisions too quickly.

Canadians, in general, are committed to finding a bargain. But when it comes to the most important personal financial decisions, many are not conducting their due-diligence. The average Canadian, for example, spends less time choosing a mortgage provider than planning a vacation.

I found these survey results of the personal financial habits of Canadians, pertaining specifically to major decisions, like choosing a mortgage provider, very interesting!

It is interesting comparing how much time we spend thinking of vacation destinations and paint colours versus shopping for a good mortgage rate or insurance premium!

It’s hard to fault people for allotting more time to more enjoyable tasks in life. Part of the fun of vacationing is the planning. It’s something people like to do. Selecting a paint colour isn’t necessarily fun in the same way, but it is a decision that impacts people in a tangible manner, on a daily basis.

Whereas premiums and monthly payments might make us cringe they are something we only face once a month (or less), and oftentimes the action required to make those payments is automated. The paint in our bedroom is something we see everyday, which in that sense, certainly makes choosing one we like looking at seem like a monumental decision.

But of course this perception is skewed to favour immediate, visible gratification. Choosing a mortgage provider or auto insurer may be strenuous, boring or even painful, and the results of that decision are not quickly obvious, yet still, the actual impact of choosing one mortgage provider over the other will have a far greater impact than saving a $100 on a flight. And it goes without saying that the money saved by choosing the most cost-efficient mortgage provider puts the money in your pocket to indulge a little more with travel or home decor. The irony!

Here is a link to the official survey results.

Canadian personal finance website in simple terms from a Canadian perspective. Focusing on savings, investing, budgeting, taxes, and more. Includes Investing, Loans, RRSP, RESP, Credit Cards, Money Savings, Tax Savings, Retirement, Real Estate.