Category Archives: Budget

All about Insurance – different perspectives involved

Nowadays, it is very much essential to pay insurance for every asset one possesses. Cars, home, life, health and much other insurance are available. The highlighting point is that, though everybody is paying insurance, many of them hardly understand the complete meaning and purpose of insurance. On the other hand, insurance people who deal in selling them to public know how difficult it is to make people buy their policies.

Insurance concept

Different Perspective in purchasing insurance

Of course, people do not trust the car dealer in showing the best car within their budget and advise them on how to spend wisely. They very well know that it is up to them only to find the best car that suits them. Likewise, a real estate agent cannot be relied upon completely by people for showing the best house in the area to buy it. Even a child knows that sales and marketing people will want to dispose their product to the person who got attracted towards it.  But in the case of insurance companies, it is totally a different scenario.  People trust the insurance companies and buy policies to cover their expenses. Of course, there arises a question why and how this is possible.

Promise in return

State mutual Insurance is one among the most popular health insurance policies. These are the companies that accumulate large wealth through selling mutual insurances to their policy holders. Actually, when people pay money to buy a product or a service, they get that product or avail of the service. They can easily realize the conversion and understand the transaction. However, when a person buys an insurance policy, what he gets is just a paper of promise and nothing else. This promise of protection during a loss becomes a great feature when that person avails of the claim. At this particular period when the policy holder utilizes it, the rates are far higher than the amount used for actual purchase.

Beware of insurance when it becomes a waste

However, not all insurance companies are reliable and trustworthy. There are many insurance companies that have proved to be a scam. They run their business only for the purpose of getting more money from the public than necessary and become wealthy in the fast method.

American way of insurance

The cost involved in health insurance of USA stock carriers is a definite one. The policy cannot be assessed. However, this does not include the stock companies. Hence most of the mutual insurance companies are expected to provide non-assessable policies only. The next aspect is the definite contract. The contracts carry the following paragraph:  “The Company is a perpetual mutual corporation owned by and operated for the mutual protection and benefit of its members in accordance with law and in accordance with the charter and bylaws of the company as now in force and as the same may be amended from time to time.”

Hence the policy protection terms may vary from time to time. However, reasonable changes and the by-laws affecting them only can be accepted.

Many Business Owners Forget about the Money They’re Owed

How many times have you bought an item for your business and used cash, personal debit card, personal line-of-credit or personal credit card to make the purchase?  

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Have you ever bought something for business, then thrown out the receipt because it didn’t come from your business account?

Or perhaps you feel that if you buy for your business that you must first transfer funds from your personal account to your business account, then make the purchase from your business account to be an eligible business expense?  Not so.  That just creates a whole lot of steps that lead to frustration.

The Re-occurring Theme of Personal Funds Lost in Business Purchases

This seems to be a re-occurring theme with business owners I meet – using personal funds for their business, but not sure how to account for them. In many cases I’ve seen owners either forget about these expenses which in one case, amounted to about $18,000 in expenses. Holy crap!  If the expense is overlooked, it could mean that without this expense deduction (corporately, in Alberta) you would pay about $2,500 in corporate tax on the income made.  Wow, that’s a mistake you don’t want to make too often, right? In fact, this money from your personal funds is after-tax money, too – and I wasn’t even taking that into consideration.

Let’s de-bunk this process for good and discuss what should happen – in simple terms.  

What Qualifies as a Business Expense?

Let’s first quantify what qualifies as a business expense.  Any expense that is used to further your business purposes qualifies – regardless of how you paid for it.  That means business account, personal debit account, personal credit card, personal line-of-credit and cash; they all qualify.  Now how do you report it?  Think of your business expenses as two categories:

1) expenses from your business account and

2) expenses from all other accounts (which I call “Out-of-Pocket”) or OOP.

Let’s discuss the second point in greater detail.  If you worked as an employee and your company sent you on training in another city, they would usually ask you keep all your receipts and submit an expense claim for reimbursement on your return.  The company would then write you a cheque.  Now, take this same example and apply it to your business – you still deserve this reimbursement and should account for it in your bookkeeping.  This needs to be paid back to you at some point in the future, and may have to wait until your business account has the funds to pay you back – but that doesn’t mean you forget about it!

So what do I suggest?

Goodbye shoebox – Hello envelopes! On each business receipt, write on it BUS (from Business account) or OOP (if from anywhere else). Next, for each month, label two envelopes. One might read “NOVEMBER BUS” and the other, “NOVEMBER OOP”.  Now place the receipts you’ve labelled into the corresponding envelope. 

Sound simple? It sure is.  And here’s the biggest benefit of all…your bookkeeper will be smiling when you bring them your envelopes.

Mike April is the business manager for www.AprilTaxSolutions.com and his office can be reached at (403) 999-7455.

Canadian University/College Money saving guide

It has been almost 15 years since I graduated university (you can do the math to see how old I am), but some things never change – school is expensive.

I was fortunate to be living less than a 20 minute walk to my university and I was able to save so much going to school in my home town but I realize that many students don’t have that good fortune.

I have some money saving tips and some great links that hopefully will save you some cash this year!

1. Take advantage of generous student discounts.

 

Amazon Prime for Students offers college and university students free two-day shipping for six months, and then 50% off Amazon Prime. Amazon Student members receive two-day shipping on millions of items, unlimited cloud photo storage with Prime Photos, and exclusive Student deals.

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Shop at the Apple Store for Education and save up to $250 on a new Mac, and up to $20 on a new iPad. Education pricing is available to post-secondary students, students accepted into a post-secondary institution, parents buying for post-secondary students, teachers and staff at all levels.

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is your passport to fantastic discounts and services at home and around the world. The ISIC card is the only internationally-recognised student ID, making ISIC card holders are members of a truly global club. Every year more than 4.5 million students from 120 countries use their student card to take advantage of offers on travel, shopping, museums and more, worldwide.

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Compared to impulse buying in the store, shopping online gives you more of a chance to calculate costs, cross-compare between retailers and search for any relevant coupons. Plus, if you can snag all of your supplies from the same store, you may be able to reach the retailer’s minimum threshold for free shipping.

Always check before you pay to see if you can get a student discount (doesn’t hurt anyone to ask).

2. Be a savvy shopper.

When possible, try to price match your way to a great deal. If you see an identical product on sale for a cheaper price at a competitor, ask the store you’re shopping at to match the price. As always, you’ll want to check the fine print of a retailer’s price-matching policy to see which products qualify.

3. Read your university/college’s tips for getting ahead or any discounts available.

A great all-around guide I found is this student guide with valuable information on how to save money.

Check with your school’s finance department as they may have a specific information for your city/town or secrets that only apply to that local school.

4. Understand the big picture.

On top of planning to finance your tuition, you’ll also need to factor in additional expenses, including costs for books and supplies, insurance, travel, phone, food, personal items, etc.

Remember that college/university will go by quickly and try to remember the good times but don’t go into too much debt as when you start your career you don’t want to have to take a job just to pay off debt.

Money Management and Attitudes Are Important

Everyone has their own ideas about money. The vast majority would like more of it of course. What is important is that everyone handles it responsibly but the indications are that in the USA that is not always the case. It is easy to blame the recession for the problems it caused but it cannot hide the fact that before it and after, right up to today the level of debt the average American is carrying is a matter of concern. Mortgage debt is excusable. It should be a positive way for a family to build up assets. Once again the recession has affected real estate values but they should grow again and are regarded as long term in the majority of cases. The real problem is the level of other debt with credit and store card debt often far too high for comfort.

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There are people who discipline themselves to save but others seemingly spend beyond their means using credit cards to subsidize their lifestyles; they are spending more than they earn in many cases and ignore the problems that they are gradually building up.

Differing Attitudes

Money is everything from a guarantee of survival to the means to enjoy material things, a nice automobile, fine home and world travel. Some accumulate money as an end in itself while others save for fear of being unable to meet bills in later life. There is no obvious reason why different people within a similar environment take a different approach to it. Those who are fairly complacent but in reality are living beyond their needs may be eternal optimists. As a matter of urgency they should sit down and think of the consequences of reaching a day when they can’t pay their bills.

There are many people whose attitude to money changes as other factors within their lives change. Quality of life is not just a matter of having money. Health and strong relationships are very important. Those lucky enough to be in good health and settled in life may be best able to avoid financial problems. Whether they are able to build up significant assets through life is another question but they should be generally free of problems and stress.

If one of those two elements, good health or a strong relationship breaks down things can change. Poor health increases the need for finance outside normal monthly expenditure of course. The breakdown of a relationship can certainly have financial consequences as well.

Some Pointers

Forgetting the recession for a moment, because that left many people helpless in the face of sudden economic changes, there are some basic rules that if followed should allow people to live a life without financial stress as long as they are prepared to work. Employment figures are back to pre-recession levels so work is generally available for those that want it. Once someone has regular income there are ways to get out of debt and gradually build a solid future.

There will always be temptation; credit cards certainly fall into that category. They should only be used for convenience, not to buy things that are otherwise unaffordable. The balance that can build up will receive a penal level of interest at the end of each month. Without taking positive action that debt will not go away. The best way to remove it is to take out a personal loan and pay it off in full. Those with regular income who appear able to make monthly instalment repayments for the full term of the loan at  www.realisticloans.com should be approved if they are realistic.

Down in Black & White

Those people who prepare a thorough budget will see the picture quite clearly when all the figures are in front of them. Expenditure must be below income and where too much money is going out to pay off debt, typically credit card debt, a personal loan may be the answer. So what are the rules? A budget, the self-discipline and determination to follow it and eradicating expensive debt are guidelines that represent an excellent start. As for individual’s attitude to money, it is a means to live a happy life as long as …

How to compare bank loans

Whether you want to make a major purchase, buy a new car, renovate your home, borrow to invest or consolidate debt it pays to look around for a new bank loan.

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With the Internet making it easier for consumers to compare rates and banks’ services, consumers are certainly saving some money.

Before starting to compare banks and if they need to make an inquiry on your credit score, ask them to do a soft inquiry. This allows them to view select information from your credit report without having to register a hard inquiry and affecting your score.

The most popular loans are debt consolidation loans, student loans, car loans, RRSP loans, and business loans.

If you find you cannot afford your monthly payments on your credit cards and are only able to make the minimum payments, consolidate your debt. This will allow you to get a lower interest rate and allow you to pay off the debt in about five years.

Always ask if you can make a lump sum payment on your loan without penalties. Apply every bit of extra money towards the loan principle. You will pay your loan faster and you can start saving for big financial goals.

Loan applications are approved based on your annual income qualification and credit rating.

How much can you borrow?

It will of course depend on your circumstances. It is usually the first question many people ask themselves when considering taking out a personal loan. The answer to that varies from loan company to loan company. It is crucial how stable and large your income is.

What about collateral?

There are several major advantages to taking out a loan without collateral. Firstly, the processing time is very much faster than conventional loans in which the bank takes a mortgage on something you own.

The other advantage is that you are free to spend the money on anything.

Use a loan calculator to test your budget.

Find a good loan calculator to determine how much you want to borrow and how long you want to spread the repayment over. Then you should be instantly provided with what your monthly costs will be when you shall lend money. This gives you the ability to find the loan that best suits.

One of the best comparison websites to compare loans from the biggest banks in Norway is http://xn--norskeln-g0a.com/

How to Learn Investment Without Risking Too Much

A lot of people in their 20s and 30s today are cautious with money. They have every right to be, after all, after having lived through the worst of the Financial Crisis of 2008 and beyond.

Golden nest egg representing retirement savings

These people realize that the money you have could easily be lost, especially if you have it invested at an inopportune time or place. This is keeping many people from investing at all. While this allays most risks associated with investment, it also prevents dividends and wealth growth from happening at all. That’s not a winning strategy, so it’s vital that people who are too scared of investment to invest should learn how to invest well instead of not investing at all.

Investment balances three elements: Risk, Time, and Return. If you have a lot of one, it throws the balance of the others out of whack. For example, high risk investments tend to be low on time. That’s because they offer the investor the chance to see a huge profit very quickly. Because opportunities like that are rare, and usually pretty uncertain, the Risk value is much higher here than it would be in more modest investments. Similarly, if you want to max out Return, you’ll probably have to either accept a big Time commitment, or you’ll have to endure tons of risk.

Investing well is all about finding a personal balance of all of these factors. In CFD Trading with a CMC Markets Demo Account, you’ll learn the basics of how you tolerate these different factors. Luckily, with a demo account, you won’t be risking any real money. This gives you the valuable chance to test how you would hold up when faced with high Risk, low Time, and High Reward investment scenarios.

CFD presents investors with a variety of financial products and asks them how they think the values will change over a short period of time. If the investor gets it right, there are proportionate dividends to the amount the price changed in the desired direction, and the amount that the investor had invested. Obviously, without being omniscient, no investor can know how prices are going to change over time. But it’s not all a matter of guessing either.

This is an example of how experience and insight can lower the Risk factor, while keeping the short Time and high Reward levels in place. Insight and knowledge give investors an edge to plan good investments and ignore bad ones. With CFD, you can pretty much become an expert on the market factors which influence one specific financial product’s behaviors. If you use a demo account long enough, you’ll be able to see patterns and learn trends which could make you big money once you go into the real investment brokerage portion of CMC Markets.

These strategies are the basis of all good investment: analyzing risk, then lowering it by educating yourself about the factors which will direct the course of your investment. Without knowledge, investment is just gambling. But with knowledge, your investment becomes driven less by risk and more by your confident insight about markets and their causes.

Income tax filing deadline extended to May 5

Great news today!

Canadians are getting more time to file their taxes due to a mistake by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The deadline for most Canadians was set for the end of the month.

However, due to a human error, incorrect notification was sent to tax preparers last week indicating the deadline was May 5.

A spokesman for Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay says the minister has directed her officials to ensure no Canadians are penalized for the CRA’s error.

Canadians who file their taxes before May 5 will not face any penalty.

CRA extended the deadline to May 5 last year after the Heartbleed bug forced a five-day shutdown of its E-file and Netfile services.

Why Outsourcing to a Bookkeeper is a Good Idea

When you run a small business in Calgary or anywhere in Canada, it really is essential that you maintain a good set of books which are regularly and contemporaneously up-to-date. The tax man will not be pleased with records that were tossed together at the year’s ending.

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Tax preparation is really a crucial reason to keep an in depth set of books; however there are other aspects at play. It is vital that you understand how much money your company is generating as well as how and where the cash is being invested. Make a comparison of your results to industry standards to figure out where you have to improve your business. You must also compare this year’s product sales and costs to the prior years to make a note of your improvement in the business world. Critiquing the balance sheet accounts of this year (liabilities, cash, receivables, and so on ) to earlier years will even help establish revenue and product sales objectives.

Why Outsource?

Outsourcing your business’s bookkeeping to a certified Calgary bookkeeping provider can help you save operating costs, staffing overhead, administration time, clearing up important capital and boosting your abilities so you can operate your business more proficiently.

Your full-time bookkeeper will perform the tasks that you do not have the time, skills or wish to do. Those irritating bookkeeping jobs that keep you from the core of your business can become the burden of your bookkeeper instead.  These jobs include:

  • Documenting and reconciling banking activity
  • Documenting and reconciling charge card activity
  • Preparing product sales return
  • Documenting payroll
  • Printing financial statements

A typical misconception is that a company proprietor will lose control when they delegate their bookkeeping. With the correct techniques in place, the business owner keeps all administration decisions and the bookkeeper just tracks and correctly records the accounting activities.Having a certified bookkeeper on your side, your company could be much more profitable, more effective and more competitive. You will get precise reports highlighting your company activities so that you can make choices which will keep your company moving forward. Not to mention, all those deadlines you have will be fulfilled without you having to give them a second thought.

As a business, you have to be really careful of the money and income flow. Likewise, the costs too should be documented and regulated. In this circumstance, you will find the job of a bookkeeper to be very useful. If you are not in a position to maintain a record of your transactions in your financial ledgers, you will most likely end up with false earnings statements as well as an unmatched balance sheet. This should be prevented no matter what.

In addition, the professionals you will be employing from the Calgary bookkeeping services are usually well qualified. What this means is the overall efficiency of the worker will be a lot more than any other conventional full time bookkeeper. For that reason you have to consider getting bookkeeping services from the specialists as quickly as possible.

It is one thing to have a precise and updated snapshot of your business’s financial records. It is another to comprehend just what it means when it comes to your company’s development. With regards to analyzing cash flow statements, determining burn rate and knowing other essential monetary information, a financial bookkeeper will help a start-up company stay in front of competitors.

Top 5 Problems with Mobile Banking Apps

Technology advancements always go through ebbs and flows. There are many tremendous developments with hopes of becoming the norm, but sometimes the technology does not work as advertised. How about mobile banking apps?

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Shouldn’t everyone be turning to online banking due to the convenience of 24/7/365 access? There have been some serious problems with cell phone payment apps that have scared some consumers away. Here are the top 5 problems with mobile banking apps.

Mobile Banking Apps Sound Great But …

The World Wide Web and financial industry have made great strides over the last decade, but have kind of gotten stuck in no-man’s land. Financial institutions want more people to try mobile banking apps, but the primary problems have not been resolved. Without customers, banking firms has no incentive to invest in the research & development needed to fix the problems.

  1. Questionable Security

Security is the #1 concern for most online bankers. In fact, one expert estimates that 90% of all mobile banking apps have security issues. Ariel Sanchez of IO Active Labs tested out 40 of the top 60 banking apps on his iPhone and found that nine out of ten failed. The apps could not even protect against common hacker scams, like “phishing.” That is a dire finding.

Solution: Bankers need to hire ex-hackers to develop their apps.

  1. Dropped Calls, Crashes & Bad Connections

Have you ever had a dropped call or bad Internet connection? Imagine if you were right in the middle of a financial transaction. Weather, traffic and who-knows-what can interrupt your online banking transfer. Bill Shipley of Accenture Mobility Services admits that crashes for most mobile banking sites is about 5%.

Solution: More investment to improve up-time rates for mobile banking websites.

  1. Won’t Read Paper Deposits

When Microsoft upgrades its Windows, it needs to have backwards compatibility with older versions. This is a standard technological rule. Unfortunately, banking mobile apps cannot even read a paper check or physical signature. The financial sector is stuck – it promises to go paperless when most people still use paper for financial transactions.

Solution: Add a scanner to mobile devices.

  1. Bankers Don’t Understand Apps

Most bankers are traditionally conservative. Most app developers are fairly independent and liberal. Many financial institutions do not mesh well with the cell phone application development culture. Combining the cultures has been very difficult. Some programming languages are open source; banks require confidentiality.

Solution: Banks must create their own group of industry programmers.

  1. Very Little Standardization

What platform should you develop your banking app on – Blackberry, Apple or Google Android? The investment into mobile banking applications is very expensive with questionable returns. One expert claims Android payment apps are risky. Banks have a tough time forcing their rules upon a world with different languages, technologies and laws. The global village is becoming more parochial.

Solution: International organization to establish uniform banking mobile app rules.

On the Edge of Something Big

Technology goes through stops and starts. Even with the many problems with mobile banking apps, consumers are still gravitating to online banking. Financial institutions might need to do what they did with credit cards: reimburse people for any fraud.

Mobile banking is stuck in “no-man’s land.” It needs to improve the technology, but executives must see online banking as truly profitable. We must remember that “Too Big to Fail Banks” also have many other problems to deal with. The future for mobile banking apps looks bright once the wrinkles have been ironed out.

Jason Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. He currently writes for Checkworks.com, a leading supplier of personal and business checks.

 

How to watch NHL hockey without cable?

I am a big hockey fan (playing not watching) but many fellow Canucks love to watch the NHL.

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I wanted to share the various ways you can watch without an expensive cable subscription in Canada.

1. Try HockeyStreams and get all the games streamed live!

Or this one, or Reddit.

2. Purchase GameCenter at a discount.

GameCentre Live isn’t really an option for some as many games are blacked out (only shown on Sportsnet).

3. Rogers customers who have either Internet or Rogers Cellphone, can take advantage of the following promo:
Enjoy a free subscription to Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE until December 31st with any internet or wireless data plan.

What other options are there?