Sunday, December 22, 2013

Top 10 Ways to Earn Extra Cash before Christmas

Nowadays there is a high rate of lost jobs, salary cuts and decreased bonuses. The income is rapidly shrinking whereas expenses are rising. So what to you should do in such a tight financial situation? The answer is simple enough. There are many ways to generate an extra amount of income, some of which are given below.

Whether you have been fired or have been denied your well deserved bonus, you are not the only one. You may even be involved in debts.Whatever the case is, make use of the techniques below, and increase your income, because Christmas is just around the corner.

1.     Freelancing
The popularity of freelancing has increased in the past couple of years. Many organizations prefer outsourcing their work because of decreased costs. If you are lucky enough, and the company is renowned, then you might even get the same package and benefits as full time employers if you put in 8 hours of work a day.

There are many sites dedicated to freelancing, and a vast majority of the people earn handsome amounts this way. If you can do an ample number of projects, then you can bypass your monthly salary as well.

2.     Old Books
Books are extremely costly these days, and many people prefer buying them at cheap rates if they can get their hands on used books. So dig out all your past text books, and sell them to those still enrolled in colleges and universities. You can even sell them on online sites. The same goes for your novels collections.

3.     Coins
There are quite a few people who generate an income by carrying out a search for circulating coinage. The money earned can be as much as $2500.

4.     Business
If you are even the slightest bit creative, then use your skills and hobbies to create a money generating machine. You can market your services online on social networks or sites dedicated to this purpose. If you are skilled at playing an instrument, then teach others. If you are good with a needle, then you can make beautiful table clothes or cushion covers, and sell them for a fair price.

5.     Online Blogs
Online blogs are definitely a very good option to try out if you can easily make words flow. Once you set up a blog, contact other companies which will readily advertise on your online page. You will earn a commission on all sales conducted through your blog.

6.     Sweepstakes
Sweepstakes may not give you cash, but they do give you plenty of amazing gifts that can be quite expensive to buy. Honestly speaking, the prizes can be really impressive at times such as a flat screen TV, dishwater, a tablet and even a home theater system. There are many online sites which offer numerous sweepstakes.

7.     Opinions
Surprising as it may sound, your opinions matter a lot. They are so valuable that they can even give you a profit. Take part in a focus group. Just give them one hour, and they award you with $100 at the end of it.

8.     Junk
Conduct a thorough search of your home for all items which you have not used in the last six months or so. Sell all of these at a garage sale, or any other online site.

9.     Direct Selling
Direct selling is another great way to generate money if you have the convincing power.  If you devote your entire time to it, you can earn in six digit figures. The income generated is sufficient to run your home or receive education.

This is a really great option if you are in debts. Not only will you enjoy, but you will be able to overcome your problem as well. .  Debt settlement companies like Consolidated Credit provide information on how to consolidate debt, and how to manage money. Even they recommend this option to their clients.

10.Secret Shopper
If you have an eye for detail, then register at a secret shopping company. The income can be as much as $2000.

Your expenses are mounting, and Christmas is approaching. So put these methods to good use, and buy well deserved gifts for your family and relatives.

Author’s Bio
CJ has all the knowledge required to generate an extra income and overcome financial problems. She works for a similar organization which caters to debts, finances and loans. She believes that debt settlement companies like Consolidated Credit provide best information on how to consolidate debt, repay loans and manage finances. 
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Day-to-Day of a Chief Financial Officer

Most Chief Financial Officers -- or CFOs -- spend their days doing a variety of tasks, all of which help keep the company running smoothly and in safe financial waters. In addition, these executives ensure the company is meeting applicable regulations related to financial disclosure, accounting, and use of funds from various sources. With the financial health of the company at stake, take a look at some of the daily tasks performed by CFOs.

Maintain Accurate Historical Data

Image via Flickr by SalFalko

Past financial performance is important to ensure a company pays the correct amount of taxes to the local, state, and federal government. An accurate record of the company’s financial health over a period of years also gives managers a snapshot of the effectiveness of strategies and policies.

These are just a couple of reasons CFOs spend time working with their staff to ensure proper accounting techniques provide an accurate picture of past performance. Without this information, a company would essentially guess at how to move forward, not knowing if they should continue on the current path or try to develop new strategies.
At smaller companies and non-profit organizations, CFOs may do much of the work themselves. However, at a bigger firm, they typically work with professional staff and oversee the work they do to maintain historical financial data.

Oversee the Wallet

Besides spending time cataloguing what’s happened in the past, the CFO also must deal with immediate financial matters. Investing the company’s dollars requires the CFO to stay current on the best investment options by knowing the market and different financial instruments.

Staying on top of payroll, contractual obligations, and purchasing are also routine functions of a CFO. Watching the timing of purchases allows the CFO to ensure appropriate cash flow. Keeping tabs on cash flow prevents the company from getting into a situation where it owes bills and the coffers are empty because payments owed to the company haven’t yet arrived.

A prime example of a CFO who has spent his career tackling these immediate money management issues is Gary Crittenden, Huntsman Gay managing partner. Before taking his current position, he led Citigroup as CFO from 2007 to 2009. He also spent about seven years as CFO for American Express. During his time with Citigroup, he led the company’s day to day financial dealings through the rocky waters of the global economic crisis. By ensuring the company fulfilled contractual obligations and kept close tabs on its past and current financial picture, he had a successful tenure.

Plan for the Future

CFOs spend time almost every day thinking about shoring up the company’s financial standing in the future. Using both past and current data, CFOs develop forecasts and recommendations for maintaining and growing profit.

Many of these daily tasks get performed in meetings with various committees comprised of other top-tier management. CFOs may travel frequently to meet with investors, managers at other global sites, and auditors who verify the company’s accounting practices. The CFO has to juggle many daily tasks with the end goal of helping the company make more money.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Investing and Age - Bravery in Youth, Caution with Age?

With the state-sponsored social security program in constant upheaval due to financial downturns and resultant budgetary restraints, it is no wonder more and more people are focusing on building private investment portfolios to
 safeguard themselves for their eventual retirement. Investment in a weak economy may seem counterintuitive, but it can actually offer impressive benefits for those in a position to take advantage of the low prices and bargains available on the market today. The level of risk involved with such investments varies greatly and must be taken into consideration when building an investment portfolio to make sure the level of risk of your investments matches your financial point of view and personal circumstances. Should your tolerance for risk change as you age and your investment needs develop? What are some investment tips for the various stages in your professional life?

Take the chance.

When you are at the beginning of your career, you have little to lose and the world to gain. As such, this is probably the best time in your life to take those bigger risks on those innovative stocks you have been eyeing or that part-ownership in the company you really believe in. The money you make during this time will have twenty to thirty years to mature, almost guaranteeing you a significant payoff for whatever you are able to invest. By the same token, any unfortunate losses will have years to be made up with other investments.

During this time in your life, bonds and real estate are also great investments. Bonds are great for long-term money making, providing you with a secure and substantial base, and real-estate is almost always profitable in the long-term as well, although significantly more risky than investments like bonds. Don’t forget to experiment with foreign stocks during this time as well - if you gain an understanding of the market, foreign investment can be the difference that brings your financial portfolio to the next level.

Weigh your options.

When your retirement is in sight, you might want to shift around your financial assets. You do not want a large proportion of your portfolio concentrated in high-risk investments that would leave you in dire straights were your luck to run out. It is not time to pull out of all of your riskier investments, but definitely start thinking about where that money might be kept safer. Instead, begin focusing on how to protect the sum you have accumulated so far by looking into secure investment protection options like Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). TIPS offer a fixed coupon payment with a small interest rate and inflation adjustment at cash in, usually five, ten, or twenty years after purchase. Tools like these will make sure you will be able to meet your minimum needs come retirement time while still earning a profit on your investments.

Protect yourself.

Once you have officially planned your nearby retirement, your financial portfolio should reflect your shift in circumstances and perspective. During this time, make sure that the majority of your investments are in low-risk areas that will guarantee you maintain a solid monetary base even after your salary has stopped. Now is the time you want to develop the investments you already have instead of exploring new territory. For example, try using covered calls to gain a monthly income from your existing stocks without selling and make sure to slowly cash in investments you have made instead of taking out large lump sums to allow for as much interest to accumulate as possible. Above all, enjoy the benefits of all of your hard work throughout your life and don’t be afraid to take advantage of some of your investments - you deserve it.

Investing for your retirement can commence at any age. Think about your personal and professional circumstances along with your retirement goals before deciding on a strategic plan of action for building your financial portfolio. For more advice, see Bankrate.

Author: This is a guest post by Nate Miller. His main interests are Finance and Investing, with a recent focus on Business. He is constantly extending his fields of interest to incorporate news suggested to him by his readers. Also, if you like his writing, make sure to follow him on Twitter
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Credit Scores: Everything You Need to Know on Scoring System and How to Improve Them

It is no secret to anybody who has ever required a loan from a lending institution that one of the determining factors is a good credit score. Credit scores generally depend on the system the lending institution uses for evaluation, and sometimes the rates may differ but one thing is sure: if you have one very good score from one of the reporting agencies, your loan is almost 100% guaranteed and no financial institution will reject your application.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to credit scores:

The Things That Impact Credit Scores
Generally, the information impacting scores depends on the system being used but some of the common elements are the public records of one person, the overall debt, the number of payments being late and the type of accounts that person holds.

Your Credit History Is Critical
It is important to keep a very good credit history account, as your history will tell your lenders if you are to be trusted or not. Some of the questions your lending company may ask will help them better understand your credit scores and your overall credit history:
Are your bills paid on time?
How long have you had your credit cards for?
Have you opened more credit cards lately?
How much overall debt do you have, in comparison to your credit limit?
The answers to these questions will generally help your lenders understand if you are actually a risk or not, when it comes to repaying your debt.

Steps to Take to Improve Your Credit Score
Generally, credit scores reflect the patterns of credit you have maintained over time, with a focus on recent information, going back a couple of years.

To make sure your credit scores are actually improving, there are a few things you can do:
  • Make sure all your bills are paid on time. Late payments on utility bills and collections will definitely have a negative impact on your scores. Even if you have a rather insignificant amount to pay for an utility bill, make sure that one is paid on time, this is more important on the long-run than anything affecting your credit score.
  • Keep very low balances on all your credit cards or other revolving credit resources, as a big debt on these can affect credit scores in a rather negative manner.
  • Do not apply for more credit accounts at once, only apply when needed. Opening accounts to have a better credit score overall will definitely not help your situation.
  • Instead of moving your debt around, try and pay your actual debt, don’t just move it to another account. Many people will go closing unused cards, hoping this will improve their scores. This may actually work on a short-term and it can influence your overall rating

A Few Things to Keep In Mind

Time is your main ally.
It actually takes a lot of time to improve and fix your credit score. If your score is full of negative information, such as a load of late payments, too many inquiries on your credit scores or a bankruptcy record, the only ally in this situation is time, as there is actually no quick fix for this.

A credit score is not rebuilt.
A consumer actually rebuilds their credit history, not the overall score. Most public record items like bankruptcy filing remain on your credit report for up to seven years, some of them for 10 to 15 years.

Don’t buy into miracle solutions.
Any expert will tell you that companies promising to help you re-establish credit scores for a fee are actually not to be trusted. No matter how many companies can tell you that, you should know that no one is able to change the information on your credit file. Only the actual creditor company will be able to alter it, so paying a third-party to review your credit report will be part of a full scam. So, keep these things in mind before actually contacting a miracle company:
1)   The Credit Bureau will not be able to remove any negative info from your report, before the legal period has actually expired.
2)   There is no legal loophole allowing any credit repair company to save your credit score, no matter how much money you are prepared to pay for it.
3)   There is nothing you cannot do yourself, in order to improve the credit history and your score.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

How to Change Your Name

The process for changing your name is a lot different than changing out your last name when you get married. Regardless of your reasons, you must fill out the right paperwork, obtain new legal documents (including your Social Security card), and go through the process of changing your name on all of your financial and personal accounts.

Selecting Your Name
Picking a name is a lot more difficult than you might think. Your old name won’t be around and you will have to get used to using your new name while signing documents, addressing people, etc. Try signing the name of your choice a few times first. Ask friends or family members to call you by the new name and see whether or not you like it. You’re allowed to change your first, middle or last name -- or all if you would like. The state, however, does not allow you to change your name for fraudulent intent. Therefore, if you have a lot of debts, you might want to prove you’ll be paying for those under the new name first.

In some cases the courts can deny a name change request. Some reasons the courts can deny your request include:

·         If you’re changing your name to pretend to be someone else or to avoid bankruptcy.
·         If your new name violates someone’s registered trademark.
·         If your new name contains symbols or numbers.
·         If your new name can be considered obscene.

File Your Petition
To change your name you must first file a petition with your state’s court. This petition lists your reasons for why you want to change your name. These forms are available online through legal sites like LegalZoom or on your state’s local court website. Once submitted, a judge will review your petition. Therefore, you must clearly explain why it is you want to change your name.

You cannot submit your petition online unless you’ve hired an online service to handle the documents for you. Instead you will need to print out the document and take it to the court to have it signed by a clerk. You can also have the document notarized if a court clerk signing isn’t an option. Make copies of your signed, completed petition for your records.

The petition is filed with your local civil court in person. You may have to pay a filing fee during this time. The clerk will then give you a court date in which you’ll attend a civil hearing.

The Hearing
Your hearing is in front of a judge in civil court. The proceeding is quick and relatively easy. The judge is likely to ask you a few questions regarding what you’ve stated on your petition. He or she may ask for clarification or further documentation to approve your name change request. Answer every question clearly and honestly.

Once your request is approved the judge will grant a name change order, which is given to you by the clerk. You’ll need to make copies of this document -- keeping one for yourself.

Posting Your Advertisement
There are a few states that require you to post an advertisement regarding your new name change. The duration can be a few days or weeks. The theory behind this practice is that it gives the public time to see the name change and object to it if they have a claim. For example, if you owe debts under the first name, a party can petition your name change in court once they’ve seen the advertisement.

Where you have to post the advertisement varies. Some states only require a post made on the courthouse bulletin board, while others require newspaper ads. Find out the duration in which you must post your advertisement and have receipts and documents to prove you’ve posted it for the required length of time.

Using Online versus In-Person Services
When you change your name, you have a few options for how you’ll go through the process. You can either file the documents yourself in-person by visiting the courthouse, obtaining the documents and filing them or you can use an online service. These online services, like Nolo and LegalZoom, give you access to the state-specific forms you need and may give you the option to pay for a professional legal review. You won’t have access immediately to your documents, however, and often they must first be notarized and shipped to you before you can deliver them to the courthouse.

If you’re unfamiliar with your state’s laws regarding name changes, it might be in your best interest to use a service rather than doing it yourself. If, however, you have the time and are able to research, you can then have a professional review your documents for accuracy.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

UK vs. EU Property Investment

 Property investment can be lucrative, and those who do it right are able to secure healthy profits as a result. The two major models available to property investors are buy to let and buy to sell, and both have particular advantages that make them more or less suitable, depending on your circumstances. The next major decision to make is whether to invest in UK property, or whether to take your investment capital overseas, with an EU property investment. Again, both have their merits, but there are particular reasons why you might be led to one or the other.

Investing in property as a model has the potential to earn significant returns. There are few things you can buy or sell that have the value of a house, or a commercial property. In fact, for the majority of people across Europe, purchasing a home or paying their monthly rent is one of the biggest costs and financial commitments they will ever take on. This makes it attractive for investors, because the sums involved are typically much bigger. This means that investment capital can be generating a more significant return, at a quicker pace, than if it were invested in virtually any other project.

Image source:

When it comes to investing in property in the UK, there is the major advantage of local knowledge that is to your advantage. Buying, investing and developing in the UK is helpful when you know how the UK housing market works, the laws for doing business, and the demographics of areas like Kingsbridge. While the market may already be highly developed, and more expensive than some of its European counterparts, there is solid, reliable demand for both rental and sale properties across the UK that makes investing here a viable option. But some investors are choosing to be a little more adventurous in pursuit of their profit.

Investing in property within the
wider EU is an alternative option. The benefit of this type of approach is that you can often secure lower prices in growing economies, or in countries where house prices are set to rapidly rise. This can be a good way to achieve an even better return for your investments in the property market, although this strategy has some obvious disadvantages too. For starters, things as simple as a language barrier can be a real problem to the overall success of your EU property investment.

Image source:

Investing in property is clearly an attractive model, whether that is an investment in an industrial estate in Wandsworth, or a 4-bedroom family home in Warsaw. There are opportunities for investors with ready capital and the right financial backing to make waves, both at home and overseas, through investing in the right types of property. Provided you have thought through the various challenges, obstacles and advantages of different types of investment, you should be able to make a healthy return, particularly if you are prepared to hold off for the perfect opportunity.
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

ARBITRAGE Buy Low, Sell High

Arbitrage is a method, or concept, that has been around for thousands of years, but there is still no set definition of what it is. Your stock broker may give you one definition, while a commodities broker may tell you it's something else. Heck, most investors have no clue what it's about.

The basic premise of the arbitrage theory is that investors (or speculators) force a profit making opportunity to exist. In its most simple form, the definition should look something like, "Buy in a cheap market and immediately sell in a more expensive market."

A good example would be the farmers markets found in two different villages. John, an arbitrage junky, goes to the Cheap Village and sees that oranges are selling for $3 per bushel. Through the grapevine, he's heard that oranges sell for $3.50 in Expensive Village. John takes all his cash and buys oranges at $3 per bushel in Cheap Village, then walks to Expensive Village and immediately sells the oranges for $3.50 per bushel. This is basic arbitrage--John has created a profit making opportunity of $0.50 per bushel. This theory has been used for a long time, at least conceptually.

There are four keys to arbitrage, outlined as follows...
Information: John had to know that the oranges were selling for $3 in Cheap Village and $3.50 in Expensive Village.
Profit Opportunity: John had to see a profit making opportunity, that's the key motivation to arbitrage.
Judgment: John had to use his judgment and determine the risk/reward factor.
Decision: John had to make the decision whether to actually carry out his arbitrage scheme.

These four keys seem obvious, but they're the result of many years of testing, discussion, thought, and evaluation. Stephen Ross initiated an important, and now infamous, arbitrage study in 1976. His study began with comparisons to the Capital Asset Pricing Model, where he pointed out that the CAPM only takes market risk into account when pricing securities. The obvious problem with the CAPM is that there are other considerable risks to securities pricing, such as the industry, sector, interest rates, and so on.

Ross argued that the Arbitrage Pricing Theory is a multi-factor model and that it does account for non-market risks. The problem with the APT theory is that we don't know exactly what risks of what magnitude should be identified. For example, when pricing a stock, one investor may put heavy weight on interest rate risk, while another investor puts heavy weight on industry risk. For the theory to be validated, all investors would have to consider the same factors at the same magnitude.

So in conclusion, there is still no set definition of arbitrage. Anyone will find several different definitions when checking dictionaries, encyclopedias, and financial glossaries. But to have a basic understanding of what the arbitrage theory represents, there are three important things to remember.

  • Create a profit making opportunity.
  • Buy in a cheap market, sell in an expensive market.
  • Garbage in, garbage out; this relates to the APT and the fact that investors will put different weights on different factors.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tips for Personal Financial Success

Getting a handle of managing your basic personal finance can return many financial rewards as well as provide you with more free time to pursue your interests and freed up money to invest. When we talk about the basic elements of anyone’s personal finances we are including a personal budget, savings and investment planning, managing your income and outgoings resourcefully as well as applying for loans and finance and various insurance policies you may need over your lifespan.

Here are key tips to follow for your personal financial success.

·  Take charge of your finances. Procrastinating is detrimental to your long-term financial health. Don’t wait for a crisis or major life event to get your act together. Read this book and start implementing a plan now!

·  Don’t buy consumer items (cars, clothing, vacations, and so on) that lose value over time on credit. Use debt only to make investments in things that gain value, such as real estate, a business, or an education.

·  Use credit cards only for convenience, not for carrying debt. If you have a tendency to run up credit-card debt, then get rid of your cards and use only cash, checks, and debit cards.

·  Live within your means and don’t try to keep up with your co-workers, neighbors, and peers. Many who engage in conspicuous consumption are borrowing against their future; some end up bankrupt.

·  Save and invest at least 5 to 10 percent of your income. Preferably, invest through a retirement savings account to reduce your taxes and ensure your future financial independence.

·  Understand and use your employee benefits. If you’re self-employed, find the best investment and insurance options available to you and use them.

·  Research before you buy. Never purchase a financial product or service on the basis of an advertisement or salesperson’s solicitation.

·  Avoid financial products that carry high commissions and expenses. Companies that sell their products through aggressive sales techniques generally have the worst financial products and the highest commissions.

·  Don’t purchase any financial product that you don’t understand. Ask questions and compare what you’re being offered to the best sources, which I recommend in this book.

·  Invest the majority of your long-term money in ownership vehicles that have appreciation potential, such as stocks, real estate, and your own business. When you invest in bonds or bank accounts, you’re simply lending your money to others, and the return you earn probably won’t keep you ahead of inflation and taxes.

·  Avoid making emotionally based financial decisions. For example, investors who panic and sell their stock holdings after a major market correction miss a buying opportunity. Be especially careful in making important financial decisions after a major life change, such as a divorce, job loss, or death in your family.

·  Make investing decisions based upon your needs and the long-term fundamentals of what you’re buying. Ignore the predictive advice offered by financial prognosticators — nobody has a working crystal ball. Don’t make knee-jerk decisions based on news headlines.

·  Own your home. In the long run, owning is more cost-effective than renting, unless you have a terrific rent-control deal. But don’t buy until you can stay put for a number of years.

·  If you’re married, make time to discuss joint goals, issues, and concerns. Be accepting of your partner’s money personality; learn to compromise and manage as a team.

·  Prepare for life changes. The better you are at living within your means and anticipating life changes, the better off you will be financially and emotionally.

·  Read publications that have high quality standards and that aren’t afraid to take a stand and recommend what’s in your best interests. Avoid those that base their content on the hottest financial headlines or the whims of advertisers.

·  Prioritize your financial goals and start working toward them. Be patient. Focus on your accomplishments and learn from your mistakes.

·  Hire yourself first. You are the best financial person that you can hire. If you need help making a major decision, hire conflict-free advisors who charge a fee for their time. Work in partnership with advisors — don’t abdicate control.

·  Invest in yourself and others. Invest in your education, your health, and your relationships with family and friends. Having a lot of money isn’t worth much if you don’t have your health and people with whom to share your life. Give your time and money to causes that better our society and world.
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