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Category Archives: finance

Financial Skills – Opening a Bank Account

I was surprised when I asked parents to tell me the life skills they wish their kids knew, and there was a resounding request for kids to learn how to open a bank account.

Similarly, there was a huge call out for:

  • How to budget & balance accounts
  • How to write checks and pay bills
  • And how to start saving for retirement

It seems some of the things we take for granted are, as a result, missing from what we teach kids.

This article is the first article in the four-part series and will discuss the best and simplest way to get started with opening a bank account.

It seems easy, but there are several questions many people never think of that we’ll address in this article:

  1. Which bank?
  2. Checking or savings account?
  3. Are there fees or minimum balances?
  4. Should I get a Debit Card too?
  5. Should I have my name on the account with my kid?

1. Choosing a Bank

When you choose a bank, there are a few criteria you’ll want to look at:

  1. Location
  2. Number of branches
  3. Ease of access

The location should be convenient to your home, but also have enough branches so that – in the case of an emergency – you can get to your bank.

I opened an account with Elevations Credit Union when I was attending CU Boulder. It was convenient and credit unions are really great to bank with. However, after I graduated and moved, there were no branches around me, which made things very inconvenient. I ended up opening an account with US Bank since they are in about every King Soopers, where I do my grocery shopping.

This is especially important with kids because you don’t want them to have to drive too far just to bank.

Similarly, ease of access into the branch is important. I remember having a Norwest (now Wells Fargo) account, and getting in and out of the bank’s parking lot was terrible. I had several near-miss car accidents and dreaded even going to the bank.

2. Checking or Savings Account

As you’ll learn in the future article about saving and budgeting, there should be an account that is used for saving and investing.

That means it’s important to have BOTH a checking and savings account.

The reason a checking account is important, is so that kids can learn how to write checks, and have a designated spending account aside from a designated savings account.

Checking accounts are important for paying bills (be it online or via mail) and will give kids the opportunity to learn how to write checks. Even if check writing isn’t as prevalent as it once was, it’s still important.

I was shopping one day and realized I forgot my wallet, which had my credit cards and cash. I started to panic because I needed some food. Fortunately, I keep a couple of checks in the car and was able to save myself by writing a check… they still come in handy!

3. Fees & Minimum Balances

Some banks have fees to have an account and others don’t. Obviously get the one that doesn’t since your kid shouldn’t have a huge account. Likewise make sure there isn’t a minimum balance or a very small ($10 or less) minimum balance.

Just as important is how overdrafts are handled!

When I was in college, it never failed: my peers (who hadn’t learned how to balance an account) would routinely trigger their overdraft protection and the hefty fees that went along with it.

They would look at their balance online and it would show $10. Then they’d check it again a few days later and it was at $30.

It was the magical growing bank account; and they never wondered where the extra money came from. Until the end of the month when they had over $200 in overdraft protection fees!

I would suggest NOT getting overdraft protection and instead making darn sure they can balance their account (which we’ll cover in a future article).

4. What About a Debit Card?

Here’s my thoughts on kids having debit cards: it makes it much, much harder to balance the bank account while making it much easier to overspend and run into trouble.

Are ATM machines convenient? Yes, but I have never once used one in my entire life. Part of teaching kids life skills is to teach them to be prepared. I keep an extra $10 in cash plus a few checks in my car. It wouldn’t bother me if it got stolen.

If you’re determined that your kid gets a debit card, wait at least six months after opening their account so they can learn “the old fashioned way” and understand how the debit card affects their account when they actually start using it.

5. Should I Be On The Account Too?

I think it’s a very good idea for you to be on your kid’s first account so you can monitor their spending and make sure they don’t cause a train wreck.

It’s good to get statements so that you can use that as a learning experience to go over them with your kid and teach them how to properly dispose of them (in a shredder) so that they decrease their risk of identity theft.

Come up with a time frame or benchmarks until you pull yourself off the account and let your kid take on the responsibility of an individual account.

Opening a bank account is a huge step into a new world for kids and it should be a great experience. Walk your kids through the setup and look for the learning opportunities along the way.

The Islamic Banking Model

The origin of Islamic banking dates to the very beginning of Islam in the seventh century. The prophet Muhammad’s first wife, Khadija, was a merchant, and he acted as an agent for her business, using many of the same principles used in contemporary Islamic banking. In the Middle Ages, trade and business activity in the Muslim world relied on Islamic banking principles, and these ideas spread throughout Spain, the Mediterranean and the Baltic States, arguably providing some of the basis for western banking principles. In the 1960s to the 1970s, Islamic banking resurfaced in the modern world.

This banking system is based on the principles of Islamic law, also referred to as Sharia law, and guided by Islamic economics. The two basic principles are the sharing of profit and loss and the prohibition of the collection and payment of interest by lenders and investors. Islamic banks neither charge nor pay interest in a conventional way where the payment of interest is set in advance and viewed as the predetermined price of credit or the reward for money deposited. Islamic law accepts the capital reward for loan providers only on a profit- and loss-sharing basis, working on the principle of variable return connected to the actual productivity and performances of the financed project and the real economy. Another important aspect is its entrepreneurial feature. The system is focused not only on financial expansion but also on physical expansion of economic production and services. In practice, there is a higher concentrated on investment activities such as equity financing, trade financing and real estate investments. Since this system of banking is grounded in Islamic principles, all the undertakings of the banks follow Islamic morals. Therefore, it could be said that financial transactions within Islamic banking are a culturally distinct form of ethical investing. For example, investments involving alcohol, gambling, pork, etc. are prohibited.

For the last four decades, the Islamic banking system has experienced a tremendous evolution from a small niche visible only in Islamic countries to a profitable, dynamic and resilient competitor at an international level. Their size around the world was estimated to be close to $850 billion at the end of 2008 and is expected to grow by around 15 percent annually. While system of banking remains the main component of the Islamic financial system, the other elements, such as Takaful (Islamic insurance companies), mutual funds and Sukuk (Islamic bonds and financial certificates), have witnessed strong global growth, too. Per a reliable estimate, the Islamic financial industry now amounts to over $1 trillion. Moreover, the opportunity for growth in this sector is considerable. It is estimated that the system could double in size within a decade if the past performances are continued in the future.

Why Is the Blockchain Technology Important?

Let’s say that a new technology is developed that could allow many parties to transact a real estate deal. The parties get together and complete the details about timing, special circumstances and financing. How will these parties know they can trust each other? They would have to verify their agreement with third parties – banks, legal teams, government registration and so on. This brings them back to square one in terms of using the technology to save costs.

In the next stage, the third parties are now invited to join the real estate deal and provide their input while the transaction is being created in real time. This reduces the role of the middleman significantly. If the deal is this transparent, the middleman can even be eliminated in some cases. The lawyers are there to prevent miscommunication and lawsuits. If the terms are disclosed upfront, these risks are greatly reduced. If the financing arrangements are secured upfront, it will be known in advance that the deal will be paid for and the parties will honour their payments. This brings us to the last stage of the example. If the terms of the deal and the arrangements have been completed, how will the deal be paid for? The unit of measure would be a currency issued by a central bank, which means dealing with the banks once again. Should this happen, the banks would not allow these deals to be completed without some sort of due diligence on their end and this would imply costs and delays. Is the technology that useful in creating efficiency up to this point? It is not likely.

What is the solution? Create a digital currency that is not only just as transparent as the deal itself, but is in fact part of the terms of the deal. If this currency is interchangeable with currencies issued by central banks, the only requirement remaining is to convert the digital currency into a well-known currency like the Canadian dollar or the U.S. dollar which can be done at any time.

The technology being alluded to in the example is the blockchain technology. Trade is the backbone of the economy. A key reason why money exists is for the purpose of trade. Trade constitutes a large percentage of activity, production and taxes for various regions. Any savings in this area that can be applied across the world would be very significant. As an example, look at the idea of free trade. Prior to free trade, countries would import and export with other countries, but they had a tax system that would tax imports to restrict the effect that foreign goods had on the local country. After free trade, these taxes were eliminated and many more goods were produced. Even a small change in trade rules had a large effect on the world’s commerce. The word trade can be broken down into more specific areas like shipping, real estate, import/export and infrastructure and it is more obvious how lucrative the blockchain is if it can save even a small percentage of costs in these areas.

Aiming for a Greener Financial System

In the year 2015, being a person who likes to stay abreast of the various political and economic activities, I was often confused with the term ‘Green Finance’. Moreover, the excessive use of this term in G20 pushed me to learn more about it and provide an understanding to you as well.

Green finance can be described as an umbrella term which refers to the changes in financial flows that are required to support projects that not only help the environment but also the society. Pollution, air quality, water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and renewable energies are certain genres that are covered under green finance.

To meet the aspiring goal of the Paris treaty, it is important to align the green growth and financial sector. If we talk about green finance in the long-term, we should be happy to know that it has ample opportunities for profitable investments in developed and developing economies. Investing in green economy will set the course for carbon footprints. The only need at the minute is a step change in greening the financial system. There is a rising awareness in the financial system related to sustainability risks, commercial opportunities and changing customer preferences. The government has smoothened these developments through national roadmaps, sectoral guidelines and policy signaling. The economy is witnessing a competitive urge between financial centers and companies for green finance leadership.

An accepted green finance will always constitute a right proportion of policy action and market. Below are certain actions which can be helpful for an effective market action:

Connecting environmental risks analysis with core business activities
Feeding back into the policy process
Driving the environmental risk analysis
Anchoring sustainability, and
Controlling financial technology to strengthen retail demand.

The authorities should be able to shape effective policies to minimize market failures and create conditions which help in the growth of green finance. Apart from using policy packages with fiscal policy and environmental reforms, there should be an involvement to support the greening of financial markets with options such as:

Supporting data provisions and capacity building
Using the limited public means effectively, and
Creating a smart and well-organized incentive system.

After the government, multilateral development banks and international financial banks have also an important role to play, with options like:

Streamlining governance structures and portfolios according to the Paris agreement
Using methods to strengthen environmental guidelines, and
Promoting financial market development and filling project pipelines.

Since the Paris treaty, businesses have initiated that streak of competitiveness at various levels of the financial system. The global financial centers such as London, Shanghai, or Paris are preparing themselves as global green finance centers – this and many more to lure specialized companies. Designing smart market systems and policies, in order to maximize the positive effects in the long-term can be a strong approach towards scaling-up the green finance.

Developing countries encounter major investment gaps and receive a small share of the green financial flow. This is the case when these developing economies offer huge opportunities for long-term green investment in areas such as transport, agriculture, infrastructure and energy. There are a number of developing countries which are advertising green bond roadmaps, highlighting the potential for green finance. Though, the various effects of an updated version of environmental risk analysis need to be understood to manage possible development policy implications. The UN environment is developing a range of options to make the most of the combined activities of green finance and sustainable development.

Choosing Merchant Providers

If you are running a new business, then you may have a very hard time choosing a provider of merchant services. There are some things that can help in the determination of which is the best credit card processor. There are very many options that are available in the market today and this means that you have to be even more careful. It is important to select processors that can focus on some factors that are relevant to the company you are running.

The fee

The fees charged can actually increase as time goes by. A provider that allows for the negotiation of the percentage is the best. It is also important that all pricing differences are well understood and all variables such as credit card types, the value of the dollar and volume should also be laid out. Fees and should also be understood and they vary in accordance with variables.

The cash flow

This is yet another thing to consider. The credit card processors are responsible for holding the cash from processing time up until the time you get it in your account. It is important to appreciate the fact that different processors use different systems and they can manage time so as to earn some interest. When you choose a merchant provider that offers payment wallet, then you can gain access to the funds immediately. Sometimes the fees of companies aren’t as competitive as what independent providers offer.

Some of the questions that you should ask before choosing the merchant account

· Customer support: this is important because you may need some technical support from time to time. A good merchant service provider will allow you access to customer support 24/7. This will guarantee that issues will be addressed as soon as they arise.

· Live support: this has become very popular in the present times. Some of the companies have email support, but sometimes when you have a problem, you may want to talk to someone in real time.

· Time the company has been in operation: a provider that has a track record that is proven can really help. This is because the team has been able to build a reputation and specialized in the field.

· Offline and online transactions: as the business expands, do not keep on switching the merchants because they lack some of the services. It is essential to work with a merchant who will be able to help the retail business go online or offline.

· Fraud protection: ask the merchant about the ways they use so as to protect financial data because it is very sensitive.

· Funds processing time: it is important to have a predictable cash flow if you want business to prosper. You therefore need a provider who can tell you clearly how long it will take to clear the funds. This helps you avoid any surprises that can derail the operation of the business.

· Length of contract: this should also be put into consideration. For starters, a shorter contract is always better. You build on trust on the way and start looking at longer options.

Personal Finances Is All About Breaking Bad Habits And Creating New Ones

People are often tempted to give unsolicited advice to others about the best way to manage finances. You’ll come across ideas that work and get you places, but often people are offering up such generalized advice. Trying to put together bits of information and use it in a meaningful way is not usually the best plan, as some of the information may be flawed and other parts confusing.

How can you take good care of your money and your finances so that you do not end up frittering away your savings on things you don’t need?

Generally, the problem is that most people lack a good understanding of just how important saving for the future is. Most people are going to do everything else with their money first before they even think about saving. Although saving in this way is better than not saving at all, it is in fact a highly ineffective way to build any kind of financial independence or security.

Managing Your Personal Finances

If you want to save money for the future, you’ll want these tips to help you on your plan. Many people who practice these methods are surprised at how easy they are to follow.

Simply set aside 20% of your paycheck.

Just reverse your spending and saving habits, instead of putting away your savings after you spent what you thought you needed from your income. Take 20 percent of your earnings first and put it towards savings before spending it all. Make sure to deposit this money as soon as you get paid. Whatever is left after the 20 percent has been saved can then go to paying bills, buying groceries and even getting yourself a new pair of shoes.

This method ensures that you’ll have the cash on hand that you need for your future and helps you to be more effective when you develop your budget. It’s a good feeling when you know that you have cash on hand for emergencies.

Keep Things Simple

There are too many people who are going to look at the latest gadgets and get wooed. You cannot let others around you dictate what you are doing with the money that is in hand. You want to buy the latest iPhone, but there is something you must ask yourself. Think about it, do you really need to spend the money on one?

Is there something in the newer model that is not there in your present one? There is no shame in being rewarded with luxurious items, but you need to keep it under control. You should never forego important expenses to purchase luxuries, and your twenty percent savings rule mustn’t be violated.

You Want Cash Over Credit

Don’t fall for fancy credit card marketing. So many people end up with huge debt due to starting to buy small items using their credit cards. It’s easy to get lured into the trap that a $50 purchase won’t wreak financial damage in the future because it can be paid off within the month. Actually, once the billing cycle rolls around, you are probably like most people who just pay the minimum amount of money towards the bill, making that $50 dress cost close to $100 in interest.

Try to use cash whenever possible. Save your credit cards for emergencies only. Replacing your credit cards with debit cards is an even better idea if possible.

Taking charge of a budget and getting your finances in order is simple. You just need to create good new habits to replace the bad old ones.

Some Ways To Financial Freedom

1.Budget

The first thing that you’ll need to do to be on your way to financial freedom is to make a budget of your monthly income. If you’re married, you’ll have to sit down with your spouse and create a monthly budget based on your income and not what your expenses are since you’ll going to have to eliminate overspending. Even if you have to pay the minimum on your cards, you’ll want to have your income greater or equal to whatever expenses you have.

2.No more credit cards

Even though you have outstanding balances on credit cards, cut them up and throw them away. You won’t be using it anymore since all you’re going to do is pay it off and then concentrate on the next one and so on. If you see your credit cards in your wallet, you’re more likely to use them.

3.Create an emergency fund

As you’re paying down your debt, create an emergency account and try to save up to $1,000 as fast as you can. This will replace your need for a credit card in the case of an emergency, and remember that this is not free money to spend on everyday things and should only be used in the case of an emergency.

4.Get rid of debt

Once you create your emergency fund, it’s time to get serious about paying off your debt. Create a list of everything that you owe and list them from smallest to largest. Make minimum payments on all debts, except for the smallest loan on your list. You’ll want to pay this one off first so pay as much as you can until it’s gone. Once you’ve gotten rid of it, tackle the second loan of your list and then continue this process until you’ve gone down the list and are completely debt free.

The most effective method to Open A Fixed Deposit Account

In one sentence, this monetary item can be opened by means of an online record, a 15 minute visit to your ATM or a 30 minute visit to your closest bank office. These three channels of opening a settled deposit record are accessible today. How about we comprehend them better to utilize the most productive one for you.

Open a Fixed deposit Online

You can open an altered deposit on the web. On the off chance that you are a current client of the association, you can sign into your net-keeping money to open the altered deposit account. Then again, on the off chance that you don’t have a record with the specific bank or association, check in the event that they have an office to open the settled deposit account on the web. The average strategy incorporates opening the investment account and exchanging the assets from the bank account to a settled deposit plan of your decision. There are banks and different associations that offer this sort of process on the web.

Open a Fixed deposit Offline

This is the customary procedure of opening an altered deposit account. You visit the closest branch of the picked bank or the association – open an investment account and exchange the assets from that record in the FD. Be that as it may, these days, there is another technique accessible. You can likewise open a FD from a neighborhood ATM. Be that as it may, this plan is not accessible with each nationalized or co-agent bank. Select nationalized and private banks offer this administration to get higher number of FDs. However, it is as simple as money withdrawal.

Open a Fixed deposit with an organization

Indeed, even today, this procedure remains disconnected, for the most part in light of the fact that most organizations offer it temporarily period as it were. You have to submit many archives to begin this sort of a record. Since these associations utilize these assets as a business credit, they pay higher rate of intrigue. You can appreciate these profits to support you.

Every association offers an alternate bundle, however. While these online administrations offer the accommodation of doing the procedure from your home, you have to recognize the genuine estimation of this money related item before opening the record. Consider the accompanying criteria and pick the most reasonable item for your monetary necessities:

* Interest rate – The scope of financing costs for presumed settled deposit items is 8% to 10%.

* Premature withdrawal punishment – Though low or no punishment items are accessible, they are not the standard so far.

* Return choice – Though month to month, quarterly or yearly premium installments are accessible, the most smoking one is the reinvestment arrange as the aggravating premium enhances the aggregate returns.

About Ending the Debt Cycle

about-ending-the-debt-cycleTry not to give it a chance to cost you.

On the off chance that you credit 15,863 on a  intrigue Visa, your base funds owed would be 396.58 every month. On the off chance that you just paid the base funds to be paid of 396.58 every month, it would 388 installments to pay off the Visa obligation. At the end of the day, it would take you 32 years to pay off your obligation and at last you will have paid a sum of 23,215.69 worth of intrigue alone. Prepared for the great aggregate? Drum roll 38,898.69! Still think utilizing Mastercards are justified regardless of the accommodation?

Gain power.

Expel the credit cards from your wallet and don’t utilize them until your Visa obligation is ponied up all required funds. On the off chance that you can get up the quality, expel your credit card too. A check card can be a perilous trade for a Visa since it’s harder to remain mindful of what you are spending. Receive a money just arrangement.

Take Inventory.

Make a rundown of all your credit cards on a spreadsheet or a bit of paper. Beside every Mastercard record the funds receivable and loan fee. At that point include the greater part of your Visa adjusts and record the aggregate due at the base. This can be frightening, however monitoring the harms is a critical stride toward getting to be sans obligation.

Unite your credit cards.

Unite the greater part of your Mastercards to one low-loan cost credit card. Ideally a Mastercard with a  exchange credit. In the event that union is impossible, then concentrate on paying down the credit card with the most noteworthy financing cost to begin with, while keeping up the base installments on the rest of the Visas. Once the Visa with the most noteworthy loan fee is paid off, work on paying off the following Mastercard with the most noteworthy financing cost.

Try not to be modest.

Continuously pay more than the base money owed. In the event that reality, on the off chance that you can twofold the base money owed, you will pay off your obligation in a fraction of the time. In the event that you can’t pay twofold, dependably endeavor to pay as much as you can toward the remarkable adjust.

Try not to be late.

Make your installments on time to stay away from late credit and potential intrigue increments. Keep on making installments until the majority of your Visa obligation is forked over the required funds. Contingent upon your conditions this progression could take numerous years. Try not to surrender and penny squeeze as much as you can to escape this stage?

Say farewell.

Pick the best two Mastercards for crises by looking at loan costs, yearly expenses and advantages. Scratch off all residual Visas by calling the credit card guarantors and ensure you ask for cancelation letters. The two residual credit cards are to be utilized for genuine crises as it were.

Be readied.

Make a backup stash you can rely on upon by redirecting the assets once used to pay down your credit card obligation to an investment account that is FDIC guaranteed. Most monetary specialists feel you require no less than 6 months worth of crisis reserve funds, however considering the harm brought about by the Great Recession, you ought to make progress toward 12 months. The normal occupation assumes control one year to supplant and having a considerable secret stash is basic for your budgetary survival. Nobody comprehends what the following retreat will resemble, yet history has demonstrated that there will be another.

Keep control.

Set your very own Visa cutoff to keep control of your credit card parities. Despite the fact that the credit card guarantors may give you credit line in the thousands, it’s smart thought to set a point of confinement for yourself. Keep the farthest point sufficiently little that you can fork over the required funds each month. This keeps the credit card adjust from gaining out of power.

Is Invoice Finance a Credible Alternative to Bank Loans?

Invoice finance (IF) is not considered a credible source of finance among some business owners because of its relatively high cost and onerous terms. Is this perception justified? I will argue it is not with the introduction of single invoice finance.

What is invoice finance?

It is the sale of a company’s sales ledger for cash providing an ongoing source of cash as invoices are issued to customers by the company. The company might retain the collection of cash or transfer this and the associated credit risk, to the funder.

Some conventional IF facilities can impose numerous types of fees and charges, and require security and a commitment from the company to sell the its entire sales ledger to the finance company.

Some companies offer a refreshing financial alternative, offering to buy just a single invoice and charging as few as just one fee and generally offering a more flexible funding alternative.

What is single invoice finance?

As its name suggests, it is the purchase of one invoice for cash from a company. The company does not need to sell any further invoices so single invoice finance can be used by companies to raise cash as they need it. Also, they might not need to provide security such as a debenture or a personal guarantee.

Single or multiple IF are effective tools for cash management because they liquidate illiquid assets i.e., they convert debtors into cash. The cash realised can be reinvested by the company in profitable projects or used to pay back expensive debt.

Some borrowers might argue that on an annualised basis, the cost of invoice finance is high compared to a conventional loan. That comparison is like comparing apples to oranges because the two financing instruments work differently. A loan is a continuous source of finance whereas single invoice finance is discrete – providing finance for up to 90 days or less. Annualisation of the cost of invoice finance is not therefore consistent with its use.

Though the interest rate on a loan might look relatively attractive, the cost of arranging and administering it must also be factored in, such as the arrangement, commitment, non-utilisation, and exit fees, plus servicing charges and legal costs of documentation. There might also be costs to pursue and recover bad debts, or to pay for credit protection. Invoice finance has its own arrangement and administration costs that might be more or less than a bank loan.

Invoice finance is therefore a credible alternative to a loan because:

  • it converts a company’s debtors into cash that may then be reinvested to potentially generate positive return for the company.
  • the company can transfer debtor credit risk.
  • it avoids using up a bank’s limited credit capacity for a company and
  • it diversifies the company’s sources of funds so reducing its reliance on the banking sector.
  • companies can use it to raise cash as needed
  • security might not be needed