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One of the largest obstacles to owning an online business is simply getting started. We often make too many excuses about not having enough resources, knowledge or time. However, it is easier than every to build a website quickly and start an online business. In this post, we’ll give you five simple tips to get your online business started today.

Pick A Worthwhile Industry

The most successful businesses do something unique in their industry. You should choose an industry that you have some expertise. Even better, you should be able to offer something new, innovative or exciting to a target market. In order to get your online business running quickly, get a clear picture of your customer and pick an industry where you can truly stand out.

Select Your Branding Domain

Once you know which niche to join, it’s important to come up with a strong brand. The name of your website will define your impression to customers. In fact, they will remember you by the domain name you choose. While some people try to include industry terms and keywords, ensure that you domain has an element of branding for marketing purposes. Keep it short and relevant. People will remember you and visit your website often.

Choose A Website Builder

Next, you are ready to start building your website. There are many quick ways to build a website. Even if you don’t have any coding experience, you can make a website in just a few minutes using an easy website builder. Typically, the website builders come with a free trial or low cost introductory offer. Sign up for one and you’ll be ready to build a website quickly.

Design Your Website With Themes

After logging into your website builder, you have to design your website. Unlike classic web design, the platform will have dozens of website themes to choose from. You can simply design your website using existing themes. They look professional and are easily customizable. Just drag and drop pages, features or sections. In under an hour, you could have a professional looking site ready to go.

Publish Your Site Online

When your design is complete, prepare to publish your website online. You will need to ensure that your domain is properly configured. Usually, website builders give you the option to point your domain to their platform. Following these steps, your website can go live in just a few minutes or hours. Depending on where you bought the domain, the propagation can take some time. Once the servers are done updating, you can start making money online because your website is officially live for the world to see.

If you want to start your own business and make millions one day, the first step is developing a website. It can be tough to get past your fears. But, website builders make it easier than ever to get up and running quickly. After reading this post, you can quickly choose a market, brand your identity, sign up with a website builder and then design your site. Before you know it, you will have a live website with customers visiting it everyday.

The post How To Build A Website Fast To Make Money Online appeared first on My Journey to Millions.

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Imagine that after finishing speaking, you hear loud applause. You see the audience smiling and longing to ask questions.  The day after everyone at university or work knows about the topic you have presented and knows you as an excellent speaker. This dream is possible to be true. All you need is to follow several simple yet useful pieces of advice to succeed a presentation.

  1. Pay attention to the key points. When you prepare your presentation, think about the main question – what are the key points that the audience will remember? You should underline these points and pay your audience’s attention to them. Announce the most important points in the beginning and tell about them in the conclusion. The core message should be brief and focused.
  2. Show enthusiasm and interact with the audience. It is always difficult to relax and not to get nervous. Nonetheless, successful presenters often say that to be connected with people sitting in front of you is one of the most important things. Once you show your interest in the topic, you will gain the needed attention. Be honest; tell the audience your thoughts about the subject, and you will be listened to with interest.
  3. Concentrate your attention on interests of the public. Build your presentation taking into consideration the audience’s interests; think what they would like to learn. Take into account possible questions they can ask you after the presentation and include the answer in your topic. Use simple and not too long sentences to make the audience understand you better.
  4. Try to keep the eye contact and smile. It may seem easy to do, however, a lot of presenters do not follow this rule. Remember, that smiling and making the eye contact help the audience to stay in contact with you and your issue. You can feel less anxious when you realize that you give your presentation not to unknown people but to individuals who respond you. Before you start, check that the audience is able to see not only screen but you as well.
  5. Find a strong opening sentence. What you need to know is that the first phrase in your presentation is decisive. You must spark the interest of your audience and keep it till the very end. Use words of famous people, give an example of statistic, start by giving some historical facts or just tell your own story which led you to choose the particular theme. The audience wants to hear something original and fascinating.
  6. Tell stories and give live examples.  If you tell your personal story or a story from your own experience, the audience will respond you. Stories may help people remember your presentation and its details better. Provide the audience with examples, show images or graphs with statistics if necessary. That will also help to memorize your subject, especially for people with visual memory better developed.
  7. Use 10-20-30 method for the slideshow presentation. The rule belongs to Guy Kawasaki – Apple employee responsible for marketing. He recommends the following rules:
    1. Do not show more than 10 slides;
    2. Speak maximum 20 minutes;
    3. Apply 30-point characters for the text.  When you put large characters on one slide, it will not be possible to write a lot of information on it. That will prevent the audience from reading all the time from slides instead of listening to your speech. In general, your slides should not contain more information than you give and they must be expressed commonly. If you want to provide the audience with more information, distribute files after you have finished.
  8. Your voice is one of the most important keys for better presentation. Only a spoken word would not be efficient to deliver a speech. It operates only with one of five senses. This is the reason why you must use some visual support. Nonetheless, your spoken word will be better if you change the intonation, the quality of your voice, if you will use pauses properly, and speak with the right accentuation.
  9. Use gestures too. As it is known, we use three-quarters of non-verbal communication while speaking. It means that your gestures are necessary and indispensable in delivering information to your audience. Make sure that your gestures correspond to the information you give, but do not exaggerate. Better not to cross your arms or hold your hands behind the back as well as in pockets. Just relax, be open, confident, and let your gestures be natural as if you speak to your friend. It will be great if you move around the stage; do not stay in one place.
  10. Try to relax and enjoy the experience of your presentation. If you still worry a lot and afraid to forget something, just try to relax. Concentrate the attention on your breathing. Once you feel better, start your presentation. The audience will feel your courage and easiness. People will respond you and perceive better.

You have read about ten indispensable tips on how to create a professional presentation online. We wish you successful performance and loud applause!

The post 10 Ways to Make Your Presentation Stand out from the Crowd appeared first on My Journey to Millions.

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To say it has been a crazy freaking month would be an understatement and we are only 11 days deep! As an additional way of funding this account, I sell puts and January was an amazing month (outlined below), but I quickly learned some important lessons about maintenance requirements.  As of the writing of this post (and hopefully it doesn’t age well) this account, well every account, is down hard.  But let’s not focus on the bad for now, let’s talk about the moves made in January.

My January 2018 Undervalued Dividend Growth Purchase

After screening the dividend champion list for possibly undervalued stocks I ended up with the following watch list,

  • Aflac – AFL
  • Chesapeake Financial – CPKF
  • Computer Services – CSVI
  • NACCO Industries – NC
  • Target – TGT
  • Weyco Group – WEYS

But with the start of the new year I wanted to add something new and probably something a tad ‘riskier’ in terms of market cap since I just took that restriction away.  So that eliminated AFL and TGT (which I just bought some more AFL and just got out of my TGT legacy puts I sold).  That left me with CPKF, CSVI, NC and WEYS.  I eliminated CPKF because my current portfolio is pretty heavy financials (with positions in CFR and CTBI).  So down to CSVI, NC and WEYS.

First stock I looked at was NACCO:

Woah, look at that drop! I did some digging and it had to do with a sale of one of their businesses.  I decided against doing further research to determine whether this was a good thing or a bad thing unless it was a last resort (i.e. the other 2 were not good purchases)

The next one I looked at was CSVI I immediately saw how thinly it was traded.  The average volume was 3,150 shares/day.  I don’t know enough about the company to deal with that kind of lack of liquidity.

That left me with WEYS vs NC. I immediately liked WEYS when I read the description

Weyco Group, Inc. is engaged in the design and distribution of footwear. The Company designs and markets footwear for men, women and children. The Company operates through two segments: the North American wholesale segment (wholesale) and the North American retail segment (retail). The Company also has other wholesale and retail businesses overseas, which include its businesses in Australia, South Africa and Asia Pacific (collectively known as Florsheim Australia), and its wholesale and retail businesses in Europe (Florsheim Europe). Its products consist of leather dress shoes and casual footwear composed of man-made materials or leather. In addition, the Company offers outdoor boots, shoes and sandals. As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s shoes were marketed throughout the United States and Canada in over 10,000 shoe, clothing and department stores. As of December 31, 2016, the retail segment consisted of 13 Company-operated stores and an Internet business in the United States.

Then I went to the Wikipedia page

The company focuses on two business segments in North America: wholesale and retail. The business entails mid-priced leather dress shoes; synthetic and leather casual footwear; outdoor boots, shoes, and sandals. Its wholesale customers are footwear, department, and specialty stores primarily in the United States and Canada. As of June 2015, it had 16 company-owned retail stores in the United States in addition to an internet business. For 2014, the company posted overall net sales of $320.5 million of which $243.4 million came from wholesale in North America and $23.3 million from North American retail

Emphasis is mine – I have been into the idea lately that even if amazon is destroying retail businesses there are still brands that they sell at a wholesale level.

The date of purchasing my first position in WEYCO

  • P/E – 20.06 vs 20.20
  • Payout Ratio – 54%
  • ROE 8.39 vs 7.58%
  • P/B – 1.67 vs 1.76

Not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to margin of safety (when compared to industry averages) but I like the qualitative description above so, I opened up with a single lot purchase ($500) at 16 shares at $31.75.

My Dividend Income for January 2018

It was a pretty quiet month for dividends:

  • CB – $3.55
  • BEN – $5.18
  • CTBI – $14.89
  • PPL – $6.11

$29.73 in total.

My Put Option Income for January 2018

I absolutely killed it this month! I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up this type of output/income month in and month out.  Hell, 8 days into February and even the slightest hint of a bear market and I took a tumble.  Had I been a tad less aggressive at the end of January I probably could have a made a killing the past few days instead of just trying to keep my head of water.

My Put Option Income totaled $1,101.86! I am extremely proud of that number as it is active investing on my part and gives me hope that I could maybe one day have a system in place that could provide that type of income month in and month out.

The post Undervalued Dividend Portfolio Update For January 2018 appeared first on My Journey to Millions.

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That you run a small online business does not mean you are not open to cyber attack. As long as you do business on the internet, there are many ways your business can be compromised. It is therefore important that you take proactive steps to mitigate these risks and make sure you and your business are safe on the internet.

Steps to Protect Your Small Online Business

The follow steps will help you reduce the vulnerability of your system and help you make your business safe.

Monitor and protect the use of computer equipment and systems

The first place to begin is with your computer security. To protect yourself from computer and data breach, it is important that your computer systems, operating systems and browsers are well secure. Ensure that you have the most recent updates for your systems as these will automatically detect and secure security loopholes.

Protect important information

To safeguard your business from vulnerability, certain information should be protected as best as possible. Use encryption for customer information, financial details and other sensitive information sent and received over your website. Encryption helps reduce the risk of your data being stolen or tampered with.

Manage administrative passwords

Attackers can gain access to your infrastructure with the aid of an administrative password. Ensure that you change your systems’ default passwords to something unique and consider completely disabling unnecessary administrative access to avoid intrusion. These should be used across all resources you use for your business.

Choose strong passwords

A strong password will significantly improve your digital security. This is why you should consider using a CLU strategy when creating your passwords as these are more secure and can prevent your system from being hacked.

Another good idea is to change your system regularly. You can use a password manager to securely store your passwords for easy use.

Use spam filters

While spam messages may not put your out of business, it can make it difficult for you to get work done. You will spend time filtering between legitimate business emails and spam. Use a spam filter to reduce the amount of phishing and spam emails that passes in through your network. This will reduce the chances of you or your employee opening a phishing email by mistake.

Educate your staff to be safe online

One of the most common reasons for vulnerability in a company’s computer system is employee error. Sometime, plugging in an infected USB flash drive can open up your business to security exploits. It is therefore best to keep your employees updated on potential risks and train them on ways to avoid them.

Put security measures in place

In the event that you are a victim of a cyber attack, there is the possibility that you can lose all your important data, everything you have worked hard for could go away in a blink. It is therefore advisable to have other options for securing your information, such as constant backup to cloud storage.

Protect your customers

It is essential that you protect your customers from identity theft, fraud and every other kind of online vulnerability. If you accept any form of payment on your website, make sure it meets Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) by using an SSL encryption.

Protect yourself -Keep yourself informed about the latest cyber security risks

Even after implementing the above steps, you still need a way to secure yourself and your business from any liability that might occur as a result of a cyber attack. Cyber insurance will help you deal with the fallout of a security breach and get your business back on track.

Online fraud and data security are major problems with online businesses. It is important that you stay informed on the latest security breaches and ways to avoid them.

The post Are You At Risk? Here are 4 Steps to Protect Your Small Online Business appeared first on My Journey to Millions.

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With the first month done in 2018 it is time to update my net worth spreadsheet.  Writing this introduction prior to updating the spreadsheet, my gut is telling me that it is not going to be a good month for a few reasons.  The first is because The Wife’s new business is now underway with payments going out, but few payments coming in (yet).  The second reason is that The Wife and I stepped up our travel game – going up to ski in Vermont with really good friends, booking Mexico for our family and Ireland just for us two for our 10 year anniversary. Most of the payments came from our vacation fund, but nonetheless there were incidentals that put pressure on the net worth for the month (not that I would make any other decisions).  The last reason, is that I paid my January mortgage payment in December to get the interest deduction in 2017 so that forced reduction in debt won’t appear herein.

My Net Worth Calculation

Creating a net worth statement is pretty simple.  All one has to do is honestly add up your assets and minus your liabilities.  If you build your net worth calculation on lies, what’s the point of even doing the exercise?  I know calculating my net worth helps me keep track of my decreasing liabilities while seeing if my investments are growing like they should be.

My Assets

My assets are pretty simple:

  • Emergency Fund – It is a little less than where I would like it, but I don’t calculate it in terms of monthly expenditures.  Rather I think to myself how much cash would I really need if an emergency happens.
  • My Dividend Growth Account – I am finally back into undervalued dividend growth investing and I am very excited to share my screens and purchases!
  • My Wife’s Roth IRA – Nothing special – just a mixture of cheap index funds and individual companies that capture my attention.  I have started to sell covered calls within this account.  Just boosts my investment capital – small (read: very tiny) droplets of capital I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
  • My 401(k) – My 401(k) is terrible with high fees for garbage mutual funds, but where else am I getting a match on my money.  I am not one to turn down free cash.  I decided earlier this year that I was going to change my allocation to brace for the inevitable bear market, I am going to continue to accumulate cash for at least a month or two in 2018.
  • Wife’s Mutual Funds – This was an amount that was given to my wife from her deceased grandparents.  They were horribly mismanaged until I stepped in, putting them in low expense vanguard mutual funds.  She and I both look at this account as a super emergency fund.
  • My House – This is the first year after buying the house for 4 years where I increased the value of the home.  I increased it a nominal 3% in 4 years.  I don’t plan on reviewing this dead money asset for another year or two.  I also just took out a HELOC but haven’t used any of it.
  • My Traditional IRA – Just a few stocks that have captured my attention. Similar to my wife’s Roth IRA I will often sell covered calls on holdings to generate nominal amounts of cash flow.
  • Investment Account with my Brother – The Wife and my brother invested a nominal amount ($1,200 each) to try and give my brother confidence with his stock picking ability.  This was shut down in December.  It was an interesting experiment.
  • Wife’s Business – NEW – Just going to value this at the cash that is on the books at the end of every month.  There won’t be a distribution for quite sometime, so hopefully, there is a nice trend upwards.
  • Physical Gold – I decided that I would buy a small amount of physical gold every month or two from basically now on.
  • Crytocurrency Account – I recently bought a tiny amount of Bitcoin.  By the time my initial payment cleared bitcoin had dropped 40%.  I am not exactly sure what I am going to do with this account just yet.  Right now I am going to ignore it.
My Liabilities
  • My Law School Loans – Despite being almost 35 years old I have a significant amount of law school loans left. They are locked in at 3.5%, so what’s the rush to pay them off?
  • My Mortgage – I live on Long Island (and it’s on, not in) so the odds of me ever prepaying this down, especially with a 3.375% 30yr fixed is unrealistic.
  • Credit Cards – My favorite card is my American Express Premier Gold Card, whose fee I fight every year.  I also have some minor outstanding balances that I’ll just pay down slowly.
  • My HELOC – A good portion of it was to capitalize The Wife’s Business.  I hope to create a realistic payback schedule in a few months when we get use to running the business.
My Net Worth Increase/Decrease

Despite all the spending above and The Wife’s business growing pains my investment gains in my 401(k) and dividend growth portfolio completely covered the negatives plus some obviously.  I am extremely happy with this number!

How was your month?

The post February 2018 Net Worth Update appeared first on My Journey to Millions.

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So you need a new car, but your credit rating is less than stellar. There are all sorts of reasons that your credit score might be struggling, some of which might not be your fault at all. But to get the best deal and to not be taken advantage of, you need to know how to play the game and get what you want for the price you deserve without taking your credit rating or score into consideration.

Just because you might not have the best credit rating out there, that does not mean that you should allow yourself to take out a super high-risk loan or pay for used vehicles far more than they’re  worth. These six strategies are the best way to get yourself the car you want – at a price you can afford – without putting yourself in a bad financial position.

Don’t let someone take advantage of you

A poor credit rating may or may not be your fault. Sometimes just not having any established credit history can negatively impact your score. But that does not mean that you have to take whatever it is that someone is offering you. Before you sign on the dotted line for your car,  make sure to check out all of your financing options. What one auto financier will offer might be totally different from another. If you don’t check around, you won’t ever know.

Try different avenues

There are many different ways to finance a car. If you have a rapport with your traditional lending institution, then it makes sense to see what they will offer you. But they are by no means your only option in town. If you go the dealership financing route, they will have a plethora of financing options to explore, so don’t get caught up on just one offer without shopping around and comparing all of your other financing options.

Stay familiar

If you do have a relationship with your banking institution, then it might behoove you to try them first. If you have an employer or someone else who will take a chance on lending you money, don’t discount other people who might be willing to lend you the money to get the car that you want or need to be successful and to get to and from work. Explore more avenues than just the traditional ones.

Try them all

Don’t stop with your local bank – or even the dealership – once you have found the car you want. There are many resources online to help you finance your loan. If you research enough, you would be amazed at how many different places you can find to get you the money you need, with an interest rate you can be happy about and repayment terms that won’t put you into the red.

Find other people who will invest in you

Sometimes if you don’t have established credit, you can have other people help to carry your loan. If you know that you can make the payments and are a credible person, then consider asking a more economically-established person in your life to cosign a loan for you. As long as you make the payments they bear no responsibility, but they might be able to help you get the opportunity to drive away in the car you want without putting any hardship on anyone.

Consider all your options

Sometimes getting financing is about being open to different repayment terms and time limits. As long as you ensure that there aren’t any penalties for paying early, then you can take out longer terms to fit your budget and just pay more when you can. If you are able to negotiate the amount you can pay monthly, you might find someone to finance your car purchase over time and take a chance on you. The best-case scenario is that you can pay it off way faster than they thought.

If you have no credit or poor credit, there is still the possibility that you can finance a car if you do your research and are willing to think outside the box. If you can adjust your payment schedule to fit into what a finance company will lend you, that might be another option. Fear not – where there is a will, there is almost always a way to purchase a new or used car.

The post 6 Strategies For Buying A Car When You Have A Poor Credit Rating appeared first on My Journey to Millions.

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Doesn’t it feel like a new marketing trend emerges every day? The truth is that they’re changing almost at the same rate as technology and online user behavior evolves, and it’s your job as a marketer to keep pace with them.

Staying on top of these shifts is paramount if you want to remain successful and relevant. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, VR, voice search – which of these tools can you use to your advantage in 2018? Almot every digital channel is bound to get a makeover this year, and you must be ready to embrace the change and adapt to it.

The beginning of the new year is the perfect time to analyze some of the upcoming marketing and reputation management trends to determine what you need to do to make your business successful in 2018. So, here’s a list that you should bookmark.

  1. Social Media, But Not in the Way You’d Expect

You already know at least one person who casually admits they get their news on Facebook. Well, that’s not a solitary case. 67% of sAmerican adults said they get at least some of their news on social media, and if you think that has nothing to do with marketing, think again.

Users now prefer sharing news content on social media rather than on other channels, or at least news connected to a social issue they’re interested in. While Instagram remains less news-centric and more focused on #foodporn and #goals, other networks like Twitter and Facebook will be changing a lot in 2018.

For marketers, it means they’ll have to use these platforms differently if they expect any engagement. Don’t necessarily think to market your ads as pieces of news, but the content you share in 2018 could use at least some informative value to hit their target.

  1. Influencers Are Stronger Than Ever

If you’ve been on the fence about social media influencers in 2017, now’s the time to strike a deal with one.

But, here’s the twist: instead of choosing someone just for their online influence, you should find someone who is truly representative of your brand. That’s right, 2018 is all about influencer authenticity, and you need to market your endorsement without them being overtly endorsed.

Make sure to create a relationship with your influencer before going public. The posts need to reflect that friendship and not be solely promotional, so look for someone who genuinely likes your products.

  1.               Video Is the King

Consumers carry a screen with them in their pocket everywhere they go. Not to mention that most jobs today require them being glued to one for a couple of hours.

It’s why you need content that will take advantage of the hyper-connected world. But since you’re also competing for your audience’s attention with other companies, you may wonder what it will take to catch their eye?

The answer is simple: videos.

You can use this medium to get your brand directly to potential customers, as long as you understand that not every moving picture will do the trick. Video has the unique ability not only to send a message but to convey specific emotions as well. Get your audience to feel something when they watch your content, and you’ll see an increase in engagement.

  1. Chatbots Are Taking Over

You’ve seen them around for years, and no matter what your personal feelings about chatbots are, your sales team isn’t the only one who’ll be using them in 2018.

AI technology is improving, and you’ll witness chatbots being a lot more present in company’s marketing strategy. For one thing, some brands have already started integrating them into customer support. In fact, in just a couple of years, most of your customer interactions may be managed by them. They are available 24/7, don’t need to take a break, and can collect and use data to keep your customers happy.

Start Planning Now

Chances are you’ve planned your 2018 calendar since last year, but if you only stick with what you’ve learned so far, you might see numbers go down.

Of course, there’s no telling exactly how this year will take shape, but you can count on these four points to be a lot more widespread than they might have been thus far.

 

The post 4 Trends That Will Shape the Marketing Industry in 2018 appeared first on My Journey to Millions.

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If you ordered a free credit report recently and it reflects a financial history that is less than sterling, it is important to remember that it is never too late to improve your spending habits. Even if you find yourself carrying a substantial amount of debt, there are ways to pay off your loans and credit cards more efficiently. From opening new lines of credit wisely to communicating with your lenders when times get tough, committing to new and improved financial habits can boost your credit score, earning power, and ease the worry you may feel over your current debt.

Be Conservative About Your Available Credit

One way to improve how you use credit is to be conservative in using your credit cards. Think about the balances you currently carry on one or more cards and consider how close you are to reaching the maximum allowed. If you are only a few hundred dollars away from your max, then you may want to think about pulling these cards out of your wallet and leaving them at home, out of sight, until you carry a lower balance. Using all your available credit can reduce the chances of you securing an auto or home loan, and a credit refusal can negatively impact your credit score.

Leaving your credit cards at home when you go shopping can help you lower the overall balance you owe. When you avoid using your credit card for impulse purchases, you also duck interest charges on any purchases you fail to pay off by the end of the month. Use cash or debit cards to pay for everyday purchases, such as fuel and groceries, and pay more toward your credit card’s principal to lower the balance faster.

Work to Live Within Your Means

Many Americans find themselves in over their heads with credit because they use credit cards and loans to live beyond their means. Spending the limit on credit cards, taking out auto loans that have high interest rates and inflated monthly payments, and spending before monthly debts are paid can all ruin your credit in less than a year. Revising your budget can help you see where most of your money is going; however, this may not help if you do not work to change your spending habits first.

As you revise your budget, note what you spend on loans and credit card payments each month, then compare the total cost of these payments to your monthly net pay. If the former exceeds the latter, then you might want to work to change how you spend your money. Use cash or apps that debit money directly from your checking account, move loans to a lender that reduce your payments and interest rates, and track payment due dates carefully to avoid causing late payments that can lower your credit rating.

Understand Hard vs. Soft Credit Inquiries

When you apply for a loan, check your credit score, or are turned down for credit, all these actions can affect your credit in different ways. You may not even be aware of the consequences until you view your credit score and are surprised to find it is not as high as you thought. Understanding what might lower your credit score or hurt your chances of securing loans or a line of credit in the future may help you change bad habits before you take any further action.

An important factor in understanding what affects your credit is understanding the difference between hard and soft credit inquiries. Hard inquiries are usually reported when you apply for credit, no matter whether you qualify. Soft inquiries are usually caused by other people or companies who investigate your credit past, such as a prospective landlord or employer. While these inquiries might be reported, they usually have no effect on your credit score. Be aware of causing hard credit inquiries and only apply for credit when necessary.

Communicate With Your Lenders

The loss of a job, a death in the family, and other unexpected events can derail even the most financially-responsible individual. Should this happen and you fall behind on loan or credit card payments, take a cue from Don Gayhardt, the CEO of CURO Financial Technologies Corp, who fosters open communication as a part of his management style. Contact your lenders and discuss your situation instead of ducking phone calls and ignoring warning letters, as this may make the problem more difficult to repair once collection agencies get involved.

Being honest with your lenders can help them realize your willingness to pay what you owe, and they may even work with you to revise your current payment plan. Others may be willing to waive late fees, especially if you have a positive payment history with them. Keeping lines of communication open can prevent your credit from crumbling.

Establishing or developing new positive credit habits can help you raise your credit score and help ease financial stress. It may take some effort, but the rewards of staying on track with these habits may well be worth it the next time you need to use credit.

The post Effective Strategies for Improving Your Credit Habits appeared first on My Journey to Millions.

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I was on twitter today when I came across an interesting article about people actually bragging about their 401(k) balances  and it got me to thinking about those financial topics that are fair game to discuss publicly, and those that are still taboo except behind a moniker online.

My experience may be a bit different than most since I work in a financial planning office, so I am surrounded by the market, investments, estate planning and the balance sheets of high net worth individuals daily (if not hourly).

Financial Topics that Almost No One Wants to Talk About

Absolutely no one wants to talk about how much they make.  I cringe at the very thought of talking about how much I make with friends and family.  For some reason compensation seems like a taboo topic for almost everyone – even public employees where you can literally look up everything (in New York the site is – http://seethroughny.net/payrolls/). What I find very interesting is that most people are comfortable talking about how much they don’t make.  Of course there are levels, if someone makes $50k they are very comfortable saying, “it isn’t like I make $120k” and if someone makes $200k they seem to be very comfortable saying it isn’t like they make $400k…all the way up.

No one wants to talk about the amount of debt they have.  People have debt, like a lot of it.  Credit card debt just hit another record high,

The average American has a credit card balance of $6,375, up nearly 3 percent from last year, according to Experian’s annual study on the state of credit and debt in America. Total credit card debt has reached its highest point ever, surpassing $1 trillion in 2017, according to a separate report by the Federal Reserve.

I am sure those with revolving debt skew the average, but that means you know someone that is likely skewing the average!

No one wants to talk about how much help they  may receive from family and/or trusts.  This one at least makes sense, but it is still something no one seems to talk about.  Again, it is a topic people that people are very comfortable in saying that they don’t get outside help.  I live in a particular area of the country where the help has to be rampant (either that or they are the ones skewing the above debt).

The big one – Net Worth!  My guess is that most people don’t actually know their net worth, but even if they did it would not be a topic to share.

Should These Topics Be Open for Discussion?

I am not advocating that any of the above topics should be discussed at your next dinner party.  I just find it odd in a world where people share almost everything online these topics are still so taboo.

What is my list missing?

The post Why are Some Financial Topics Off Limits? appeared first on My Journey to Millions.

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Dogs are truly man’s best friend and are often treasured members of a family. However, with this gift of lifelong companionship, there also comes a lot of responsibility. Below we explore some questions you can ask yourself and your family before making the commitment to purchasing a pup.

Are you Financial Ready?

Dogs are a huge financial commitment. Not only are you purchasing the dog for a large sum of money, you also have to pay for its maintenance and every day living. To purchase a puppy you are looking at spending anywhere from $500- $2,000 typically. You have to purchase every day living essentials for them such as collars, leashes, toys, beds and gates to keep them safe and happy. Dogs require frequent medical attention for vaccines and flea/tick prevention. This can add up each month. There are insurance companies that offer pet insurance to help with this expense, but this is an added monthly expense to your budget. These types of financial burdens should be considered before committing to purchasing your puppy. Unless you think you will win the lottery or have good luck on games like live casino, this financial commitment needs to be considered. Obviously most are happy to spend it for their companions but the question as to if you have the money is what you should really consider.

Do you have the right Family dynamic?

Dogs are family members too and it needs to be considered if they will fit in. Do you have young children that could become an issue? Is the dog a breed that works well with children? Are you away from your home often? Dogs need a lot of attention and love so if you are not home enough for them, they may become more of a burden than a welcomed member of the family. Is everyone on board with getting the dog? Every family member needs to help to make sure they are a good fit for you. There are many questions to consider when trying to examine if a puppy will work with your family dynamic, but the most important is to just make sure both you and the puppy will be happy with him being there.

Do you have support from others?

As previously stated, it takes a village to own a dog. It is important that you have others who support you in your decision and can help you with the dog from time to time. There will be times that you will need help. Especially if  you are going out of town, you will need someone to watch them. Or if you have a long day planned and need someone to stop in or watch the puppy for a bit. These situations will occur so it is important you have the support.

Please be sure to ask yourself these questions before getting a dog for you and your family. They are a huge commitment and deserve the thoughtful consideration.

The post Is Your Family Ready for a Dog? appeared first on My Journey to Millions.

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