Category Archives: Finance

Reasons Lease Equipment

There are numerous benefits of leasing, a method of financing equipment which has been popular for many years. It provides some very unique benefits over conventional bank financing or an outright purchase, and here are 20 reasons to lease equipment.

1. Pay As You Use

Leasing highlights the utility value of the equipment. In other words, leasing provides the opportunity to pay for equipment as it is generating revenue for the company. No different than paying employees bi-weekly or monthly as opposed to pre-paying them for the next 2 or 3 years of work. Both are assets of the company, and it makes no sense to pre-pay for either.

2. Payments Are Fixed

In most cases, lease payments are fixed for the duration of the term. This has a major advantage over conventional bank loans or purchases from a credit where the interest rate are commonly based on a floating rate. Knowing in advance what the payments will be, facilitates ease of budgeting and reduces interest rate risk.

3. Longer Terms / Lower Payments

Many banking institutions will limit the term of a loan to 12or 24 months, at which time the rate and terms of the loan are re-negotiated. Based on the useful life of the equipment being leased, it is not uncommon the see fixed lease terms as long as 48 or 60 months. This in effect lowers the monthly payment at a fixed rate.

4. Obsolescence Protection

In this era of major technological advances, certain types of equipment purchased today, can be obsolete within one or two years. Most leases offer a provision to economically upgrade equipment within the last year of the lease contract thus giving the company a built in obsolescence protection. In addition, although the leasing company holds title to the equipment, the will generally allow the vendor to provide a trade in on the existing equipment.

5. No Down Payment

Conventional banking institutions will generally require a down payment of 10%-25% in order to undertake financing on most equipment. In a lease transaction, the entire amount is financed with only the first or first and last payment being required at the time of lease inception. In some cases where the financial strength of the company is not sufficient to support the amount being leased, a small down payment may be required.

Benefits of Novated Leasing

Here are a few of the benefits of novated leasing:

1. This type of leasing system is designed to let the employer take payments for the car and upkeep from the employee’s pre-taxable salary. This is useful for cutting the taxable salary and also to lower the income tax that will be due throughout the year. Also, the lease can include added expenses on top of the main lease repayment, such as running costs like servicing, registration and fuel. So it is possible to rely on the pre-tax salary to pay for these day-to-day costs and perhaps help lower the taxable income further. In the event that any funds set aside for running costs aren’t used up, there is the option to have this money returned to the employee.

2. For many employers, the option to offer novated leasing can provide a cost-effective and simple method to add significant value to an employment package. This is certain to make a company more appealing when it comes to staff retention or recruitment.

3. It is a practical alternative to a company running a fleet of their own vehicles. In the event the employee leaves the company, the lease and future payments or obligations will leave with them. This helps to remove a lot of the burden a company has to manage and maintain a large number of vehicles.

Disadvantages

Beyond the wide-ranging benefits of novated leasing, there are also a few disadvantages of this particular type of car financing. For instance, the tax benefits can vary with the different individuals. It is typically more favorable for the employees on the higher tax bands. There are lease companies that will which say which dealership can be used for purchasing the car. This can limit the general choice of vehicle and also the ability to negotiate the price. Also, the lease agreements contain a variety of clauses that should be read and fully understood before taking things further.

 

Mistakes Most Investors Make

Many investors have unknowingly scattered their assets, resulting in no one person managing or fully understanding their entire situation, goals or dreams. Without comprehensive planning, there actually is no plan at all.

1. Improper Asset Allocation

Most investors have their assets dispersed with several advisors and several financial firms. No single advisor knows what the other is doing resulting in an uncoordinated portfolio. One advisor in firm A might be selling the very asset that an advisor in firm B is buying. Unless there is one coach reviewing the entire portfolio, then your money is not coordinated. Your asset allocation should always reflect your current position in life, your current goals, future, feelings and family characteristics. When your hard earned money is scattered to other advisors and institutions, you alone are left to properly manage your portfolio. Many individuals are not trained to monitor this correctly and consistently. Unfortunately, the overall plan suffers.

2. Improper Correlation Within Investments, Managers and Funds

Without saying, each investment needs to be excellent on its own. The investment, manager, or mutual fund needs to have a strong track record. You might be able to select quality investments. That’s not the problem. Where the breakdown occurs is knowing how these investments interrelate. This is nearly impossible to track when one advisor is doing one thing, and a different advisor is doing just the opposite. Let’s think about a recipe analogy. You might have the best ingredients to make your favorite dish. You might even have quality chefs at your beck and call, ready to make this dish for you. If you put all of these chefs in the same kitchen, but don’t let them know what the other is doing, a culinary disaster awaits. You can see that the likelihood of your dish coming out correctly is very low, no matter how good the ingredients were. Same is true with your investment portfolio.

3. Failure to Monitor the Consolidated Portfolio

You know life is not static. Life is constantly changing. Whether it’s your job, children, the economy, world events, new laws, unplanned expenses, your world constantly moves. Your entire portfolio needs to be dynamic as well. When market forces move, the properly managed portfolio needs to move with it. I am not talking about day-trading, but rebalancing when and where appropriate. Additionally, your goals, future, feelings and family characteristics are changing as well. Every day is either a day closer to your goals, or not. Having your assets scattered makes it nearly impossible to properly monitor your portfolio based on your changing life. With the technology and tools available, along with the new open architecture available at full service financial institutions, you are better off hiring one advisor to help you monitor your portfolio. This trusted advisor will coordinate all of your eggs and not put them in the same basket.

In conclusion, years ago, many firms were limited to the solutions they could individually bring to the client. Many had their own proprietary funds or investments, which may or may not have been in your best interest. Today, full service firms have an open architecture and are able to go out into the market place and bring any solution to you that is appropriate. For your strong consideration, only hire an advisor who can go anywhere in the marketplace without limitation!

 

Auto Lending

Most people who buy a new or pre-owned vehicle from a dealership choose to finance their purchase rather than paying cash upfront. While this makes financial sense for most people, making a mistake while negotiating the terms of an auto loan can end up costing the borrower a lot of money.

1. Credit reports sometimes contain mistakes.

People with lower credit scores often must pay higher interest rates on loans, so anyone considering borrowing money should become very familiar with his or her credit report. Sometimes mistakes happen. These errors should be fixed before meeting with a lender. Some shoppers might even find that dishonest lenders may try to claim their scores are lower than they actually are. Being familiar with all three reports could give the borrower additional negotiating power and save a lot of money in the long run.

2. Shop around for the best deal on an auto loan.

Although dealerships often advertise low-APR specials, those rates are usually reserved for borrowers with the best credit. Many people will find better terms at a credit union or an online or community bank. If the borrower gets prequalified at a bank, they will be in a better position to negotiate at the car dealership without being legally bound by any agreement with the bank. Bonus tip: Any credit inquiries within the same two-week period will only count as one inquiry when affecting a report.

3. Some lenders will take advantage of subprime borrowers.

Some dishonest lenders will offer high-interest loans to drivers with poor credit, and as soon as the driver misses a payment, the dealership will confiscate the car and resell it. Defaulting on a loan will do additional damage to already bad credit, so borrowers should be sure they can afford payments before agreeing to a loan. Even subprime borrowers should shop around for the best APR. Auto lending requirements are usually lower than mortgage requirements, so shoppers should check to make sure they are getting the best deal.

 

Planning and Achieving Financial Fitness

The complex nature of financial planning means that everyone would require a financial plan tailor-made to suit their unique financial positions and circumstances. While it is impossible to do so with an article, we can give you the next best thing – an overview of the steps taken to become financially fit.

Step 1: Settling Debts

Financial planning is always complicated, so allow me to tell you a story to simplify this subject. The same applies to your bank loans. The quicker you settle your debt, the less interest you have to pay. Hence, the first step of financial planning should always be to settle all debts as soon as possible so that you can start building and accumulating wealth. By the same token, avoid rolling over your credit card balance and avoid using unsecured credit lines. Many people unwittingly bleed financially from their over-reliance of easy credit.

Step 2: Build a Safety Net

One of the reasons why financial planning is so complicated is because life is a series of wild cards. Car breakdowns, theft, layoffs, fire, flood, hospitalisation – there are a number of events that could hinder your plans to grow your wealth, for example, if you are planning to invest in fixed deposits or invest in real estate.These avenues are less flexible and you may not be able to access the funds locked up in them in the event of an emergency. Even if you are able to unlock them,you’d have to incur some form of financial penalty. And that brings me back to the second step of planning for financial fitness. A safety net is a sum of readily available fund that is set aside specifically to cushion emergencies. As such, you should steer clear from using that fund, regardless of how much you want that new phone or what discounts the Great Singapore Sale is offering. Note that you may set aside another sum of money for entertainment purposes or for occasional splurging, but your safety net should be separated from these other funds.

Health insurance is another safety net you need to consider. Medical bills are not getting any cheaper, and huge unforeseen medical bills have been known to wipe out entire savings, so do prepare, I mean, insure yourself adequately. Another issue you may wish to take note when planning for this step is that the amount needed for a safety net differs across individuals and families. Due to the fact that there are many incidents – such as layoffs, major illnesses or accidents – that halt your income, some financial experts state that your safety net should be able to cover your expenses for at least 6 months. Others, however, claim having a safety net that covers 2 months of expenses is plenty. Planning your finances with the help of a financial consultant can help you determine the amount you need to set aside for your safety net. While you’re talking to your financial consultant, you can also have them get you the appropriate life insurance or medical insurance to protect yourself and reduce your exposure to large medical bills.

 

Tips to Get the Credit No Money Down Auto Loan

Imagining a world without a car seems quite impossible. A car has become a necessity that is integral to our lives. Sorrowfully, many car buyers find themselves in a state of mayhem due to the compulsion of making a down payment. A down payment makes it difficult for car buyers to arrange a big amount of money in a short time-frame. To add to that, there is a possibility that a bad credit score or an average credit score can diminish the chances of obtaining an auto loan. However, there is always a way out. A bad credit no money down auto loan is the best option for you. But, before you avail the loan, make sure that you leave no stone unturned to educate yourself on all the important details.

The following tips will assist you in getting the most of your bad credit no money down auto loan:

1) Trade-In Your Old Car

Many a times, trading your old car can act as a replacement for a down payment. Once you have agreed to trade-in your old car, the amount equivalent to your car will be deducted from the total loan amount. It substantially reduces your burden of the monthly payment amount. Thus, by trading your old car, you can maximize the benefits of your bad credit no money down auto loan.

2) Get a Co-Signer

When you suffer from a damaged credit and cannot spare the amount for a down payment, getting a co-signer greatly helps your situation. If you are unable to make payments, a co-signer is equally liable to repay the loan amount. A lender will be more likely to grant you a loan if you have a co-signer with a rich credit history. Therefore, in order to make the most of your bad credit no money down auto loan, make it a point to get a co-signer.

3) Aim for Reasonably-Priced Cars

It is much easier to obtain a bad credit no money down auto loan if the loan amount is reasonable. If you aim for cars which are way out of your league, it can become difficult to get a loan. Additionally, opt for a loan with a shorter term. A realistic amount which can be repaid in a short time-frame can reduce the overall interest on your loan.

4) Present Evidence of a Stable Income

Regardless of a bad credit history, evidence of a stable income can boost your chances of getting a loan. Stability in the form of a regular job, a regular income source and a stable residential address can increase your credibility. Present pay-stubs that prove you can repay the loan within the stipulated time-frame. For a car buyer with a bad credit score, getting financing options without a down payment is possible. Keep the above tips in mind to get the most of your bad credit no money down auto loan.

Car Leasing

Without having a huge amount of cash lying around waiting to be spent on a car, it would be easy to think that there is no way for you to drive the latest cars around, and be stuck driving older models. Typically if you want a car, you buy it, then after 5 years you want a newer model car, but you’re stuck with a car you may struggle to sell for anywhere close to what you paid. This is without considering the amount you’ve spent on repairs & maintenance of the car. Many people dismiss leasing a car as something best used for short term purposes, as a way to show off your car without spending thousands on a regular basis. Maybe once this was true, but over the last few years leasing a car on a long term basis has become more viable an option than ever before.

Rather than buying a car and then selling it 2-3 years later with a loss in value, known as the depreciation, car leasing is based on the principle that you rent the car from the lease operator and your payments cover the loss in value between leasing the car and returning the car, plus a small amount of profit to the car leasing company. It is in the best interest of the car leasing operator to keep the value of the car as high as possible for the duration of the lease. This is because at the end of the leasing period the car is returned to them, after all it is still their property. Because of this most car leasing operators will offer free maintenance for the car, plus the new car warranty that will likely cover the new car you are leasing. This can potentially save a large amount of money compared to buying a car outright and being responsible for its maintenance, or possibly not being covered by a new car warranty.

In a lot of cases it is true that buying the car outright, over a longer period of time, would have cost the same amount or less than leasing. However this means that to buy the car you need to be able to either have a pile of cash sitting around waiting to be spent, or be willing to stay with the same model car for a much longer period of time than if you were leasing. If you wanted to replace your car every 2-3 years with a new model, leasing a car is undoubtedly a cheaper option.

Leasing a car is not a simple case of paying a fee and doing as you please while the leasing operator foots the bill. Generally there are usually stipulations in the contract that going over an agreed mileage will lead to additional costs, or that maintenance costs beyond the general wear and tear of a car will not be paid for by the car leasing operator. This isn’t as bad as it sounds, details like that are agreed upon before starting the contract. If you were to buy the car up front, you would have a harder time selling a car that has a huge mileage on the clock for as much as without. The same goes for paying repair costs that are down to carelessness. Leasing is no different in this respect, – taking care of the car you are leasing means it will cost you less money overall.

Legacy Planning Addresses

Dedicate enough time to legacy planning, and you will ensure that your estate has a lasting positive impact. However, there is more to legacy planning than just numbers and calculations; the process aligns more traditional estate planning practices with the goals of your family. It identifies the core values holding your family together and prepares your children and grandchildren to receive not only your money but also those values that matter to you the most. The question is, how prepared are you to leave all your savings in the hands of young people? Many people are concerned that the recipients of their gifts will squander them. But that’s what legacy planning services are for they help you make the right decisions when it comes to passing things to heirs and beneficiaries. Still, there are a few problems you should think about before you begin legacy planning.

1. Protecting Your Legacy

According to a 2015 Reuters study, almost 70 percent of prosperous families lose their fortune by the second generation and the generation that follows wipes out the wealth of more than 90 percent of families. So, even if you’re good at handling your money, your children or your grandchildren may spend all your wealth unless you make proper arrangements in your legacy plan.

2. Targeted Spending

Most people don’t know what to do with their money – it’s sad but true. According to the same Reuters study, “lack of financial education” was one of the major reasons why heirs squandered their fortunes so easily. This is because most people are hesitant to discuss subjects related to money. So, when the time comes to transfer their financial knowledge to the next generations, they falter. In the end, individuals inherit sums of money they have no clue how to manage. Fortunately, legacy planning can rectify this situation by counseling your heirs on how to spend your wealth correctly.

3. Failure to Value Your Wealth

The same Reuters study revealed some more interesting points. Of particular interest is the fact that individuals are likely to buy a new vehicle within 19 days of inheriting a large amount of money. This isn’t surprising considering how most people lack the discipline to hold on to their wealth. They become spendthrifts and fail to value all the hard work you put in to save up that money for your descendants.

4. Keeping Predators at Bay

 While there’s some truth to that, nobody can make do without strong financial resources. So, the moment someone receives a large sum of money, the predators start to circle. And no matter how capable and smart you think your loved ones and heirs to be, there’s always going to be someone who’s smarter than them; someone would want to benefit from the situation at their cost. Legacy planning safeguards them against bad circumstances in the future.

 

Benefits of a Multi Generational Advisory Firm

Many clients of financial advisors share a common concern and fear. Because the process of finding an individual to trust with their money is not something to be taken lightly, this concern can be magnified. Clients wonder what happens to them if their financial advisor retires or unexpectedly dies. This is a legitimate concern. As a result they have been deemed physically or mentally incapable of handling your finances. This commonly voiced concern is why advisory firms and the financial industry have begun focusing more on succession planning and multi-generational advisory teams.

Built In Transition Planning 
Life is unpredictable and we cannot predict the future. What we do know is that change and growing older are inevitable. Just as you are working hard to save enough to retire, your financial advisor is doing the same. Multi-generational advisory firms have a built-in transition plan. These firms are acclimating their newer and younger associates with current clients. They are leveraging the experience and wisdom that the senior advisors have gained to help train and guide newer associates. Newer advisors will gain experience, knowledge and expertise in the field while working with senior partners. This built in transition plan ensures continuity and no disruption of service to the client. While this won’t happen over night and will require a lot of work, this type of planning is in the client’s best interest. Feeling confident that your advisors have a plan for you and your future should be encouraging and expected. Multi-generational family practices offer an additional dynamic where family life, familiarity and genetics can also contribute to the trust factor.

Experience And Wisdom Meet New Technology And Expanded Communications
As an advisor enters into the industry, there is one valuable thing that all of the studying, textbooks, and exams cannot provide experience. Experience is undeniably an important attribute when looking at an advisor. This can only be obtained with time and is something every new associate has to go through “on the job”. Multi-generational advisory firms are more prepared to alleviate this concern. While they cannot completely eliminate this, aging advisors are able to pass down their experience and wisdom to the next generation of advisors through training and mentorship. This is extremely valuable asset for any new advisor in the field and can play a huge role in their development and client successes. The veteran advisor also stands to benefit from this relationship. After doing things the same way for a number of years, a fresh new outlook and access to new communication tools will be of tremendous help to the senior advisor and their clients.

Sales Tricks

1. The Probe
On your first contact with any salesperson, they’ll usually ask you a few questions. These have two main goals. Most obviously, they’re trying find out what you’re looking for. But they’re also aimed at finding out how serious you are about buying.

2. The Psychology Test
To be successful in selling to you, a seller must quickly work out what kind of a person you are so they can adjust their sales pitch to appeal to someone like you. If you’re a positive, extrovert, glass-half-full person, then they’ll probably try to sell the dream – stress how what they’re selling will improve your life. But if you’re more of a glass-half-empty worrier, then the seller will sell security – focus more on the features and performance of what’s being sold.

3. The Make-a-Friend
Sellers will have many tricks to make us like them as the more we like someone, the more likely we are to buy from them. One of the most frequently used techniques is called active listening. With active listening the seller will use all kinds of non-verbal gestures such as leaning forward, inclining their head slightly to one side, widening their eyes, pursing their lips thoughtfully and stroking their chin to show their interest in us. Some sellers even sit in front of the mirror at home practising their active listening skills.

4. The Trust Me
Many salespeople are trained to portray themselves as trusted advisers helping us make the right buying decision rather than being seen as commission-hungry vultures slavering to get hold of our money. One of many ways of achieving this is the same side of the table. Rather than standing or sitting opposite the customer creating a situation where the seller and buyer are like adversaries facing each other, the seller changes their position so they’re standing or sitting almost beside the customer as if they’re working together with the customer to solve the customer’s problem – which house, car, TV, phone or insurance to buy.

5. The Persuaders
Having managed to get us interested in buying something, the seller then needs to get us to make the decision to move ahead. To put pressure on us, they might try the closing door – suggest there’s only a limited time to get the deal they’re offering; or the phantom buyer tell us there are other people interested in buying what we want even if this isn’t true; auction fever use other real or phantom buyers to make us feel we have to offer a higher price if we’re to get what we want; or even the deliberate mistake when adding up the price of something, they deliberately forget some small part so that the buyer, thinking they’re smarter than the seller, rushes to complete the deal.