jumping dude

Investments for the Risk-Averse

With savings accounts paying practically nothing in interest these days, many people are choosing to put their money elsewhere in order to generate a more substantial return. But what if you’re the type of person who’s really afraid of losing money? After all, most investments carry a degree of risk, and if your tolerance for it is low, your options may be limited.

Traditionally, those who are truly risk-averse would make a point of avoiding the stock market, and while some stocks are safer bets than others, if the idea of losing money is enough to bring on a panic attack, you’re probably better off putting your money into something less volatile. Here are a few options to consider:

CDs

Certificates of Deposit, or CDs, are a relatively safe bet because they’re insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor. With a CD, you’re locking your money into a fixed rate for a predetermined period of time, but that return is guaranteed. Plus, you can pick the time period for investing that works best for you. If you’re afraid to tie up your money for a year or more, for example, you could open a 6-month CD and snag a better interest rate than what your savings account is offering.

Title Loans

Car title loans are quick, short-term loans that you can get using the equity in your car or vehicle. If you own your car, you can borrow money based on it’s resale value. You need to know that these loans are usually for 60 days or less.

Money Markets

A money market is a type of savings account that typically earns more interest than a regular savings account. Most money markets come with higher minimum balances than traditional savings accounts, and there are usually limits as to how often you can withdraw your funds. On the other hand, money markets, like CDs, are insured by the FDIC, so your first $250,000 is automatically safe.

Treasury Bonds

Treasury bonds, or T-bonds, are bonds issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. U.S. Treasury bonds are considered to be virtually risk-free, and while they typically pay less interest than corporate bonds, their interest is exempt from state and local taxes.

Municipal Bonds

Municipal bonds, or muni bonds, are bonds issued by states, cities, and other localities to pay for things like road repairs, hospitals, and school systems. As is the case for Treasury bonds, municipal bonds tend to offer lower interest rates than corporate bonds, but they’re also far less risky. Historically, the default rate for municipal bonds has been extremely low, which means if you purchase municipal bonds—especially those with a higher credit rating—you’re likely to get your principal and interest payments as scheduled. Plus, municipal bond interest is exempt from federal taxes and, in some cases, state and local taxes as well.

The one thing to keep in mind when it comes to investing is that the more risk you take on, the greater your potential to make money. If you’re years away from retirement and have a substantial amount of money on hand to invest, you may want to consider pushing yourself outside your comfort zone a bit in order to generate a better return.

If you do your research or invest with a trusted advisor, you can limit your risk while opening yourself up to a world of profit.

manager roccoglie moneta caduta in terra. M.R.

Debt Concern: How Businesses Can Collect From Customers

The major challenge for most business owners is the idea of late payments from customers that require debt recovery. When operating a business, it is important to take your account receivables seriously because it can close down your business when customers don’t pay their bills. Generally, debt recovery has to be initiated when an invoice is more than three months overdue. It is certainly not easy to recover money from a delinquent customer who decides not to pay. The process can be long, difficult and arduous because many customers will ignore your phone calls, notices in the mail and email messages.

Viable Solutions

However, there are various viable and effective solutions these days that can be implemented to collect money from customers. You don’t have to be expert at debt recovery to utilize any of these solutions. You can solicit professional help from a debt recovery specialist, if you have a difficult time carrying out the steps to collect your money from customers. Once handled by a professional, you will save time and money, allowing the process to be hands-off.

The Debt Recovery Firm

There are some factors to take into consideration, though, when soliciting the help of a debt recovery professional. You should always make sure that the debt recovery firm is licensed to operate in the account collection business. You should also ensure that the firm is fully insured. Be sure to ask the firm for the appropriate fee structure prior to hiring them. Not all debt recovery firms have the same fee structure. Do your research. Ask the firm if you will be given access to an online account to check the status of the collections on an ongoing basis. This will save you time from having to call the firm to inquire about the status of each account. In fact, it will make the process smoother.

The Process

Most debt collection firms work in a similar manner. First, the firm will send out debit collection notices to the customer to repay the debt. Yes, this is something that you already may have done, but this is the ideal process to initiate contact with the customer to let the customer know that the account is in collection. With no response from the customer, a solicitor letter will be sent, giving the customer a warning notice of seven days. Next, if no further response, the firm will take legal action, which is the last course of action to take against the customer.

The Benefits

In addition to saving time, money and effort on your part to collect, there are several benefits to using the services of a debt collection agency. It frees up time to grow the business and focus on other important things. You will be able to track the continuous process of the collection and then deciding how to handle a customer that just won’t budge. Most consumers, though, will try to work with the collection agency to find the best solution, even it means debt settlement.

Budget cut concept

10% Budget Cuts for Russia

Budget cut concept

If you’ve been following the news lately, then you are likely aware that there has recently been a major drop in the price of oil, which is something that affects many countries around the globe. For Russia, that means that it has considerably less money coming in and that it has to do something about that problem…and fast. Its answer, thus far, has been to make huge budget cuts- by a whopping 10%!

All ministries and government departments are, as a result, hard at work making their budget cuts, which must total $9.1 billion. That’s definitely no small feat! However, it’s certainly not a brand new challenge for Russia.

Last year, Russia was again forced to redo its budget, and it was for the same reason- falling oil costs- then as it is now. However, these most recent cuts weren’t decided on until December of last year when the Prime Minister realized a problem was brewing and sought to take immediate action to try and correct it.

While the Prime Minister was definitely smart to act quickly, even he couldn’t control or predict the fact that oil prices would end up dropping even more. In fact, since Russia’s last attempt at restructuring its budget, oil prices have fallen 20% more, leading to even tighter “purse strings” for the country.

The answer for Russia should be clear. Instead of focusing on budget cuts, it should focus its attention on lessening its dependence on oil. Unfortunately, though, that hasn’t proved possible for the country, largely because its dependence on this resource is so great. More than half of its budget revenues are currently owed to crude oil.

Thus, Russia has already been living on a reduced budget, one which it recently found wasn’t quite reduced enough and that it would have to cut even further. New budget cuts that will be proposed would deal with state investment programs and administrative costs.

If those proposed cuts don’t do the trick for Russia, it is going to have to look to another means of tightening up financially. And it needs to do so quickly because financial experts are expecting that crude oil prices are going to fall even lower in the coming year.

While things are definitely unstable for Russia at the moment, it is working hard to regain control and stability. Most speculate that what the country most needs to do is to find other outlets for bringing in revenue, and, until that happens, to do just what it’s doing now- cutting its budget significantly until it finds that other revenue source. However, budgets can only be cut so far, and many in Russia are starting to grow concerned over the country’s financial problems and its overall staying power. Only time will tell how things play out for the country, but as of right now, it definitely doesn’t look good for Russia, which may need some help from allies to get out of this tough spot.

 

business relationship

The Relationship Between Business Survival and Cash Flow Management

business relationship

Do you think that sales increase, profit or loyalty of customers is the strength of a business? While all of these are important to the success and survival of your business, it should not be the only central focus. Yes, all three of these will help you during the survival of your business, but if you don’t have steady cash flow, your business will eventually flop. Remember, cash is needed to pay the utilities, employees and purchase inventory. Without it, you won’t be able to keep those doors open for long.

Available Cash

Available cash is necessary and crucial to every business. However, you have to be aware of where cash goes and how it comes into the business. If you don’t know any of these things, you will be lost to how your business is doing. There are specific skills to measuring, managing and monitoring your business’s cash flow. It is important to find out how your cash flow can work for you instead of against you. There are certain rules to abide by and you need to be aware of them.

Measuring Cash

Cash flow is not the same as making an income or your profit and loss statement. While these help you to analyze your business profitability and performance at different periods, cash flow, on the other hand will indicate how your money is being spent in and out of the business. Your balance sheet will also measure cash, but at a specific time period. A balance sheet will give you a snapshot of your progress while cash flow measurement provides an in-depth view.

What is Causing Cash Flow Issues?

In any business, the owner must be aware of the reasons for cash flow issues, which can happen during any business cycle. These issues will usually happen when you are spending money or earning a profit. To grow your business, you must invest in the right employees, office, inventory and equipment. For that reason, you may have to spend money. On the other hand, if you have slow paying clients, it puts a dent into your cash flow. Therefore, you have to be prepared for the inevitable in these cases. You must have a system where you can analyze your cash flow in each business cycle. This provides an important forecast of your business expenses as well as your sales. You should track your sales each month instead of on a quarterly basis because this will give you a better idea of what is going on in your business.

Implement Strategies

Create strategies to help with your cash flow. It is also important to reduce your fixed expenses. Contact your vendors and ask for a discount. When your business is doing well, see if you can do without hiring extra staff. Cash conservation is important to operating your business. Find ways to minimize the need for cash. Use bartering as a way to swap services so that you don’t have to use cash. Use credit card instead of cash when possible.

 

Be sure to create a business plan with a projection of your sales and expenses. This gives you an improved forecast of what to expect and keeps you in the loop. Lease equipment instead of buying. Grow your business smart and prepare for the growth.

 

quebec

Quebec Finance Minister vows to push businesses to invest

quebec

In the most recent past, the economy in Quebec was being held back primarily by a weakened export industry and frail investments in business. The Finance Minister of the province indicated that he will take the necessary steps allowed by the government to try to improve the situation, if it continues. Since the previous governor of the Bank of Canada, Mr. Carney made accusations in 2012 about Corporate Canada not using the piles of money it had to improve the economy in order to create jobs, nothing seemed to have changed.

Modifications Made

Some thought that the accusation made was way out of proportion. The money is considered to still be alive, but the Canadian province is not taking full advantage of it. The National Bank revealed investment data that indicates lower profit levels for 2012 for intellectual property, machine and equipment companies and commercial construction. This appears to be a part of the bigger picture and so economy projections were modified in the month of November.

North America

North American businesses are reluctant to spend in lieu of the slow economy. Quebec, it seems may hold a stronger position in the economic climate to fix their situation since most of the businesses are owned by locals. This means that their money is not controlled by corporate decision makers in other regions.

The Projection

For 2015, it is projected by the government that Quebec will put up 1.5% in economic growth.  This is a reduction compared to past prediction of 2%. The forecast for 2016 shows a slight increase of 1.7%. The government is not pleased with the sluggish export business, even though; it is doing better than other areas. Quebec depends on export and so due to the drop in the Canadian dollar, it is hoped that Quebec will ship high volumes of paper and metal products to American buyers looking for a cheaper price. However, this is not the case – at least not yet.  

The Recession

Quebec went through an extended period of recovery from the recession of 2008-2009. The United States is still the leading market for the goods exported from Quebec. In fact, the United States takes in three quarters of everything. The recession caused major damage to the industrial framework. Many industrial plants closed their doors for good. For that reason, even though, the cycle is showing some progress, Quebec is not able to carry it due to the loss of capacity in the industrial arena.

International Exports

In 2014, Quebec’s international exports reached $75 billion in Canadian dollars. This does not include sales from foreign affiliates and service exports. A forecast has been made by export development that merchandise trade in Quebec will be increased to 10% in 2015 and 8% in the subsequent year 2016. Aerospace product shipments will lead the projection with primary exporters providing engines and production of the innovative C Series airliner.

Closing

The primary players know that they have to stay abreast of things and not be naïve about it by continuing to find supportive ways to push for new business investments. If not, a large hole will be left in the economy as businesses compete for the same assets.