• Finance
    What you must know about guaranteed business loans

    If you’re looking for funding your small business with a loan, you’ll most likely come across the term “guaranteed business loans.” People often misunderstand this term as business loans that are guaranteed to be approved. But, this is not what guaranteed business loans means. To clarify the confusion, let’s understand what the term actually means, and discuss the most popular types of guaranteed business loans.

    What are guaranteed business loans?

    In simple terms, guaranteed business loans in the world of small business loans refer to loans that are secured or backed by a guarantee. The guarantee can be in the form of collateral, deposit, or an agreement. This essentially means that the lender is guaranteed to receive their money back even if the borrower fails to pay.

    When we talk about guaranteed business loans, we refer to loans with a personal guarantee or, more commonly, loans guaranteed by the small business administration (SBA). Let’s take a look at both these types.

    Personally guaranteed business loans

    As you understand from the term “personal,” when you make a personal guarantee on a business loan, you essentially agree to sell your assets to pay off the loan, if your business is unable to do so. This means your lender now has the legal right to right to collect your assets to recover their losses.

    SBA-guaranteed business loans

    SBA backed loans are the most common type of guaranteed business loans. However, you must know that these loans are not directly offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The loans are provided by their lending partners, mostly banks, and SBA guarantees a portion of the offered loan. This is how SBA assures lenders that they will receive a large percentage of loan back, even if the borrower fails to pay. Typically, SBA guarantees a payback of up to 85% of the loan amount to the lenders.

    SBA offers guaranteed business loans to small businesses through a variety of programs. Of them, the most popular and common type is SBA 7(a) loans. Let’s understand more about it.

    SBA 7(a) Loans

    A person or a small business group can get SBA 7(a) loans of up to $5 million. This can be used for various business purposes, such as buying another business, renovating the office, or using it for other business-related issues.

    The loan term on SBA 7(a) loans are variable and depend on the way you’re planning to use the funds. According to SBA, loans for working capital or daily operations have a 7-year term; loans for new equipment purchases have 10-year terms, and loans for real estate purchases have a term of up to 25 years.

    The interest rates on SBA 7(a) loans primarily depends on who your lender is and your qualifications. And the good part is that the lender is not allowed to charge a rate beyond the SBA’s mentioned limit.

    It can take anywhere from a few weeks to months to get an SBA loan. You can visit the SBA website to check if you qualify for the loan and how to apply. Your chances of getting qualified are substantially higher if you have a strong personal and business finances.



  • Finance
    4 popular credit cards for college students

    A good credit score is essential as it can be a criterion for lucrative job prospects or renting an apartment. Moreover, a good credit score is an uncompromisable necessity while applying for a loan that has terms and conditions that favor you. To ensure that you have a good credit score, it is better to start building it young and early. One of the easiest ways to do so is by applying for a student credit card from prominent credit cards companies. Now, there are several credit cards companies that offer lucrative credit cards, making choosing the right one confusing. To help you narrow down your choices, here are some of the best credit cards companies that offer student credit cards.

    • Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card for Students: One of the biggest credit card companies in the country Bank of America offers a slew of benefits with its student credit card. With each dollar spent using this card, students can earn 1.5 points. This applies to purchases without any caps. The points can be redeemed as discounts on hotels, flights, rental cars, and vacation packages. There are no restrictions or blackout dates applicable for availing these discounts. With no foreign transaction fee or annual fee, the card allows one to earn nearly 25,000 points on spending about $1000 in the first 90 days.
    • Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card: A top-rated credit card company, Wells Fargo offers one of the most popular student credit cards. With this card, students get a cashback of nearly 3% on purchases of about $2,500 made at medical stores, grocery, and gas stations. This cashback is applicable only for purchases made in the initial six months of opening the credit account. For other purchases, students can earn a cashback of nearly 1%. Additionally, without an annual fee, the card has quite a low intro APR. Plus, students get free access to Wells Fargo’s online credit management tools.
    • Citi Rewards℠ Student Card: With this student credit card, students can earn significant rewards on purchases. The card rounds up the rewards to the closest 10 points. Additionally, students can earn up to two points for every dollar spent at supermarkets and gas stations. This is applicable only during the first year of opening the credit account and if the minimum combined purchases are worth $6000. After one year period, one point per dollar can be earned on purchases.
    • Discover it® Student Cash Back: With no annual fee charged, this is a suitable credit card for students who are just learning to handle credit. For students who obtain good grades, the card also offers statement credit. There is no APR charged on purchases for the initial six months. Furthermore, the card does not penalize in case of late payment in the first bill statement. Students can earn a cashback of up to 5% on every purchase through online shopping, select rideshares, restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations. Additionally, an unlimited 1% cashback can be earned on other purchases.
  • Finance
    Handy tips for retirement-focused investments

    With pension plans becoming more and more obsolete, retirement-focused investments have come to the fore in the past few years. Besides helping you fund your future, these valuable assets also provide incredible gains, and in some cases, constant income till the end of life. Since investing for retirement—and planning it—can prove to be challenging, we have put together a list of tips that may be helpful in the process.

    • Assess your options

    Multiple investment vehicles are ideal for long-term gains and can return a sizable amount by the time you retire. Mutual funds, stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds, cash investments, annuities, and dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs) are also good sources of high returns, although they depend on investor characteristics and risk aptitude. Saving money in certain tax-advantaged accounts such as 401(k), individual retirement accounts (IRA), and brokerage accounts is also an option.

    • Start early and young

    No one is ever too young to invest. It’s a healthy habit that can earn serious money in the long term, with even the smallest of investments capable of making a difference a few years down the line. Starting early gives your money time to grow and lets you accumulate more compound interest over a period of time. The amount and time of investment can be increased periodically, till one reaches the stage of retirement.

    • Be consistent and automate investments

    Like every good habit, consistency is an important part of investing. A long-term goal and vision helps maintain discipline and allows you to navigate testing times that threaten to dissolve the underlying idea altogether. Automation is a valuable tool that can be leveraged to directly deduct the investment amount from your account at a specific day of the month. Setting up an automatic investment plan is an effective way to go about it.

    • Diversify

    As the famous saying goes, putting all your eggs in one basket doesn’t do much good. An array of investment vehicles are readily available, with each of them having their own set of benefits. Investing even the smallest amount across a range of such instruments gives your money room to grow, while mitigating risk factors at the same time.

    • Track and review your investments

    A good investor is not one who just religiously commits a certain sum of money to a fund. Tracking the investments is just as important an exercise as it helps to see whether the strategy is working. Most plans are dependent on and change due to multiple external factors and fluctuations. Reviewing these with your advisor can help you direct the investment elsewhere in case of losses, thereby saving money.

    • Resist temptation until retirement

    Unforeseen circumstances are a part of life and are bound to impact your day-to-day financial planning. However, tampering with your retirement-focused investments can prove detrimental to your money and destroy the fundamental purpose of the investment. An emergency fund should instead supplement these needs and be a part of your overall planning.

  • Finance
    4 tips that can help you pick the right investment advisor

    An investment advisor can be a game-changer. A capable advisor can help solve most of your financial issues and give you the best investment advice so that you can turn market situations to your favor. But, finding the right investment advisor is not easy. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind while looking for the best investment advisor.

    Know what type of service you need

    First, you need to decide what kind of financial assistance you need. Do you need help picking investments? Or are you seeking advice on real estate, retirement, or insurance needs? Asking yourself these questions will help determine the type of investment advisor you are looking for. Nowadays, many people use a robo-advisor, which is as competent as a human investment advisor. A robo-advisor is great for investment management and other basic investments. But if you want substantial transformation in your money-situation, a human advisor is the viable option.

    Choose a fee-only advisor

    If you’ve decided to pick a human advisor, the next step is to choose the type of advisor: commission-based, fee-based, or fee-only. If you’re planning something big financially, you must pick a fee-only advisor. Such advisors work for and get paid by other clients like you, so they always act in their clients’ best interest. They give comprehensive advice on real estate, investing, taxes, retirement, education funding, and insurance planning. Fee-only investment advisors don’t earn money by selling commission or fee-based products for companies. They instead earn money through the fees they charge you. They generally have hourly rates, or they need to be paid a certain percentage of their managing money.

    Check their credentials

    It’s vital to check the credentials of the person who is likely to become your investment advisor. Often the best investment advisors have well-recognized academic credentials such as chartered financial analyst (CFA) or certified financial planner (CFP). If you’re not okay with asking them for their credentials personally, you can verify the credentials on CFA Institute’s site or the CFP Board’s site. However, you must know that only because they have completed these courses does not guarantee that they will only work in your interest. The credentials are only an indication that the person is knowledgeable and has a certain level of competence to serve you as an investment advisor.

    Meet them personally

    Your relationship with an investment advisor is usually long-term, so you must get to know each other better through face-to-face meetings. You don’t need to select the first advisor you meet. It’s best to get in touch with a few investment advisors and request an in-person meeting if you initially feel like they’re fit to become your advisor. In the meeting, you can ask them anything related to finance that confuses you and notice if they are capable of explaining things clearly. Since you’re about to share almost all personal financial information with them, a certain level of comfort and understanding is crucial.

  • Finance
    Pros and cons of automated investing

    Automated investing services, or Robo advisors, have become ubiquitous in the present times. Many financial service companies now have their own automated investing services. There’s no doubt that the introduction of Robo advisors has made investing an accessible financial option to many. However, automated investing has some disadvantages as well. So, before you decide to opt for the best automated investing service, have a look at its pros and cons.

    Pros of using Robo advisors

    Low fee

    Low management fees are one of the biggest advantages of opting for a Robo advisor. Big names in the finance industry such as Charles Schwab Corp.’s Intelligent Portfolios offer Robo advisors for free, while some financial institutes such as Betterment and Wealthfront charge a low 0.25% as a management fee.

    High-quality investment portfolios

    Algorithms used in some of the best automated investing services such as the ones provided by Betterment are backed by Nobel prize-winning investment models. These models are created to offer the greatest return on investment for the smallest risks.

    Access to a financial advisor

    Many traditional financial services companies now use Robo advisors to select assets for their client’s investment portfolios. This allows them to offer their clients financial advisers that can help them with taxes, loans, and any kind of financing or investment.

    Easy to use

    Robo advisors make the entire investing process extremely quick and easy. With Robo advisors, all you need to do is answer some questions about your financial goal, risk tolerance, and capital, and the algorithm will come up with an investment portfolio that is suitable for your needs.

    Low minimum balance

    Even individuals with low net worth can enjoy the services of professional advisory via Robo advisors. Several investment companies such as Betterment and Ellevest offer access to the best automated investing services even with zero balance.

    Cons of using Robo advisors

    They’re not financial planners

    Indeed, in terms of purely creating profit-racking portfolios, the best automated investing systems can be better than human financial planners. However, a Robo advisor cannot understand your short- and long-term goals and financial concerns as a human financial advisor. A good financial planner understands your financial aims and helps you create a portfolio that helps you meet your future retirement goals. Financial planners are especially helpful at times when the market is not performing well.

    They can be limiting

    Robo advisors can’t go beyond their pre-programmed questions when creating an investment portfolio. They can also be limiting if you’re looking for more complex investment strategies, and can’t engage in trading on your terms. Many sophisticated investors demand a larger investment portfolio with different asset classes, which may not be possible even with the best automated investing systems.

  • Health
    3 indicators of dehydraion in kids

    Dehydration is a condition in which the body loses more fluids than normal. It can affect infants, young children, adults, and seniors. You can experience mild to severe symptoms depending on how much fluids the body loses and what is being done to replenish the supply. However, children and infants are at a higher risk of getting dehydrated due to many underlying causes.

    Herein, we explain in detail the common visual indicators of a developing condition. Upon prompt diagnosis, you can immediately contact your primary care provider. Here are a few signs to look out for;

    Dry mouth
    Saliva is a natural lubricant that the body produces to moisten and clean your mouth. It also helps digest food better and prevents the risk of contracting a fungal or bacterial infection in the mouth. The body needs to stay hydrated to produce enough saliva during the day and at night. One of the visible signs in children and infants includes parched dry lips and a dry mouth. Understand that dry mouth is a mild stage of dehydration and can be controlled early on. So you must ensure the child drinks plenty of water. You must also replenish electrolyte levels in their body after an active day. Consult with the family doctor and enquire about the safe quantity of Pedialyte (a popular children’s drink) that can be given to boost electrolyte levels.

    Dry or itchy eyes
    If the child is crying, but there are little or no tears coming out, it means the tear glands are parched due to a severe lack of fluids in the body. Understand that there are glands that also lubricate the eyeballs without which the child’s eyes can become dry and itchy, causing more discomfort. These are all visible indicators of dehydration. Also, if their eyes are sunken and visibly inside the socket, it is a clear indicator of reduced fluid levels.

    Other visible indicators
    Note that the body, be it an adult or a child, needs fluids daily to support even some of the basic functions. If the child or infant has also not urinated in a span of 8 hours, you must consult with a doctor to assess the cause of this unexpected dehydration. Among other noticeable factors, the mucous membranes are also moist and, at times, sticky, indicating they are thoroughly lubricated. However, if they are completely dry, consult with your pediatrician to assess what can be done to rehydrate the child and reduce the risk of complications.

    Changes in mood or behavior
    Apart from the visible indicators on the body, dehydration can severely affect the mood of the child or infant. If he or she is acting fussy or feels extremely lethargic despite the minimum physical activity, there might be something wrong. One of the most vital functions of fluids is to keep blood circulation up and running optimally. It is crucial for activity and lethargy can indicate a decline in metabolic activity caused due to dehydration.

  • Health
    Coping with urges that can trigger a relapse post treatment

    Addictions when left untreated can turn into crippling conditions. One can be addicted to smoking, binge drinking, or even shopping. Once addicted, one willfully submits to urges, despite having satisfied them before. However, addictions can be managed and to a great extent treated to full recovery. But, the post-recovery phase is crucial where both the mind and body are put to test and can trigger a relapse. Continue reading to know more about the most common triggers for addictions and how to deal with them.

    Stress is commonly the root cause of many problems and addictions, both physical and psychological. One can become an addict as a way to manage the stress that may stem from strained relationships or priorities. The best way to avoid a relapse during recovery is to make lifestyle changes that don’t trigger a return to addictions amidst a stressful situation. One can practice mindfulness, engage in relaxation techniques, manage one’s time to avoid stressful situations, and imbibe healthy eating habits and exercise in their daily routine.

    There is an umpteen number of triggers that invoke a positive or negative emotional response. However, the stress associated with dealing with emotions daily can trigger urges without one even realizing. Often, one turns to a glass of alcohol or relies on prescription medications to put the mind at ease. It is not a permanent solution and prolonged use of these substances can cause more harm in the long run. One must learn and explore productive ways of controlling emotions better to avoid a relapse during recovery. For example, writing and maintaining a journal that contains one’s feelings and thoughts can act as a healthy outlet. Similarly, there are other healthy ways to channel one’s energy and manage emotional responses.

    Positive conditioning
    People who have addictions such as smoking or drinking may often find themselves in situations where a lit cigarette or a glass of wine can trigger a relapse. This is understandable considering these substances were the primary source of comfort and relaxation. However, with positive reinforcement and reconditioning one can train the mind and curb such urges. Relaxation doesn’t always mean techniques like yoga or meditation, it can also be pursuing your hobby.

    Counseling for group gatherings
    Birthdays, parties, New Year’s events, and any celebration in general call for alcohol consumption and smoking. At times, these could be the very addictions one is recovering from, and in a social gathering, such temptations can be strong. However, a recovering addict should refrain from indulging in any of these as even a taste can turn into a relapse. For instance, a recovering alcoholic must avoid having a single drink as that could put him/her on a slippery slope to relapse. Here, one-on-one counseling can help prepare the mind to resist the urge. It is never healthy for a recovering addict to simply avoid socializing fearing a relapse.

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