Investing for Beginners: How to Start Investing

When most people have extra money, they tend to purchase things that they don’t really need. While the items they’re buying may be useful, that extra hundred they just dropped on the latest in tech gadgets could be put to better use by investing.

Many people don’t even consider investing because they think they need thousands of dollars to get started. Not true. In fact, you can get started with as little as $25 a month. Any little bit helps and the earlier you get started, the better.

Having a Safety Net

Investing is a risk, even when investing conservatively. It’s not always a huge risk, but any risk is something to consider. For this reason, you should have an emergency fund.

Most experts will recommend that you have at least six months of income in the bank or in low-risk accounts such as CDs (certificates of deposit) and money-market accounts.

Savings accounts grow interest slowly. The interest grows so slow, that outside of the benefit of keeping your money in a safe place, the account isn’t doing anything else for you. A CD on the other hand, will grow interest much faster, but the downside is that you can’t withdrawal your money without penalty fees, unless you’re past the maturity date.

Money market accounts are more similar to the traditional savings account, but they provide higher interest. There are only a few limitations. In most cases, you will need to maintain a higher minimum balance in the account. You are also limited to the amount of checks you can write or withdrawals you make per month.

It doesn’t really matter whether you choose a CD, a money market account or a regular savings account, as long as you have money to fall back on. With your safety net in place, you should start investing with money that you can spare.

Creating an Investment Strategy

With investing, it’s important to set goals for where you want to be later in life. If you know where you want to be in 10 years, you can create a plan designed to get you there. Without a plan in place, you’re not likely to get there.

What is that you want your money to do for you in the coming years? Do you want to get married and buy a house in five years? If you have kids, perhaps you want start saving for their college tuition? Use these big time periods in your life to create a plan for investing.

You certainly want to plan ahead for retirement. When do you plan to retire and do you want to retire early? Where do you want to live when you retire?

Consider all of the details, such as the cost of living where you want to live after retiring. If you want to retire early, you might have to start investing 20% or more of every paycheck, if you want to have enough money to live on for the next 30 or more years. If you’re fine with working part-time in your retirement years, you can invest much less.

Types of Investments

Once you have your goals in place, it’s time to start thinking about how you want to invest your money. The three most common options are stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

Mutual funds are great for beginners. Without a lot of money, it’s difficult to invest in a diverse group of investments. A mutual fund makes it possible, by pooling the money of thousands of investors and using it to buy a portfolio of stocks, bonds and other securities. Professional fund managers run mutual funds.

Bonds are another option, and are one of the safest ways to invest, but also have one of the lowest interest rates. With bonds, you are basically loaning money at a fixed interest rate. A treasury bond is a loan to the U.S. government, a municipal bond is a loan to the local government, and a corporate bond is a loan to a business.

Purchasing stocks means to buy partial ownership in a company. When you buy a share, you are entitled to a percentage of the company’s annual profits. Because of the constantly changing prices of shares, stock market investing can be considered aggressive. The general idea is to buy low and sell high, but it’s hard to predict something like that. For long-term investing, it’s safer to invest in companies that you’re sure will grow or companies that are already successful.

There are other types of investment options other than the three mentioned, but mutual funds, bonds and stocks are the most common.


Finally, it’s time to invest. You’ll need either an individually licensed agent or a brokerage firm to help you buy and sell bonds, stocks and mutual funds. At the most basic level, they can simply help you make the trades, but many professionals will also offer advice and portfolio management.

Brokers earn money from investors by charging commission and collecting fees. Discount brokers might charge as little as $15 or less per trade, but they will only execute the trade and nothing else.

A full service broker is often a professional financial planner or money manager, who will work with you to develop a strategy and maintain your portfolio. Full service brokers will charge anywhere from $100 to $200 per trade.

Always research the broker or brokerage firm before deciding to hire. Some have been accused of encouraging clients to make unnecessary trades in order to make more commissions. It’s not often, but it has been known happen.

Posted in Investment | Tagged | Comments Off on Investing for Beginners: How to Start Investing

Glossary of Auto Insurance Terms You Should Know

Do you want to get the auto insurance coverage you desire for your car? One basic way of accomplishing this is by learning the terms pertinent to it.

The benefits of learning and knowing the terms of it can not be over-emphasized. It will not only build your basic knowledge, but stand as a key factor to choosing the right insurance policy for your car. Take a fresh look at some of them:


This is the refusal of an insurer to insure an individual under a policy after careful assessment of the application for insurance and any other germane factors. Typically, an auto insurer would prefer to provide coverage for an assured with good credit.

However, not all state would condone any form of declination just for some reasons, especially for a reason of poor credit. They may be kind enough to offer insurance coverage directly or indirectly to those with poor credit as in the case of others having good credit.

Refusing to provide coverage for an individual may most likely lead to lack of policy benefits and protection. The cause for disqualification of these individuals is as seen and assessed from the individual’s insurance application.

The cases of declination are not limited to this field of insurance. It is also applicable to other fields of insurance. It may be a sad experience for someone who yearns for an insurance coverage only to be disapproved after the evaluation of applications.

Declaration Page

This is the part/page of an insurance contract which contains all vital information pertinent to the insurance policy, such as the name and address of the insured, the dates of commencement and ending of the coverage, the duration and amount of coverage, applicable and payable premiums, name and address of insurance company, the name and description of insured property, and the actual location of insured property.

In order for your insurance policy to run smoothly, it is strongly recommended that you strive to complete all required information needed on the basis of your insurance policy. Do not be surprised that things may not actually go well during the time your insurance policy is effective when there is failure to do so.

Typically, an insurer will most certainly demand all details you are expected to submit. This makes up your unique and special declarations that can easily be stored on the database of your insurer. It is much like registering in an institution, which is very vital for your membership status.

Among the numerous reasons for this is due to the fact that most policyholders have actually missed out on their claim they are expected to receive due to none or incorrect details of the insured name and address as well as the name and description of property which may have a negative bearing on your policy.

Posted in Insurance | Tagged | Comments Off on Glossary of Auto Insurance Terms You Should Know

Wolff Tanning Beds Financing Allows You To Buy It Now!

You might be a salon owner looking to invest in a new tanning bed. Or, you might be a retail consumer looking to fulfill a lifetime fantasy of having the luxury of a professional tanning bed right in your own home. The one thing both have in common is that they can benefit from Wolff tanning beds financing allowing for the purchase of a quality tanning bed without depleting the bank balance.

There are myriad types of tanning beds and booths now available on the market. Among the sea of newer, relatively untested, models there exists durable proven quantities like Wolff beds. Around a half a century ago, scientist Friedrich Wolff was a pioneer in the discovery and application of UV ray technology. His groundbreaking research led directly to today’s most requested brand.

Once you have made the decision to invest in a Wolff bed there are then options regarding payment. Of course, it is possible to purchase your bed paying cash, or to use a relatively high interest rate credit card. However, as with the purchase of other large ticket items such as a vehicle, many desire to purchase beds via financing offered by the seller.

There are two main financing options when it comes to the purchase of a Wolff bed. The first would be to enter into a lease. Equipment leases can be quite complex and the analysis of whether they are a best deal for your business is often best left to your accountant or other financial professional. Special lease rates can be less expensive than equivalent financed purchase options, however they can have repercussions regarding your business credit rating.

The second option is to purchase your Wolff bed with a loan from the seller to finance it. The difference between these options is in many respects similar to that between buying or leasing a car. It is usually possible to find financing deals offered by major sellers of Wolff beds. Many times you can find 0% financing rates available.

This avenue is obviously the most advantageous to your business. You can invest in the infrastructure of your salon without cutting into your cash flow. And you can accomplish this without incurring any additional interest expense. Again, the devil can be in the details so it is advisable to consult with your accountant or other financial professional before entering into any contract.

If you are in the process of opening a new salon you should be especially careful when deciding upon financing options for your equipment. Long term leases can be risky in the event your revenue projections prove to fall short of the mark. Credit with attractive rates could be difficult to obtain without an established credit rating. In this instance, you should research and explore options which yield the shortest commitment allowing you to gauge your customer demand prior to entering into long term contracts.

Business equipment procurement is never simple. Many variations of financing can be considered. Wolff tanning beds financing provides options to both new salon owners as well as proprietors of established institutions. With Wolff you are able to invest in one of the most respected beds in the industry while also addressing the financing needs of your business.

Posted in Finance | Tagged | Comments Off on Wolff Tanning Beds Financing Allows You To Buy It Now!

Coaching For Small Business Owners

Business coaching is a relatively new discipline. As a result, many small business owners are probably not aware of the coaching process and why they might consider coaching as a resource to fuel their business growth and personal leadership development.

What benefits can a coach bring to you and your small business? Will a coach help you become more effective in the day to day management of your small business? What specific skills or experience should you look for in a business coach? How do you find a business coach?

Benefits of Coaching

Coaching can offer a number of benefits to those that embrace the possibilities and enter into the experience with a positive attitude. Ed Rankin, Executive Coach and Founder & President at Manera Group in Dallas Texas, believes that coaching offers small business owners an increased level of self-awareness with respect to their strengths and weaknesses, better focus, and tangible strategies and tactics for addressing real-world concerns. He also states that “coaching helps people become more effective by bringing clarity to real challenges and opportunities.”

Virg Setzer, President and Executive Coach at Performance Point Solutions LLC, has many years experience as an internal and external business and executive coach. He feels that coaching offers up the following benefits for small business owners:

  • A fresh and objective view of a small business owners situation
  • A unique, competent and confidential resource that may not be available within the organization
  • The opportunity to have a “partner” in your small business that is focused on your success
  • A confidential partner that is available to test ideas and brainstorm possibilities
  • Assistance in looking at the “big picture” and long term results as well as short term goals
  • The opportunity to get challenged and receive candid feedback

Opportunity for Strategic Thought

It is a well known fact that owning a small business can be all consuming – so much time is spent on managing the day to day tasks that little thought ever goes into strategic planning. Gina Duvall, Owner of Business Sculpting, expands on the benefits of generating new ideas and focusing on strategic thought. “Coaching is a great opening for this kind of thinking. Left to their own devices, small business owner won’t get off the merry-go-round of finding the next customer, or producing more widgets, long enough to engage in critical thought,” says Duvall. “Having a business coach allows this to happen and have it happen within a partnership. It’s easier for a business owner to do this kind of thinking in partnership with a coach, as opposed to locked in their office alone hoping to not be interrupted.”

One might assume that the primary benefit of having a business coach would be an ample supply business advice. Not really – the benefits of a good coach extend beyond management consulting. “Many people start a business without understanding their real motivation and a good business coach can do much more than just work o the business process – a good consultant could do that. We ask different kinds of questions and have a different quality of conversation,” says Anne Wilkinson, Managing Director at Executive Playground Ltd in Birmingham, UK. “A coaching relationship is based on skilfully guiding a client through a process of increasing self awareness backed up by solid business acumen. This has the added value of increasing confidence and establishing a better process for making decisions in the long term.”

The Coaching Relationship

In my opinion, a key benefit of coaching is the opportunity for small business owners to develop a special relationship that adds real value to their organization. Francis Laleman, International Consultant, Coach and Trainer at Beyond Borders Training and Consultancy in Antwerp, Belgium, believes that “the mere fact of having an objective outsider at hand, someone who delivers insights from experience, who asks the right questions, who doubts the answers given, who suggests alternatives and ponders over chances and opportunities, can really have a miraculous effect.” In Laleman’s opinion “the key strength is in the mutual process of the business owner and the coach, working gently together in order to understand the dynamics of growth and change.” What to Look for in a Business Coach

There are some set criteria that you should look for when hiring a business coach. As with any other position within your small business, experience, is a key factor. Gil Gerretsen, President at BizTrek International, Inc in Greenville, South Carolina, suggests that you look for a combination of business experience and a history of proven results and warns that “too many coaches shoot from the hip with counsel based on a limited set of experiences in one venue/industry.”

Anne Wilkinson advises that you look for a coach that has general business experience as well as specific experience in the areas of your business that you know you need to develop. “I personally don’t agree with some of the coaching purists that say you can be a good coach without the business experience. My clients expect me to understand their business issues and wouldn’t tolerate a coach they couldn’t respect.”

In addition to business experience, Ed Rankin reminds small business owners to not forget that coaching in itself is a special and important skill. “A coach should be educated and trained in the process of coaching. Coaching is not mentoring, consulting, advising or counselling. It’s something different.”

Coaching Case Study

Merri Bame, an Executive Communications Coach, shares the following real life coaching story:

The owner of a small business came to me with a common, yet fragile matter. He had been an owner for several years while his mother remained board president.

What “John” experienced was the demotion of his authority every time his mother was present. From John’s perspective, his staff, managers and board all viewed him with little respect in her presence. He came to me, (an outsider; a neutral third party) for fresh perspective on how to have a very honest talk with her because he was intent on releasing her from her duties. With two major relationships hinging on this outcome, “John” was at a loss on how to proceed. Since this was a single circumstance, we met for an hour to give him guidance on focusing on the intent (restoring good relations) while broaching a difficult subject, and also wanting a good outcome.

John learned he could speed up (in his career and influence) if he chose to slow down (to address things properly and with care). Without a third party coach, he didn’t feel neutrally supported. And using one, he experienced a new way to address both conflict resolution and professional growth.

How to Find a Business Coach

Your needs and comfort level will have some bearing on searching out a business coach. For example, if you prefer face to face coaching, you will need to search locally, whereas, telephone coaching presents the opportunity to engage in a coaching relationship outside your geographic area.

In Gil Gerretsen’s opinion, face to face coaching offers more value to small business owners. He suggests looking for someone in your area by checking with your local Chamber of Commerce or asking for referrals from other local small business owners. He adds “if there is no one available locally, check the nearest big city and drive to see them there. Before I first launched my business, I flew to Los Angeles once per quarter to meet with my coach. It was worth every penny!”

Another thing to remember is to ask any prospective coach for references, training background and accreditation. “The best way, really, is to find a coach on personal recommendation because then you know what you are getting,” says Anne Wilkinson, “Certainly go for a professionally trained coach, even if they are not certified.”

The Heart of Coaching by Thomas G. Crane states the following: “As coaching becomes a predominant cultural practice, it will create a performance-focused, feedback-rich organization capable of creating and sustaining a competitive advantage.” If you are open to the process, coaching can provide you and your small business with a number of great benefits – and offer a new perspective on how to plan, manage and grow your organization.

Posted in Business | Tagged | Comments Off on Coaching For Small Business Owners