monthly-budget

10 reasons you should use a personal budget

Personal budget is the most important instrument when it comes to our financial life.

It is the instrument that helps us control our financial life when it comes to our income and expenses.

Living without a personal budget is like going through a very big city such as Bucharest without being from Bucharest and wanting to go to various places without map or GPS.

The personal use budget is made of a projected budget where you have to anticipate each expense and each income you make in a determined period of time and of an achieved budget, where you have to write all expenses and income you made.

The budget is useful both for persons in a difficult financial situation and who want to go over this period, as well as for people who want to plan their way to get rich.

monthly budget

Using this financial instrument can give you lots of benefits regarding your financial health, because the budget:

 10 reasons you should use a personal budget

1. Helps you be aware of where you are spending your money!

It is the place where you plan and write all your expenses. It helps you see what are your money spent on and where you can make adjustment.

It is one of the most important options of the budget, because next is the financial planning.

2. Helps you know what are your income sources and how can you increase them!

It helps you plan your income. Most of the times, income is constant and you can hardly adjust it.

Most of the times, the budget helps you analyze your financial status and see if your income is enough for your expenses and for the financial objectives you set for yourself.

3. Helps you plan the expenses!

How many times have you realized that you are going shopping with the idea of buying something and coming back home with much more than you would have wanted.

The budget has its role of necessity. All things you should buy are written here, not the things you would like to buy.

It helps you make a difference between WHAT IS NECESSARY and WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE to buy.

Always choose WHAT IS NECESSARY to buy.

4. It helps you get rid of debts!

Yes, it helps you get rid of debts. Once you know what the income is and on what you spend the most, it helps you narrow the expenses and, with the money you save, pay your debts in a short amount of time.

5. Helps you avoid debts and spend as much as you produce!

Once the budget is planned, it guarantees that you will spend only what you produce. Your entire income should be larger than the expenses.

The difference between income and expenses represents the profit. With the profit you can pay your debts, start arrangements to buy a house, a car or to plan a vacation.

6. Helps you plan the purchase of a house!

The personal budget is your financial mirror. It shows you how much you earn and how much you spend.

It shows you how much profit you have in a month. This profit can be invested in a house.

For a new couple, that wants to buy a house, it is very important to use an internal use budget.

The house you can afford is the house that does not cost more than 2.5 times your total income per year.

The house you can afford = 2.5 * your annual income

It the result is higher than that, problems will occur regarding payment.

You can start with a smaller house and go to a bigger one after a while. Go to a bigger house only after you become the owner of the first house.

The budget helps you keep under control your expenses, house instalments and income without having financial problems.

7. Helps you be more structured and more realistic!

The budget helps you be more structured. It is designed as structured and as detailed as possible, to help you anticipate each expense by various expense categories.

Once the monthly budget is made, at first you will have many frustration reasons. In the first three months, you will not be able to plan your budget due to the fact that you are not being realistic.

You are subjective when it comes to the financial planning and you still think you will spend less and earn more.

Not true! You will spend and you will earn as much. The budget will show you this and will help you be more realistic with your budget each month.

You will end up being more realistic and more structured, not only with your money, but also in your daily activity.

8. Helps you save more!

Yes, it is the instrument which helps you save money from various places, in order to buy a product or to go in a vacation.

The budget gives you a faithful and real image of your financial status, where you can draw some conclusions regarding the places you can cut some costs.

With the money you cut, you can plan various expenses or you can reduce your debts.

bookkeeping

9. Helps you have multiple income sources!

The budget is also an instrument for rich people, not only for those that have financial difficulties.

With the help of a budget, you can also plan some businesses you might want to make, invest in various mutual funds or in the stock exchange.

In order to get here, you must get rid of all other habits of yours that make you spend more than you produce.

10 .Helps you be more motivated.

The budget helps you be more motivated. It gives you the motivation to want more from your financial life.

It helps you get rid of debts, have our own house, go in certain vacations and buy different things you want.

It is the most important instrument for your financial life and gives you the financial motivation to want more from yourself.

While planning a personal budget can take few hours each month, the fact that you learn to use a personal budget can bring you back money you may have never imagined.

We are spending money on things we do not need and we are running into debts for things we do not need. Why are we doing this?

Because we do not know what happens with our personal money!

Planning a budget each month and strictly complying with it, you can reach peace and quiet in your financial life.

If I have convinced you that a personal budget is useful, you can start from now planning your income and expenses with the help of a personal budget model you can download for free HERE.

It is a model I have created and which I recommend to all readers of this blog.

If you still have doubts about its use, you can ask me anything related to the personal budget in a comment below.

I will answer to any of your questions.

Business Credit

9 Steps to Establishing and Building Business Credit Unfolded

As a small business owner, either existing or new, you may have been denied getting business financing. Frankly, you may find the process daunting if you don’t know what it entails. Though I am not trying to make you fuss yet I must be honest to tell you that more than 50% of the owners of small businesses do not normally get approval when they apply for loans. Nevertheless, if you know how to get your way around it, you will surely get access to financing at ease. Therefore, you need to learn the secret of establishing and building a strong business credit in order to access business financing and credit with ease and move up your business. Here, we have covered the ground for you by providing you with all you need to learn and the steps you need to take in order to establish and build strong business credit to get off the hook of poor financing and take your business to the top.

Learning How to Establish and Build Business Credit – Why?

Establishing business credit in order to access business financing and taking the time to learn how to build it might be unnecessary while you have your personal credit to get you through. To be candid with you, separating your personal credit from your business has many benefits. One of the benefits is that it will help you go a long way in getting rid of the adverse effects one can have on the other. For instance, if due to some missteps, you know that your personal credit score is low and you will surely be denied of financing, you will rely on your business credit as the way forward. In order words, the bad score of your personal credit will not affect your business credit, and vice versa.

Build Business Credit

Once you are not running your business as a sole proprietorship or as a general partnership, you have to separate your business from the owner in order to protect your personal assets. This is one of the key benefits that limited liability companies and corporations offer business owners. Therefore, you need to establish business credit in order to keep this protection consistently in place.

Establishing and Building Strong Business Credit – The Untold Benefits

Apart from the fact that business credit will help you separate your business from your personal credit and secure the future of your business, there are many other benefits of business credit, which include:

1. Money-Saving

As a business owner, there are many channels that business credit can help you save your wallet. One of the ways is that it will help you secure favorable interest rates on loans. Secondly, it will help you minimize the situations when you need to repay for specific products or services.

2. Access to Funds and Assets

Unless you build a solid business credit profile, you will not have the guarantee to be approved for business loans from lenders, If you establish and build a good business credit profile, it will help you build confidence in business transactions. Thus, you will be able to have unlimited access to funds and assets from lenders, and ultimately, you will be able to make your business grow.

3. Establishing Better Trade Terms

Good business credit will make your suppliers have confidence in you; and hence, it will help you secure better trade terms with your important suppliers. So you will have unlimited access to obtaining supplies.

4. Increased Sales

As mentioned earlier, confidence is important in securing favorable business transactions. Customers will want to know whether you will be able to meet up and deliver their orders before they can seal a deal with you. Your business credit score is one of the ways customers can evaluate you. Unlike your personal credit, your business credit score is not so confidential, anybody can access it. Therefore, if you don’t have a good business credit score, customers are less likely to place orders, let alone placing big orders.

5, Protecting Your Personal Assets

When you need to apply for a loan with your personal credit, you will need to use your Social Security Number and lenders will have to access your personal credit reports in order to determine your creditworthiness. Apart from the fact that any ensuing problems will underscore your personal credit reports, you have exposed your personal financial situation to the public. Therefore, this will make it more difficult to get a loan for your business, even if you later want to use business credit, because your lenders might have been aware of your poor personal financial situations.

6. Securing Your Family

If all goes well, you may be able to secure loans for your business using your personal credit, but it may deny you the ability to borrow as an individual for your personal upkeep when the score becomes poor. Therefore, you and your family will be adversely affected and you know, you may, as a result, lose your family.

7. Minimizing the Need for Using Personal Guaranty

Dealing with personal guarantees is one of the big issues in dealing with getting loans for a business. A personal guarantee is an assurance that you will be able to pay off your business debts, in case your business is unable to pay the debt. If you establish business credit, it will help you draw a clear and vital line between your business and personal finances. Thus, you will be able to mitigate the need to sign a personal guarantee for your business funds.

Building A Good Business Credit Score – Food for thought

At this juncture, perhaps you don’t know, I need to tell you that one of the major reasons why business owners like you are usually denied access to funding is the failure to understand their credit situation and build it.

Business Launcher

Though in this article, you will understand how to monitor and build your business score, yet we will be flattering you to tell you that you have known all because Rome was not built in a day. This is why you need experts to control your business credit health and quickly get funding with ease and keep your business moving, According to Nav’s 2015 report, American Dream Gap Report, one in four of businesses fails to know why their financing applications are denied. Furthermore, according to the report, the businesses that understood their individual business credit score were less than 50% (41%, to be specific) more likely to get approval for small business loans. However, this is nothing to fuss about, you can be seamlessly getting fundings for your business once you sign up for a credible Business Launcher tool like that of Nav. Nav offers their customers free account to use their formidable Business Launcher tool to start building their business credit profile in no time. Although it is imperative that you know how to establish and build your business credit, and this is the next thing we want to teach you.

How to Invest in ETFs

As you start earning, it is good practice to invest the money. Investments provide good financial security for the future. However, when there are so many different types of investments, it may be confusing. Today, let us learn about ETF, which is a simple means of investing to obtain good retains.

What is an ETF?

ETF stands for Exchange Traded Fund. Here, you can buy several bonds/stocks at the same time. An investor can buy shares of ETFs. The ETF share prices can fluctuate throughout the day. They are listed and traded on an exchange. ETFs hold multiple underlying assets.

ETFs offer good alternatives to individual stock picks. While services like Motley Fool make it easier for investors to choose stocks (read the full review here), many investors prefer the simplicity of ETF investing.

ETF Investing

ETF Jargon

There are certain concepts to understand before you can invest in ETFs.

  • Expense ratio – The fee that ETFs charge is called the expense ratio. For beginners, it is recommended to go with smaller expense ratios.
  • Types of ETFs – There are two types of ETFs – passive ETFs and active ETFs. Passive ETFs (also called index funds) track an index and update the portfolio from time to time. If you are new to this, start with passive ETFs. In an active ETF, an investment manager manages the portfolio of securities.

Investing in ETFs

There are 2 ways to buy/sell an ETF. Three points to note before investing in an ETF –

  • Ensure that you have a Demat account. It is needed to hold the ETF units.
  • Open a broker account with a broker/sub-broker.
  • Complete your KYC. You will need documents for proof of identity, proof of address and your bank account details.

You can now use the registered bank account for your ETF investments. You will need the current price of a single share to start investing. Check whether your broker is registered with the stock exchange. Now, there are two ways to buy and sell ETF shares.

  • The first way is to call your broker. You can tell the broker about your trade specifications and buy/sell ETF units through the broker.
  • The second way is to use an online trading terminal. You can place your order on the terminal.

Why should one invest in ETFs?

ETFs are considered as the ideal investment for youngsters. This is because they provide a host of benefits. Some of the benefits are discussed below.

  • Reasonable transaction charges – Compared to other index-tracking products, you incur lesser transaction charges on ETFs
  • Diversification – Diversification is a mantra that the majority of investors swear by. With ETFs, you can spread the risk over several securities. Stock-specific risk is minimum in this case. In a single transaction, you are exposed to a variety of stocks, sectors and commodities
  • Liquidity – ETFs provide ample liquidity. They can be traded throughout the day. If you have limited capital, you can immediately exit a losing investment.
  • Tax-benefits – If you are an ETF investor, the dividends you gain are tax exempt. To sell an ETF unit within 12 months, a short term capital gain tax is levied.

ETFs have the potential to produce great investment growth over a long period.

SBA Loans

How To Convince an SBA Loan Provider To Finance Your Business

The number of small businesses is the exact opposite of its size, which comprise the majority of businesses in the USA. According to the US Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 99.7% of all businesses in the USA, or a total of 28.8 million. These small businesses currently have 56.8 million employees and covers 48% of the total for USA.

The numbers speak the same with small business funding. Many financial institutions are taking advantage of the large market resulting in more small business funding solutions available. The same Small Business Administration (SBA) report said that there are about 5.2 million small business loans (valued at $ 73.6 billion) released by US lending firms in 2014.

SBA Loans

The market for small business lending is robust, and one can always find a solution that can fit any need and preference. A business will always have the answer on why get a small business loan. Here are some of the available small business lending solutions, and what you need to know about them:

Conventional Bank Loans

This is usually the first option when it comes to any kind of financing, whether for personal or business purposes. Small businesses, however, find its loan eligibility hard to achieve, and its requirements difficult to secure. They also deploy stringent terms and compliance measures.

The reason why most businesses flock around banks is because the bank’s loans carry smaller interest rates and they can also be generous with the amount as long as the eligibility criteria have been met. The disadvantage would have to be its strict requirements and the need for a collateral.

Alternative Lending Firms

They appeal most small businesses because of lenient terms and flexible repayment options. It is also more convenient to secure alternative funding because most providers can process your application online. This is most especially valuable for emergency cash needs.

Another advantage in dealing with alternative lending firms is their lenient terms and eligibility criteria, a lower requirement for credit score, and its faster processing and approval. The downside, however, is the excessively high interest rates and other additional upfront fees.

SBA Loans

A U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan system is a funding solution backed up by the US government, which aims to support its citizens with the means to build and expand their own businesses. The SBA doesn’t provide the loan itself but serves as a guarantor to the loan coming from both private and public financial institutions that include banks and alternative lenders.

Small Business Administration partners with these financial institutions to offer a wide range of loan types that can suit the different funding needs of small businesses. It has a regulated set of guidelines, which all partners follow, in order to protect the interest of both the borrower and the lender. SBA guarantees for a percentage of the amount of every loan approved, which is about 70–90%. This minimizes the risk for the lender. On the other hand, the fact that a government small business loan is enough to know that the borrower is protected under its own laws and regulations. SBA loans offer lower interest rates than other alternative lending institutions.

The downside of an SBA loan is its long process, and it requires more paperwork. There are also top up fees to be paid when you avail.

Questions To Answer Before Getting an SBA Loan

Before approaching an SBA loan provider, make sure that you have the answer to the following questions:

  1. What is your borrowing intent?
  2. How urgent is your need?
  3. What are your business’ risks?
  4. In what stage of development is your business?
  5. How much do you need?
  6. How long can you pay the loan back?
  7. What is your business plan?
  8. How long have you been operating your business?
  9. What is the cycle of your business? Is it seasonal or consistently producing revenue?

By answering the above questions, you can help the SBA loan provider to assess your capacity and risk tolerance. It can also determine if you are eligible or not.

Reasons Why You May Be Denied From an SBA Loan

Small Business Administration loans are attractive to small businesses because of its advantages like low interest rates, flexible repayment terms, varied loan types, and primarily because it is government backed-up. Most alternative fundings compensate the higher risk involved with their grants by imposing higher interest rates, which can go as high as 80% APR.

Unfortunately, not everybody that applies for it are automatically approved. Many businesses have varied problems with small business loans that can hinder their growth, and here are the most probable reasons why you may not be granted with an SBA Loan.

Yours Is a Startup Company

An SBA loan requires for a business to be operating for at least 2 years.

You may opt for other funding options like angel investing or to a venture capitalist. There is also an online community-based funding solution like crowdfunding, which can cater to start up entrepreneurs. Cash flow based funding like merchant cash advances is also viable. There are also alternative lending companies that specialize in giving capital for startups, but the grant is not that big.

Yours and Your Business’ Credit Score Is Low

Like with conventional bank loans, SBA loans require a strong credit score, which is the most prevalent reason why most borrowers get denied.

A credit score, which most people might probably doesn’t know, is the numerical equivalent of your commitment to paying off your debts. It is computed based on your debt and credit histories with banks and other financial institutions. For example, you own a credit card. When you use your card, you will be billed on a designated cut off. If you diligently pay on time and in full amount and you are consistent with this for a long period of time, then, generally, your credit score will be high. When you do the other way around, say you don’t pay the full amount or you pay late, of course, your score will be low. But having no credit history can equally hurt your credit score because basically, there will be no means for a lender to assess your willingness and responsibility to pay.

There may be a lot of reasons why a business, or you, have a low credit score, and other alternative lending agencies are not too particular with these. Find one that can grant a loan for someone like you, which is also an opportunity to build your credit score again.

You Do Not Have Enough Collateral

Small Business Administration loans like bank loans do require a collateral. This collateral is being shared with the lender and the SBA because they share a part of the guarantee with the loan. Because of this, it may also require you a personal collateral too. This is also the reason why SBA loans cannot cater to startups because most of them doesn’t have more assets that can serve as a collateral.

Your Company’s Industry Is Part of the Grant’s Exclusions

Aside from startups, SBA loans won’t approve the loan applications of businesses in these industries:

  1. Businesses that are engaged in lending
  2. Life insurance companies
  3. Businesses outside the USA
  4. Businesses engaged in networking or any incentive-based model and pyramiding
  5. Businesses that get a third of its gross revenues from legal gambling
  6. Religion-based businesses
  7. Lobbying or political organizations
  8. Speculative businesses like oil explorations

You Don’t Want the Risk for a Personal Guarantee

Small Business Administration loans will need your personal guarantee, which meant your car, your home, and other personal assets. When you give this to the bank as a collateral, you give it the power to sell those when you cannot pay back your loan anymore.

There are other small business loan with no personal guarantee to ask from you, which may be viable if you are intolerant with this kind of risk.

So how to convince the best SBA loan providers to grant you that loan? You’ve got to be positive when it comes to these 5 C’s:

  1. Character – this implies your managerial skills or the strength of your management team. Your team should exemplify a strong sense of responsibility when it comes to their roles in your business.
  2. Credit Score – this is one important factor that SBA loan providers do look for, and it is also one of the hardest to repair. Even though you may be denied with an SBA loan, there is a lot of room in getting another small business loan provider that will fit your eligibility and needs.
  3. Capacity – a strong business plan and a steady cash flow are strong indications of your capacity to sustain in paying your liabilities.
  4. Capital – before getting an SBA loan, you should know how much additional capital you really need to finance your venture. This also includes information about the nature of your intent and the specific reason/plan for the grant.
  5. Collateral – there are different assets that can serve as collaterals other than real estate like personal assets (house, car), accounts receivables, and credit cards. When the cash flow and profits are good, it is best to slowly build up your assets, which can also help you for your unexpected future additional funding needs.
Venture Capital

Dividends and Preferences: Should You Take Corporate Venture Capital?

Corporate Venture Capital is seemingly everywhere — from Intel’s venture capital arm ranking as the #1 venture capital firm for funded deals over the last decade, to the massive hoopla surrounding Google forming a 100mm venture capital fund last May to invest in virtually any sector they see fit. In the current economic environment where 1) VC money is tight and 2) the IPO market (although marginally improved) is still quite bad, startups are increasingly taking a serious look at corporate venture capital as a fund raising solution, especially if it is the only money available to them. Anecdotally, over the last six months a large percentage of my VC-style deals have been driven by corporate or strategic VC.

Venture

For example, I helped one large “consumer goods” business seed four different high technology start-ups last quarter and also helped a different corporate VC untangle a purchase option its baby company was no longer happy with. Right now, I am working on raising a new $100mm VC fund that is targeting LPs among large companies in a particular sector and that is designed to give these large company strategic LPs a first look at its portfolio companies and their technologies. Below I give more details on the pros and cons of taking corporate venture capital. Large companies are intrigued by the siren call of venture investments. It allows them to “outsource” their R&D efforts without having to get in bed with the innovators they are seeding. They look at the relationship more as a strategic partnership then a financial play. You could say that the focus is on “partnering” rather than “venturing.” The big companies are focused on finding synergies – how can the baby company with the promising technology fill some gap in our product portfolio, or accelerate our time to market? The value to the big company is not calculated purely in terms of hard cash – rather it is also calculated in terms of the overall business proposition. The big company investor will often expect an option on the company it invests in or on the technology the target is developing. However, they typically do not want “control” of the baby companies at the outset. They prefer to make minority investments – and often will couple these with a license right or purchase option. By making a minority investment and not actually acquiring the baby company, the big company may be able to avoid or delay having to consolidate the baby company’s financials with its own – depending on its analysis of FIN 46.That the big company does not want to acquire the baby company outright can be a good thing for the owner’s of the baby company. For one thing, they may get to defer the sale of their company until a later date when, presumably, they will have hit their milestones and will have a much higher valuation. Also, it allows the baby company to have a champion – hopefully, in an industry or sector that the baby company can really use a champion.

Corporate Venture Capital

I have seen this work very successfully in the biotech space and also in certain hardware sectors – knowing that you have someone at big pharma already interested in your company can give you some peace of mind and allow you to focus on your clinical trials. The flip side of this is that you may end up discouraging any other potential partners from coming forward – which will not only seriously chill any auction process for the sale of your company or technology, but might also be an impediment to basic business success. Close ties with one big client can hurt a baby company if the partnership with big company A will prevent you from doing business with their competitor, big company B. Another thing to keep in mind is that the terms of your technology license or purchase option with the big company will typically be locked in at the very beginning. The terms of this arrangement may seem great when all you have is an idea; however, once you have traction and have hit several milestones, you may not like the pre-established price or the terms of the license. Maybe you could do better in the open market? Maybe you don’t want to sell at all anymore and the big company is exercising its purchase option? These are certainly perils. A baby company has few legal options at this point and may end up with the Hobson’s choice of taking the deal that is available or taking none at all – and potentially killing the company. A final thing to consider is that big companies are typically slower than independent VCs in cementing their deals. In a sector where speed to market is very important – such as consumer e-commerce or social media – this is a serious disadvantage. Corporate venture capital is not without its risks, but for the right baby company, can be the right choice.

Retirement Number

Retirement Number Information

A lot of people wonder how old they will need to be to retire successfully. Well, there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to how much you should have saved going in to retirement. It really depends; Lifestyle, income and life expectancy are but a few of the determining factors.

There are some ways to determine your progress toward a successful retirement, ways to determine your ‘Retirement Number’ – the age at which you might leave the workforce. It may be the case that your current financial trajectory is not on track with your retirement expectations and goals. Here are a few guidelines for tracking your progress toward saving for retirement:

Retirement plan

When do you want to retire?

We are living longer lives, indeed. This changes the landscape of retirement, employment and our society at large. I overheard my mother, at 61, say “I don’t know when I’ll be able to retire.” It seems to be a voice of the majority. We all chase that number – the age when we can sit back and rest on our life’s work, but that number changes. Things happen. Expenses arise. With some foresight, you can adjust your lifestyle to better proportion your income to savings to meet your retirement date expectations. It is also important to consider whether you are willing to continue working part-time for a period before stepping out of the sphere of employment altogether. Building a nest egg to support yourself entirely for 25 years is much different than a nest egg that aims to supplement part-time income for 10 years and fully support you for an additional 15.

What sort lifestyle do you expect in retirement?

Most of us begin considering retirement as soon as we enter the workforce. “That’ll be the day,” we imagine. Normally there’s a slightly wrinkled version of our current selves on some beachfront property wearing a silly hat and drinking a cocktail as part of that dream. Those visions, whatever they may be, set the stage for the kind of expenses we can expect in retirement. By crunching the numbers that take in to account your goals, be they hobbies, travel or other goals, you will be better suited to determine the amount of income you will need to suit that lifestyle.

What income streams can you rely on?

What types of income can you expect upon retirement? The most fortunate among us can expect a pension. Most of us can expect some social security payments. You may own a rental property or other assets that will generate income. Every retiree will need to develop a plan to support their lifestyle by pulling money from their investment portfolio. If your savings and investments aren’t adding up, you might consider working part time for a period to supplement before going in to full on retirement mode.

Will you have debt?

Debts have a huge effect once you switch from a state of generating new income to relying on existing investments. Heading in to retirement with a debt load will certainly impact your cash flow, and how much you can use for day-to-day, month-to-month needs. In the ideal scenario, retirees succeed at paying off significant debts like mortgages before they transition to retirement. Otherwise, you will have to factor in those debts when determining how much income you need for retirement.

Retirement

The 4% Rule

The general rule of thumb from financial advisors is that retirees should withdraw no more than 4% from your retirement portfolio each year. So, a $1million portfolio would offer an annual income of $40k. The important factor here is knowing how far that $40k will get you during a year of retirement. This is a function of lifestyle. What is your cost of living? Will you have mortgage / car payments to worry about, still? Compare your debts to reliable income streams. From there, you can gain a better understanding of what you need to have invested in order to make your annual expenses make ends meet with the 4% rule.

Prioritizing retirement lifestyle over current desires is what it often takes to segue in to a successful retirement plan. Your retirement goals determine your need for savings. The earlier you start to prioritize, plan and pursue a savings plan that encompasses the retirement lifestyle you imagine, the better off you’ll be and the sooner you will be able to determine your retirement number. A nest egg that starts early and is able to accumulate decades of interest often means additional retirement income, years off your retirement number and weight off your shoulders at a time when you will need it most.

Real Estate Return

Real Estate Return vs Mutual Fund Return

Real Estate has remained the favorite Investment of Indians across generations.
I work in one of the Indian IT company. The main agenda of everyone is to reach onsite and make money. The money earned at the client location is used to buy real estate. The real estate can be in the form of land, a flat or a commercial property. The more the no of onsite trips, the more the number of real estate properties.
According to me, the only property that you should purchase is the one in which your family lives. Everything cannot be judged or weighted according to the money. This is why we will ignore the money used to buy a home for your family for the purpose of discussion.

Real Estate

Investing in a Second Property

Now, the problem is when people invest in second properties or flats and call them as an Investment. These second properties are very far away from being considered as good investments. I’ll show below all the calculations to prove my point.
In one of our previous articles, we had covered as to why investing in mutual funds is better than real estate. After reading that article, one of my friends was still not convinced. The observations of my friend were as below:
Real Estate is a physical asset which one can see and pass across generations Real Estate can give us Passive Income The first point mentioned above is totally an emotional one. Just because you can see and feel an asset, doesn’t mean it is the best investment. Dividing a physical asset has never been an easy task. Getting a correct price at the correct time is very tough. And if left among the family members or siblings, it is a different story altogether. I am not saying that only negative scenarios happen. But each one of us has heard many stories about disputed properties.

Real Estate as a Passive Income

The second point raised above needs more discussion and with numbers. In cities, a major proportion of the people are investing their hard earned money in buying secondary flats for the purpose of passive income.
The main points put forward by them for their investment decision is as below:
Since IT companies don’t have pension, they will help us to give passive income in the long run They can give their flats to Kids after they get married The second point above is again an emotional one. Also, it is based on too many hypothetical situations to come true for the second point to become valid.
We will discuss more on the first point. Passive Income is important in later stages of life as there would be no job or pension. We need to plan in very early stages of our lives to sort out this important concern. But, many people delay this assuming that they have a lot of time left. We will discuss a case study below to understand the returns from passive income of the real estate.
Case Study 1
I am taking a case of a person who is of age 50. He has Invested Rs 50 lakhs to buy a new flat. The flat is in an average society in one of the Metros of India. For the purpose of calculations, I am taking a period of 25 years.
In this case study, I am going to take the Best case scenario with the below assumptions:
Rent would increase continuously at the rate of 8% every year Property price would increase at the rate of 6% every year(Increase in property price has been calculated by studying the average increase in the price of 10 major cities of India. The period is for the past 5 years.
There would be no maintenance required for the apartment for a period of 25 years No property tax to be paid There would be no month where the flat is vacant Initial Starting rent is Rs 15,000 per month For the purpose of simplicity in calculations, I am assuming that Rent money is paid as a lump sum to the owner.

real estate return

As we can check from the snapshot above, the first year returns are 3.6% of the Invested amount. It would reach a maximum of approx. 6% of the property amount in the 25th year.
Also, at the end of 25 years, you would have a 25-year-old apartment worth Rs 2.02 crore. Now ask yourself one question. Would you ever buy a 25-year-old apartment worth Rs 2.02 crore?
I conclude three points from the above discussion:
Assumptions are too good to be true and there can be a number of external factors which can increase the expenses Maximum return achieved as percentage of property price was 6%And a 25-Year-Old flat in average society. The resell value of the apartment is notional. There is no guarantee that you can find the buyers at the price you want. Case Study 2
Now in this scenario, another 50-year person decides to invest Rs 50 lakhs in Mutual funds. He has heard about a facility known as SWP. SWP stands for Systematic Withdrawal Plan where every month a pre-decided amount would be credited to your account.
In this case study, I am going to take the worst case scenario with the below assumptions:
Money withdrawn per year would increase by 10% YOY The return from Mutual Funds would be 12% YOY Per month withdrawal would be Rs 15000 in the initial year Money left at the end of the year forms the Initial amount for the next year For the purpose of simplicity in calculations, the return credited and the money debited for SWP would take place at the end of the year.

Mutual fund return

mutual fund return

As can be seen from the snapshot above, the person would be having Rs 2.95 crores in liquid money at the end of 25 years. This is because his money was invested into high growing assets of Indian economy.
I conclude 3 points from above discussion:
Money withdrawn at the increasing rate of 10% would easily beat the inflation Return expected from Mutual funds at the rate of 12% is easily achievable by a combination of debt funds, balanced funds, and large cap funds Assets at the end of 25 years is purely liquid and can be easily converted to Cash Analysis: Monthly Money Paid
I would like to do one more comparative analysis on the amount of money credited per month in both the scenarios.

real estate vs mutual fund return

There is a difference of approximately Rs 45 lakhs which were paid extra in the scenario 2.
In a comparison of the Best Case scenario (Real Estate) VS the worst case scenario (Mutual Funds), the MF scenario exceeded the return of real estate by Rs 1.5 crores.

CONCLUSION

The results are pretty straightforward. Investments in mutual funds over a longer period of time handsomely beat the return of real estate.
The next time you want to buy any real estate, run the required analysis and then make an informed decision.
Buying a real estate should not be an emotional decision but a calculative and a practical decision.

Overseas Investing

10 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Property Overseas

Did You Know?

Spain, France, and Nova Scotia are favorite destinations among Americans looking to invest in a property overseas.

You are on a vacation to a European or South American destination, and you love everything about the place. The weather is nice, food is great, people are hospitable and friendly, it is not crowded like New York or London, plus the prices are comparatively low by American standards. You like the place so much, that you’ve considered living here. If not that, at least buy a decent apartment or a condo, so that you can visit whenever you like.

Purchasing a property overseas is exciting, but only after you are clear about one rule – the heart should never rule the head where money is concerned. Also, it is essential that you follow the right procedure, and avoid using any unfair means in securing real estate. Consider doing all the things you would do if you were buying real estate in your homeland. Here are some tips that you can follow.

Know the Market Thoroughly

Be aware of rising and falling trends of the market. Knowledge about the rates can be helpful if you want to buy when prices are down, and sell as soon as the market sees an upward trend. Also, some countries have strict rules that prevent or limit property ownership to foreigners. Hence, it is good to know whether or not you have the legal right to purchase property in that country, to avoid any scams or disappointment. It is important to do your homework before stepping in the market of an alien country.

Beware of Impostors

The global real estate market is filled with impostors who con people, and often get them involved in a financial and legal mess. Even so, this doesn’t mean that everyone you come across is a thug, but being aware of what is right and wrong is a smart move. If you are dealing with a real estate agent who does not carry business cards, and does not have an office, he/she is probably someone you should avoid. Also, there are certain countries that don’t regulate their real estate industry; hence, agents don’t even require a valid license. Be extremely careful here, and proceed only after doing thorough research.

Only Purchase What You See

Real estate agents are idealists. They will make you dream about well-built roads, world-class amenities, and other facilities that are nowhere in plain sight. The catch here is, once you have signed the contract, you are the owner of the area and the illusions surrounding it. I have nothing against agents here, but it sounds risky to invest your hard-earned money for just barren land. Consider all the things that can go wrong here. Hence, only buy what you see.

Always Seek Professional Assistance

Great deals at an affordable price can be achieved if you buy a property directly from the owner. Nevertheless, don’t forget that you are in a foreign land, and taking the help of a reliable professional can be useful to avoid various pitfalls when buying property in a foreign land.

Signing a Contract

Never sign a contract that you don’t understand. Always ask for two versions of the contract – one in English, and the other in the local language. Bring along your legal adviser to confirm that the English version is a true translation, and does not contain any errors, extras, or omissions. Read the contract thoroughly, and ensure that you and the seller both agree to the different terms and conditions decided.

Try to Pay Cash

If you really like the property and know that this is the final deal, try paying the owner cash. It is a tough decision to take, but it is important to understand that financing mechanisms, like mortgages, aren’t as stable in foreign countries as they are in the US. In most European vacation spots, property transfers are mostly done in cash. For those who can’t do without a mortgage, seek the help of your real estate agent and lawyer to know more about such destinations.

Overseas Investing

Verify the Title

In the US, if you acquire a property you get a warranty title that states you are the legal owner. However, in countries outside the States, this title can create quite a problem. This is highly possible in European countries. You see, World War II had created many boundaries in the world, and it is quite possible that once you purchase the property, a recent descendant of the family can suddenly appear to claim his/her property. The situation sounds dramatic, but it can surely happen. This crisis can be avoided by taking the help of a notary. A notary can help verify legal documents, and also ensure that there are no gaps in the property’s history, and you are the rightful owner.

Knowing the Native Language

Relocating to a country without knowing its native language can get quite difficult. The best thing to do is to join a language course, and get things in motion soon. However, if you are not up for this challenge, a better idea would be choosing a country where English is spoken in large numbers.

Valuating the Property

Property valuation is an important step, especially in a foreign land. You need to know all the pros and cons of the property before signing the papers. Hence, ensure that an independent valuation of the property is carried out in your presence.

A Local Bank Account is Necessary

You will have to open a bank account in the country where you have chosen to live, and apply for a Certificate of Importation, so that bringing in money from your home country won’t be a problem. Also inquire about online money transfer facilities, so that you can pay the bills and taxes associated with the house from time to time.

Try to bargain if you are good at it; chances are you might get a great deal at a low price. Also, don’t shy away from seeking professional services that can ensure a smooth transaction overseas.

venture-capital

The Flora and Fauna of Venture Capital

I have found that many entrepreneurs are confused by the differences between the various flavors of angel and venture capital. This is not surprising since the categories used are overlapping and are often used inconsistently by different investors. However, there are some broad generalizations that can be drawn – typically based on the timing of the proposed investment and the typical purpose of the investment in the company’s lifecycle. Depending on the timing, you can also draw some basic conclusions as to the type of investor that will be involved and, in each category, generalizations can be made as to the type of security the company will sell and the magnitude of return the investor will seek.

venturecapital

The earliest stages of investment are usually characterized as seed rounds, proof of concept investments or angel investments. These investments usually do not occur until after the investor has tapped out his friends and family (in what is often characterized as the “friends and family” round). The money invested is intended to allow the founders of the company to do their initial research, to complete the initial programming or to apply for the initial patent(s). Companies at this stage usually do not have a saleable product and do not have very many employees, other than the founders/inventors. The investors are almost always NOT traditional venture capital funds. Rather, they consist of wealthy individuals or groups of individuals that are willing to invest their own money and take the extreme risk involved in making equity investments into companies that often only have a good idea. Alternatively, the investor may be a government or university funded incubator that was established to help entrepreneurs or scientists get their ideas off of the ground. In this stage, the amount of the investment is typically relatively small – e.g. $100,000 to $500,000, seldom more than $1,000,000 in total. Also, the investor usually takes common stock in the company – the same stock that the founders get. Alternatively, the investor will take a convertible note that allows them to have the protection of debt at the beginning and also allows them to convert at the valuation established by later investors. Investments at this stage are extremely risky and are subject to significant dilution when new investors come in during later stages. Consequently, angel investors look for returns of at least 10x their initial investment, and sometimes as high as 20x or 30x their initial investment. The next stage of investment in a typical company’s life cycle is early stage venture capital. This type of investment usually is not available to a company until it has a proven product and a business plan. However, it is not necessary that a company be profitable or even be producing its product. The funds the company raises will be used to mass manufacture the product, market the product, build a sales force and further develop the product. For this investment, the company will be able to attract early stage venture capitalists. These venture capitalists often have smaller funds which are more suited to making the relatively smaller sized investments found at this stage of a company’s life. In this stage, the amount invested is typically in the $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 range. The early stage venture capitalist will almost always be investing in Series A preferred stock of the Company. This security will be superior to the common stock held by the founders and any angels and will typically come with dividend rights, liquidation preferences, some form of anti-dilution rights and a right of first refusal on stock sales by the founders and angels. Sometimes it may also come with pre-emptive rights, redemption rights and drag along rights and other rights and preferences. The venture capitalists at this stage will look for returns of at least 5x their initial investment and would gladly accept higher returns. There may be multiple additional rounds of equity financing after the Series A round. These types of funding are often called growth capital or mezzanine financing. Usually, the company will either be close to profitability or will have a clear path to profitability and the funds are meant to allow the company to expand its sales force and marketing efforts and ramp up its revenue growth.

venturecapital tip

The money may also be used to develop additional products or to research expansion ideas. These investments are usually made by the larger size venture capital funds and the amount invested can range from $1,000,000 to $25,000,000 or higher – depending on the company and the market opportunity. The investment will typically be made for additional rounds of preferred stock – for example, Series B or Series C preferred stock – and each successive round will generally having superior rights and preferences to the prior rounds. Venture capitalists at this stage of investment may still look for 5x investment returns, but depending on the opportunity and the trajectory of the company, will often settle for 2x or 3x returns. Occasionally, a company in the growth phase of its life cycle, or that is on the cusp of the growth phase, will raise bridge capital. This is typically debt that “bridges” the gap in funding between rounds of venture capital financing. Usually, it takes the form of a convertible note that will automatically convert into the next round of preferred stock, sometimes at a discount. The lender may be an existing investor in the company or it may be a new venture capital fund that is contemplating making the follow on round. Another type of financing that is available to companies in their growth phase is venture debt. This is a loan from a bank that is often securitized by the company’s accounts receivable, inventory or equipment. The venture lender will take warrants in the company to help increase its return on the loan. Typically, these lenders seek combined returns in the 12 to 18% range. The final type of financing that a company may seek can be characterized as acquisition or buyout capital. This type of capital is used to purchase the assets or stock of other businesses that will then be adsorbed into or added onto the company. The investor may be the company’s existing venture capitalists or it may be a private equity fund that is building out a platform in the company’s industry. In the later case, the investment may come with a right to purchase the company outright in the future. This type of financing also occurs when a company’s venture capitalists start planning their exit strategy. By putting together the right pieces it may make the company more attractive as an acquisition candidate or perhaps more eligible for an IPO.

Venture Capital

The Stages of Venture Capital Investing

The following is Part 2 of my five-part series on the roles of angel investors and venture capital investors in emerging technology sectors with explosive upside potential, such as the nanotech, cleantech, biotech, information technology and new media sectors. In Part 1, I gave a general overview of the playing field. Below, I examine the stages of an emerging growth company’s lifecycle and the types of investment that it hopes to obtain at each relevant stage. Introduction Many investors are confused by the differences between angel and venture capital. This isn’t surprising; the categories are overlapping and are used inconsistently. However, there are some broad generalizations that can be drawn, typically based on the timing of the investment and the purpose of the investment in the company’s lifecycle. Depending upon the timing, you can draw some basic conclusions as to the type of investor that will be involved (e.g. single angel vs. angel consortium vs. venture capitalist). And, in each category, you can glean the form the investment will take (e.g. common stock vs. convertible debt vs. preferred stock) and the size of the return investors can expect. That is, if there’s a return–very few private emerging growth investments are actually a success. More below the fold. Seed Round The earliest investment stages are usually characterized as seed rounds, proof of concept investments or angel investments. These investments usually don’t occur until after the target entrepreneur has tapped out his friends and family in what’s usually called a “friends and family” round. The money you invest is intended to allow the founders of the company to do their initial research, to complete the initial programming or to apply for the initial patent(s). Companies at this stage usually don’t have a saleable product and don’t have very many employees, other than the founders/inventors. Traditional venture capital funds very rarely invest in seed rounds. Rather, seed investors typically consist of angels that is, wealthy individuals or groups of individuals that are willing to invest their own money and take the extreme risk involved in making equity investments into companies that often only have a good idea. Occasionally, a seed investor may be a publicly or privately funded incubator established to help entrepreneurs or scientists get their ideas off of the ground. In the seed round stage, the amount of the investment is typically small, say $100,000 to $500,000, seldom more than $1,000,000. Also, the investor usually takes common stock in the company–the same stock that the founders get. Alternatively, the investor will take a convertible note that allows him to have the protection of debt at the beginning but with the possibility of converting and receiving the upside of equity. Typically, the conversion will occur in concert with the closing of the next round of investment and will be at the same per share price used in the next round. Often, you receive some sort of additional incentive for making a seed round investment such as a conversion discount or grant of warrants. Investments at the seed stage are extremely risky and are subject to significant dilution when new investors come in during later stages. Consequently, angel investors look for returns of at least 10x their initial investment, and sometimes as high as 20x or 30x their initial investment.

Venture-1

Early Stage Venture Round The next stage of investment is early stage venture capital. Investors usually aren’t interested in making this type of investment until the company has a proven product and a business plan. However, it isn’t necessary that the target be profitable or even be producing its product. The funds invested will be used to mass manufacture the product, market the product, build a sales force and further develop the product. Typically, these sorts of investments are made by early stage venture capitalists, larger angels or angel consortiums. Early stage venture capitalists and angel consortiums usually have smaller funds to deploy which makes them more suited to making the relatively smaller sized investments found at this stage of a company’s life. In this stage, the amount invested is typically in the $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 range. The investors will almost always be purchasing Series A preferred stock of the target. This type of stock is superior to the common stock held by the founders and any seed round angel investors and will typically come with dividend rights, liquidation preferences, some form of anti-dilution rights and a right of first refusal on stock sales by the founders and seed round angels. Often, the investors will also receive pre-emptive rights, redemption rights, drag along rights and other rights and preferences. Investors at in early stage investments will typically look for returns of at least 5x their initial investment and would gladly accept higher returns. Growth Stage Venture Round After the Series A round, there may be multiple additional rounds of equity financing. These types of funding are often called growth capital or mezzanine financing. Usually, the company seeking this sort of investment will either be close to profitability or will have a clear path to profitability and the funds are meant to allow the company to expand its sales force and marketing efforts and ramp up its revenue growth. The money may also be used to develop additional products or to research expansion ideas. These investments are usually made by the larger venture capital funds and the amount invested can range from $1,000,000 to $25,000,000 or higher, depending on the company and the market opportunity. The investor typically will receive additional rounds of preferred stock–for example, Series B or Series C preferred stock–and each successive round will generally have superior rights and preferences to the prior rounds. Investors at this stage may still look for 5x investment returns, but depending on the opportunity and the trajectory of the company, may settle for 2x or 3x returns. Bridge Round Occasionally, investors will be willing to invest bridge capital into a company in the growth phase of its life cycle, or one that’s on the cusp of the growth phase. This investment takes the form of debt that “bridges” the gap in funding between rounds of venture capital financing. These investments range in size depending on the company and the market opportunity and they’re made by all types of investors, depending on the size of the investment. The lender may be an existing investor in the company or it may be a new angel or venture capital fund that’s contemplating making the follow on round. Usually, the debt will be represented by a convertible note that will automatically convert into the next round of preferred stock, sometimes at a discount. Also, investors will usually want some sort of warrant coverage to provide equity upside in the deal. Investors at this stage expect a blended return that takes into account the interest rate on the debt and the potential value of the equity. These target returns vary greatly, but often move in the 12 percent to 18 percent range. Buyout Capital Round The final stage is characterized as acquisition or buyout capital. This is used by the company to purchase the assets or stock of other businesses that will then be absorbed into or added onto the target company. The investors may be the company’s existing venture capitalists or it may be a private equity fund that’s building out a platform in the company’s industry. In the latter case, the investment may come with a right to purchase the company outright in the future. This type of financing also occurs when a company’s angels and venture capitalists start planning their exit strategy. By putting together the right pieces it may make the company more attractive as an acquisition candidate or perhaps more eligible for an IPO. In the next three parts of this article, I’ll explore angel investing, angel syndicate investing and venture capital investing, in greater detail and I’ll discuss the important characteristics of each mode, including typical legal and business issues.

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