How to get legal affairs streamlined before passing away? Let’s find out here!

Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me –The Carriage held but just Ourselves –And Immortality.

– (Because I could not stop for death by Emily Dickinson)

According to these lines, death is not something that can be delayed or ignored; it will come to you, embrace you, and will accompany you until you find immortality. Basically, death is inevitable, and that’s the ultimate truth of life. Everyone has to bear it one day or the other.

And there’s nothing “morbid” talking about it. Most people might fear death because of the burden of responsibilities they carry on their shoulders. Now that you are retired, and about to enter the late senior years, there’s one last chore that you need to do.

Yes, you guessed it right. We are talking about streamlining the legal affairs so that your family members and friends don’t have to worry about it after you are gone. That’s the least you can do to ensure that everything related to the estate you owned will work just the way YOU wanted it. Also, after you are gone, the last thing the family and friends would want is to look after the legal formalities.

But, if you have no idea about what to start with, then stop worrying about it. This article contains everything you need to keep the legal affairs in check after the demise.

Let’s begin!

Prepare a Will

Imagine this, you just passed away, and your children and everyone you know are fighting about who will get what from the estate. Wouldn’t that be heartbreaking? So, in order to avoid all the conflict, fights, and manipulation, we’ve got a go-to solution that everyone should know about. And that is to draft or prepare the Will.

It is the best way to ensure that everything is done according to your choice. It is a legal document that contains some crucial pointers about how you wish to manage the wealth after the demise. You can put in things like who’ll inherit the property, or who will get what from the estate, or who will have a power of attorney, and who needs to be kept out of the decisions.

Preparing a Will is considered of utmost importance. In fact, according to renowned lawyers, a Will can help in reducing the payable amount of Inheritance Tax on the property, money, and assets you leave behind. It also becomes significant if you have children or someone who depends on you financially. Or it can also be beneficial if you want to donate or leave something to people who do not belong to the immediate family.

Basically, it gives you the power to decide what will happen to the wealth after passing away. Plus, it will also ensure that all the legal proceedings are taking place smoothly and no one has to suffer the legal tensions.

Consider establishing a living trust

For those who don’t know about what a living trust is, let us clear that up for you.

 Suppose you want someone to manage your assets and estate. So, what can you do to legalize that responsibility?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. A document needs to be created in which all the details are mentioned such as, who will be the one to manage the assets. That designated person is known as the trustee. A living trust is prepared to allow for the easy transfer of the estate or assets. It is also an agreement in which it is clearly mentioned that a trustee holds possession of your estate and is legally designated to distribute it the way you or the trustee sees fit.

According to the state law, “When a settlor passes away, his/her assets flow to the beneficiaries as outlined in the trust. Unlike a will, a living trust becomes incapacitated after the death of the settlor. This means that during the lifetime of the settlor, trust doesn’t have to clear the courts to reach the intended beneficiaries.”

Thus, it is just like putting your trust in someone else who will be in charge of the estate and all the assets.

Make a “When I die file.”

Life is full of uncertainties, and after reaching a certain age, the stakes are a bit higher. So, it would be best if you kept everything organized to ease the confusion that will follow after the demise. For this, the lawyers suggest their clients keep a file that contains all the necessary documents, passwords, and codes. You can also put in some letters for the family members and friends.

Here’s a checklist of things that should be incorporated into the file.

  • Marriage/divorce and birth certificates
  • Your Will and living trust
  • Passwords of your phone, social media accounts, and safe
  • Bank account details
  • Letters to loved ones (if you want)
  • Ethical Will

Now, you might be thinking that you know about the basic things to put in the “When I die file,” but what is Ethical Will? Well, it is a type of letter to the younger generation where you instruct them to follow your legacy or family values. Actually, this practice dates back to the time when according to the Old Testament, Jacob orally delivered the first one to his sons around 3500 years ago. So, in a nutshell, it is good if you delivered yours to the generation that comes after so that the family legacies or values carry on after you are gone.

The final words

Keeping the legal affairs streamlined is beneficial for your family and friends and keeps you at ease that everything is managed the way you wanted. The idea is to make things easier on everybody because when you are gone, they’ve already lost enough, and it’s the least you can do to ease their pain.

And after you step into the afterword, the only thing that will matter is the love your family members bear for, and by streamlining your legal affairs, you showed them yours.

So, get on to work until it’s too late!

How to Manage Your Investments Properly

If you’re someone who’s looking to make your financial future brighter by making smart investments today, there are a few things you need to know. Investing isn’t as easy as it might seem on the surface, and a lot of people end up losing money rather than making it because of the mistakes they make along the way. If that’s the trap you want to avoid falling into, read on now and find out more.

Pick a Strategy and Stick to It

It’s always wise to choose a specific investment strategy and to stick with it. If you’re constantly changing your mind and change your strategy, you’re going to end up making mistakes and losing out on gains. So once you’ve settled on a strategy, try not to move away from it unless you have a very good reason to. That’ll serve you better over the long-term.

Do Plenty of  Research

Before you enter any kind of new investment, you should always do plenty of research into it. You need to see evidence of strong fundamentals before you feel comfortable investing in anything. Even if you were recommended an investment opportunity by someone, you should still take the time to research it yourself and find out if it really does present the kind of opportunity you’re looking for.

Work with Tax Professionals

If you’re going to invest your money properly and grow it over time, you’re going to need to work with the right tax professionals. Things like cost segregation services by tax professionals can help you a lot and ensure you don’t get caught out later when it comes to paying your taxes. It can all be pretty confusing if you’re new to this, so working with the professionals makes a lot of sense.

Have an Exit Plan

Having an exit plan in place is always a good idea. Even if your strategy is focused on long-term investing, it’s still a good idea to have an endgame in mind and to know how you’re going to take your profits and what you’ll then look to do with them. Most people will find that it makes sense to move into safer and safer investments as they get older and closer to retirement.

Work with Financial Advisors if There’s Something You’re Not Sure About

Working with the right advisors and investment professionals can make your life a lot easier if there’s anything you’re not sure about. This is all new to you so you’re going to face challenges and there’ll no doubt be things you get wrong. Working with professional financial advisors will help to reduce the severity of those situations and save you from financial losses.

Managing your investments in a smart way is something you’ll need to work on and get better at over time. Your investing strategy is one that’ll need to be specific to you because only you understand your risk adversity and the goals you have, as well as their timescales.

10 Low-Effort Ways To Boost Your Finances

There are plenty of things you can do to build your financial health on a long-term basis, and indeed, this isn’t something that you should ignore — if you have a long-term strategy, then in the future, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of your efforts.

However, it’s not as if all things related to boosting your finances have to take years. There are things you can do right now that’ll put you on the right path, and the good news is that these things won’t necessarily require much effort!

In this blog, we’ll run through a number of things you can do that will boost your finances without having to exert all that much effort.

Direct Saving

It’s always nice to see the savings account moving in the right direction. The problem is that sometimes it takes a conscious effort to transfer money from your primary account to your savings.

Why not simplify the process by setting up a direct transfer? Each month, a set sum, decided by you, will move into your savings. You won’t even notice it since it won’t have been in your account in the first place (if you set the transfer up for the day that you’re paid).

Switch to a Lower/Higher Rate 

Interest rates can have a significant impact on your financial health. While it’s good to have a credit card (to build your credit score), if you’re not paying off the balance each month and have overly high interest on your cards, then you’re just giving money away.

Why not look at transferring the balance to a card that offers a more favorable rate. You can usually get an attractive introductory rate that’ll slash the costs. 

For your credit cards, you’ll want to have the lowest rate possible. For your savings and other investments, you’ll want to have a higher rate, so look at switching that too. Both of these processes can take all of thirty minutes.

Shop Around

We tend to just assume that whatever price we’re paying for the services we need is just the price we have to pay. But it’s unlikely that you’re locked into any deal for a long period of time. For things like your insurance and cell phone plans, it’s worthwhile shopping around to see if there’s a cheaper option out there.

The good thing about these kinds of things is that prices are always coming down. If it’s been years since you last switched supplier, then there will almost certainly be a cheaper option out there.

Even if you don’t want to switch companies (for whatever reason), you can think about talking with your existing supplier to see if you’re on the best rate — they’ll likely be happy to cut your bill if it means that you’ll stay with them. 

Review the Mortgage

There are some things that have a bigger impact on our finances than others. Your mortgage, if you have one, will be your most significant expense. But are you on the best deal? These days, it’s easy enough to remortgage your property. You might not save money, exactly, but you’ll change your financial landscape, which might put more money in your back pocket. 

That’s if you’re a homeowner, but you’ll have options if you rent, too. The coronavirus pandemic has led to a significant fall in rental prices, especially in those places that may have been in a bubble. Your landlord might be happy to lower your rent by 15%, just by asking. 

Put Your Assets to Work

Many people are asset-rich, cash-poor. For example, if you own a home, or a car, or have investments. While you won’t want to give up any of these things, it’s worthwhile looking to see if there’s a way to put your assets to work.

And here’s a big hint: there nearly always is! For your house, you can look at renting out a room; if you like to be around people and don’t mind sharing your space, then having a tenant can be an excellent way to bring in some much-needed cash. For your car, you can either rent it out, or offer carpool rides to places you were traveling to anyway. And if you’ve invested in cryptocurrencies, then you can use a site like HodlRate.com to find an account that’ll pay you interest on your holdings. 

All of these options don’t detract from your assets; they simply make sure that you’re getting as much worth from them as possible. 

Ask for a Raise

We tend to think that our salaries are set in stone, but that’s not the case, and they’re not forces of nature, either — they’re set by the employer. If you’ve been in your role for a while and know that you’re performing well, then why not look at asking for a raise?

The secret among employers is that most are happy to give their employees raises; it’s just that they don’t tend to go around the office offering them out. They know that it’s much cheaper to give a member of staff a bump in their salary than it is to find a replacement. Just by asking, you might find that you’re getting much more in your pay packet each month. 

Slashing Costs

how to boost finances

We can often fall into acquiring many expenses just through the course of living. Once we reach adulthood, we get our first monthly expense, and then in the course of several years, we find that we have, well, many, many expenses.

Some of them are necessary, of course, but not all of them are. If they’re no longer serving you, then why keep them around? Simply reviewing your costs and either eliminating them or finding ways to reduce them can make a small but noticeable difference to your financial landscape. 

The Money Pit 

We all have some spending habits that we know we don’t really need. For example, if you’re continually eating at restaurants/ordering takeout food, then you might be spending a significant portion of your weekly earnings on something that you just don’t need.

Or perhaps you’re buying too many clothes, records, whatever — the result is the same. If you can identify the luxuries that are really eating into your finances and find ways to reduce them, then in a few weeks or more, you’ll find that your bank balance looks much better.

Spending Breaks

If you want to really give your bank balance a boost on a short-term basis, then you could consider taking a spending break. This requires greater effort than the other tips on this list, but it also has a bigger impact. It works like this: you simply stop spending on everything but essential purchases.

We can spend a lot of money on coffee, alcohol, lunch, and things like that. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it can be worthwhile stopping for a week or two. You could feasibly raise a couple of hundred dollars this way. The key to succeeding is to remember that it’s only a short-term thing — those small pleasures that you enjoy will be back in your life sooner rather than later. 

Sell Unused Goods 

Finally, why not dig through the drawers and see if there’s anything you could sell? If you’re a homeowner, then you’ll probably have hundreds of dollars’ worth of goods just sitting there at your property. If you’re not using them, then sell them to someone who does want them. Depending on how much stuff you have, this could equal effectively the same as a months’ worth of pay. 

2021 Investment Updates: Managing Uncertainty

Raise your hand if you predicted 2020 would see a global pandemic, massive unemployment caused by the first ever government mandated economic shut down in history, a highly contested election, and a stock market recovery from the lows that was amongst the strongest in U.S. history, all in the same year? Ok, put your hand down, there is always one in a crowd! While the calendar has turned all the pages of 2020, there are many differing opinions as to the current health of the U.S. economy and financial markets, have they come too far too soon, what effects will government stimulus and economic dislocations have on the financial markets in 2021 and beyond?

Widespread uncertainty in 2020 failed to dampen the outlook and recovery of equities in Q2 and Q3 2020, record low interest rates were certainly the fuel and spark the markets needed, however the markets took a pause in early Q4 as election chaos gave investors pause, until positive vaccine news once again provided the spark in November 2020. Stocks across the board have risen to new heights, awakening even value stocks from their multiyear slumber. However, following such an impressive rise some on Wall Street believe the rally has come too far too soon, prompting calls of a “bubble” in both stocks and bonds.

While it is our opinion that we are not currently experiencing a bubble in equities, we will grant that the most striking characteristic of economic bubbles, the very thing that fuels their existence is our blindness to them! Perhaps we should first define what a bubble is, one definition of a bubble is that an assets price rises rapidly to the point of being disconnected from any reasonable measure of its inherent value. This is typically caused by emotional inertia driving future expectations higher causing an implausible gap between price and value, some might say Bitcoin! Just an observation largely based perhaps on an inability to make a case for its value given many still can’t even determine if it’s a currency or a commodity! If it’s a currency there is not, and cannot ever be enough in supply to serve this role, if it’s to be viewed as a commodity similarly to gold or silver, I’ve yet to find anything that requires Bitcoin in its manufacture. It may very well continue its explosive price ascent, but attempts to determine “what it’s worth” have been difficult, if not futile.

One asset class where we believe weakness will continue is bonds; with rates at record lows and significantly elevated federal spending to support the economy as well as fund party pledges, we are aware the Fed’s desire is to keep short term rates at low levels, this does not preclude the free markets from pulling the intermediate and long end of the yield curve higher. This realization may seem unsettling to some investors, however, if the economy does start to show better growth in the second half of 2021 as we expect it will, we will likely see rates rise and bond prices fall. Alpha Fiduciary has focused on bond allocations largely supported by real assets or special circumstances which we believe are preferable to own, relative to traditional fixed rate bonds, in rising rate environments.

Finally, earning season will likely provide support for stocks as we begin to see the world return to a more normal operating environment, it would not surprise us to see at least a temporary surge in economic growth before settling in to a more gradual and sustainable GDP growth in the 2.5% range as pent-up demand is satisfied in 2021.

While we don’t think most longer-term investors should underweight stocks in this environment, we favor a core/tactical approach to equities as we believe this presents an attractive upside capture while posed to potentially reduce downside exposure should factors signal to reduce equity exposure in the event it’s warranted.

There are many different approaches to the tactical management of equities, designed and employed with the goal to gain exposure to asset classes when they are rising, and to reduce exposure to those asset classes to limit or reduce downside capture.

If you would like to discover if Alpha Fiduciary’s wealth management approach can benefit you, please visit Alphafiduciary.com, or call us at 480-505-4033.

Alpha Fiduciary is a SEC registered investment advisory firm.  This blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment advice and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security or investment advisory service.    Please refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov) to review our Form ADV Brochure for more information.                                              

http://www.alphafiduciary.com

3 Questions Worth Asking When You Need Money

The covid-19 pandemic has hit unemployed individuals the hardest as with no savings, they have not been able to prepare for the crisis. Yet, many professionals have found themselves unemployed or on furlough during the pandemic, making it hard to face increasing expenses. 

Approximately 50% of the western population now carries credit card debts, which have increased as a result of the pandemic. What is more worrying is that in every country, the response to financial management has been the same. In North America, up to 40% of adults can’t afford to pay more than the minimum balance on their credit cards. In Europe, the figures are similar. There’s been a sudden spike in debts during the pandemic. But even if you’ve been careful with your credit card bills, facing payments you can’t make is an all-too-common situation. What happens when you can’t pay for the things you need? 

Can someone else pay for me?

Facing unexpected bills is no walk in the park. Yet, there is help available if you ask. It’s not uncommon for young adults to reach out to their parents to manage their financial situation. Someone who is just starting their professional career may face a lot of expenses as they establish their independence. More often than not, the bank of mom and dad needs to kick in to save the day! 

There are other situations where you can ask someone else to pay on your behalf, such as with bail bonds where you rely on a licensed bail bondsman to handle your bail fees. The debt isn’t canceled though; you’ll get to pay in due time. 

Do eligibility criteria have the same weight? 

When you face necessary expenses, such as linked to the purchase of a house or a car, the easiest approach to keep your finances under control is to apply for a loan. Yet, it’s easier to say than to do. Loan applications have unique criteria defined by money-lenders, which can make it hard to obtain the money you need. For instance, a lot of banks have high age limits, which could exclude younger borrowers. How can you secure a loan when you don’t meet all the criteria? This shouldn’t stop you from applying. Some criteria can be overlooked if others are met. Banks tend to reject young borrowers, not based on age but based on annual income and repayment potential. If you can prove that you have a solid income, you can document your payment history as part of the application. Some banks and money-lenders can also have less restrictive criteria! Take the time to find the best options. 

Do I need to pay so much?

Not everyone is comfortable negotiating a good deal. Yet, if you understand how to negotiate a discount, you could be able to buy what you need without breaking the bank. It is reasonable to expect up to 30% price reduction on services or items. But, you can’t expect to cut the cost by half without good reasons! 

How do you pay when you can’t afford it? There is more than one answer to the questions. More often than not, there are ways to get around financial obstacles and secure what you need. Yet just like with credit card debts, it’s unwise to get the things you need/want if you know you fail to plan future payments! 

Payroll Management for Medium Or Small Business – All you need to know

It may be challenging to search for a payroll solution but it’s a need, as a lot of work on payroll management is in the mind of startups or small businesses. Onboarding payments and prioritizing the hiring of the worker is what employers’ first step but eventually, they have to pay their employers for taking their services.

On how to deal with their crucial process of payroll management, every small or medium business will be given a choice. As per the requirements, features, cost, and other related factors, companies will select from the below-mentioned options.

  • Hiring accountants
  • Manual processing
  • Utilizing a payroll management software

It is always advisable to make an informed decision, doesn’t matter how your team plans to go regarding payrolls.

There are various ways with the use of which a small or medium business can run payroll. Let’s see how manual payroll management and payroll management software works.

Manual Payroll Management:

Payroll management doesn’t hurt if the company is fewer than ten people. It becomes easy to manually calculate taxes and pay stubs, pretending that you are aware of every withholding and deductions. Whether you are calculating PF or deducting leaves, every time getting a correct value of deduction can be very critical. In case the subtraction of payroll tax payments is done incorrectly then it may lead to very serious problems.

But these days there is the availability of basics of payroll management on the internet as a video or blog, all you have to do is search for the right tools and learn from it.

It is always useful to use an excel sheet or a calculator when manually calculating the payroll. It sounds easy this way but handling the payroll on your own is very tricky. With the work comes the liability as well. If not done with accuracy, the computation of salary payable with the use of a calculator can lead to various errors on the payroll.

You must be aware of all the deductions and payroll solutions but one incorrect amount can modify the complete end result and that can be very hazardous.

Now, here comes the payroll management software that can minimize the day’s work in just a single click. Therefore, selecting the right payroll solution would be a perfect solution.

Payroll Management Software:

For medium and small businesses, a detailed payroll setup is very valuable. The only problem that occurs is how to search for the best payroll solution.

A payroll solution can save you from high school mathematics and take care of even little details that are beneficial to add.

Keeping the track of all the leaves taken by an employee to adjust the leave balance and deduction of wages based on these details is done by intuitive payroll service.

The best part of this sort of software is that you don’t have to worry regarding the latest updates in government policies or income tax deductions as payroll services like TriNet’s payroll services will update it automatically.  So now you know how beneficial the online payroll management software or service is.

Last Words

Going for an online payroll service is anytime beneficial as it saves time as compared to manual payroll management. For the entire company in just a few clicks, you can easily process payroll online. The best part is they are not at all expensive and are available easily online. You only need to keep in mind that the online service you avail for payroll management must-have features like automatic generation of paystubs, assistance in tax form completion, easy integration with in-house software, and direct deposit. If they have then an online payroll solution is the best one for you.

Insurances to Preserve Your Business’s Value

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

  • Anais Nin

By the time an entrepreneur starts a business, s/he exposes herself/himself to a set of risk factors. Even before you hire the first-ever employee, your entity is at risk. This factor makes it essential to insure the business using the right plan.

Most small or mid-sized businesses start with BOP (business owner’s policy), which insures all the business’s basic needs. The most common types of insurance covered in this policy type are –

  1. Business income insurance
  2. General liability insurance
  3. Commercial property insurance

Many business insurance agencies offer customizable business owners’ policies or insurance plans. This gives the liberty to choose a plan with maximum or minimum covers within a predefined budget.

Importance of securing your business –

A catastrophic incident like a lawsuit is enough to ruin your business’s entire reputation in seconds. Be it the lawsuit regarding company policies or client contract breach, it leaves a major impact on the venture’s financial condition. Here, one needs to safeguard the business with an insurance plan preserving your entity from external damages.

Business insurance plans suitable for almost every business type –

Liability insurance – Also referred to as errors and omissions insurance, the professional liability insurance plan covers a business entity against any negligence claim that may hamper the reputation of the business. The most common types of negligence claims on a business are mistakes or unexpected failure to deliver services. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all procedure in professional liability insurance. Here, every business addresses its own set of customized policies.

Workers’ compensation insurance – Once you have hired the first-ever employee at your workplace, you, as a business owner, become eligible for availing workers’ compensation insurance plan. This covers the medical treatments, death benefits, and disability in employees. The employees are eligible to avail of the claim even if they perform a low-risk job with medical conditions like tunnel syndrome. This can be a pricey claim to bear. Therefore, one must pay attention to the details and terms of a workers’ compensation insurance before handing over the insurance proofs.

Property insurance – No matter you have purchased or have your office property on lease, you would need to have property insurance for both. This insurance type covers the business’s signage, equipment, furniture, and inventory effectively. Here, mass destruction incidents like earthquakes or floods are not covered. According to the standard policy rules, this may vary depending on the insurance plan type. So, just in case your office location is earthquake-prone, then make sure to insure it separately.

Vehicle insurance – There are businesses where the employees use company vehicles to accomplish the field jobs. Here, the business must get auto insurance for all the vehicle issues for its employees. Auto insurance should protect the business against any liability or accident. This industry’s experts recommend going for insurance against third-party injury or comprehensive insurance, which covers the vehicle damages done in the accident. And just in case the employees are using their own vehicles for remote office tasks, those have to be covered by the business at its own cost.

Product liability insurance – This is when you are a product manufacturer bringing new products to the market. If your business manufactures products and puts them on sale for the general public, this type of insurance is a must for your business. One of the biggest examples of this insurance type is – J&J talcum powder lawsuit. It made the giant brand pay a hefty amount to many who raised questions about its talcum powder. The product liability insurance saved the business from damage, making it easy for the brand to neglect any negative impact on its business reputation.

Home-based businesses – Many entrepreneurs prefer to start their venture with minimal investment. Therefore, go for a home-based business setup. With this, they consider it to be saving some money, but that’s not the case in real life. Unfortunately, the homeowner’s business policies do not cover the home-based business. So, if you are running your business from home, consult your insurer and find out which business insurance type would work the best for you.

Business interruption insurance – Be it losing a client or a catastrophic incident, both can damage the business’s reputation in no time. Here, one needs to have business interruption insurance to safeguard the business from unexpected problems. During the adverse phase, businesses often suffer lost income due to the staff members’ inability. This insurance type is applicable to all companies requiring a physical location to commence the operations. One of the biggest examples of this insurance type is a retail store or booth.

The business interruption insurance helps to compensate the business for the lost income suffered during the adverse event. Here, the business can avoid any financial loss due to a lawsuit. This insurance type’s documentation process may vary based on the business nature.

Business income insurance – There are times when a business cannot proceed further due to the property damages done. In such circumstances, a business income insurance plan proves to be of great help. It helps to replace the lost income while helps to cover the ongoing expenses of the business. Generally, this includes – payroll, rent, and utility bills.

Data breach insurance helps a business respond against a data breach case. Many insurers refer to this as a coverage cyber insurance plan. It offers identity theft monitoring services as well.

The bottom line –

Owning and maintaining the business’s reputation comes with a lot of responsibilities and efforts. This requires looking through the different ways to support the financial state while looking upon your business type’s best insurance plans. Here you can seek assistance from a business advisor if required.

Securing a Loan As a 20-Year-Old

Although consumer loans are easy to get, they still require a set of criteria before they can be given out. Some of these include the creditworthiness of the borrower which includes their income and expenses as well as factors such as age and if they pay tax.

When a consumer loan is to be given, age and income are usually a limiting factor for younger people. The borrower is usually required to have a fixed income. They may also be required to have housing as a form of security. In addition to these, the typical lower limit for a borrower’s annual income is expected to be between 120,000Kr and 200,000Kr. It’s simply the higher your income, the greater your chances of granting you a loan.

An average 20-year-old is not likely to be able to meet these requirements. They are likely still in school or just finishing school and the likelihood of having this amount of income is very low. Fortunately, some banks have an exception to these requirements.

A variety of factors will determine whether you as a 20-year-old will get a loan or not. A borrower must at least be of the legal age limit of 18 years before they can apply. Most Norwegian banks have higher age limits up to 25 years.

What To Do As a 20 Year Old to Get a Loan

Except you can prove that you have a solid income coupled with a good history of payment, you are not likely to get a loan. So what do you do in this situation as someone who is between 18 and 20 years old? Below are a few tips on what to do.

Do Not Be Hasty

When anyone is seeking a loan and especially if you are young, you must not make hasty decisions. Take your time to understand what is required and which banks may be favorable to you. You should know that the fact that a particular bank says the age limit is 23 years does not mean that your application will automatically be rejected.

It will most likely still be given consideration. You may be young and still earn enough to qualify for the loan. In fact, the banks will desire to have you as a customer if this is the case.

Part of not being hasty is to take your time and look for a loan with the lowest rates possible. Even if the first offer you come across seems low, you should not rush. This is because banks offer different interest rates. By doing this, you will be able to compare the various loans and get one that has the lowest interest rates than others.

Submit Lots of Application

In continuation of the point above, when seeking a loan as a 20-year-old, you should apply for as many as possible. Granted that you will be rejected in some quarters but it is not a smart idea to stay with one or a few lenders. There are many others. Whatever kind of loan you desire, it is always good to have different options to choose from. You can do this by applying to as many banks as possible. Doing this increases your chances of getting the cheapest rates.

Use Loan Agents

Applying to as many banks as possible can be time-consuming and tedious but you need to do so. Rather than do so by yourself, you can use a loan agent or broker so that it becomes quite easy. Agents are people or companies that work with different banks and collect offers on your behalf. The only thing you have to do is provide your details and fill out a single application.

There are many benefits to using an agent. For one, they work in tandem with many banks which in some cases may be up to 15 to 20 lenders.

Secondly, their services are free. The Norwegian Financial Contracts Act says that agents cannot request payments from a loan applicant. So how do the agents get paid you may ask? They often receive commissions from the lenders.

Thirdly, when you apply through an agent, you will begin to receive offers in your email within 24 hours. You can compare to see which one will be most favorable for you. Even when you get an offer, it is non-binding. Offers typically last for 30 days.

Fourthly, using an agent helps you save time as well as effort you would have used to apply to each bank. You can also get advice and tips from them if you need help.

Finally, some agents accept applications from people who are 20 years of age so you can find such to help you out with your application.

When applying through agents, avoid using multiple leading ones. The banks they represent will receive more than one application from you. Also bear in mind that after the loan agreement has been signed, agents have nothing to do with it again. You have to relate with the bank directly.

How Banks Determine Your Eligibility for A Loan

Virtually all lenders have minimum requirements before they can grant a loan. As mentioned previously, these include age, income, payment history and nationality.

While most have upper age limits of 23 and above, the age is meant to serve as a guideline and not a rule that is cast in stone. If you are 17 years and below, your application will be rejected immediately. As long as you are 18 years and above, you will still get a look in even if their stated age limit is higher.

The major reason for setting the age limit is because generally young people have low incomes. There is a risk that they may not be able to pay back the installment and the interest. There is also the possibility of receiving payment remarks which will be a negative dent on the individual. If a young person has a good income despite their age and has good payment history, then the age limit requirement can be waived.

The only conditions in which an application will immediately be rejected is if the applicant is

  • Less than 18 years old.
  • Not Norwegian or not living in Norway. You may not be Norwegian but you must have lived at least 3 years in the country to qualify.
  • Does not have a fixed income. This is flexible and can be based on how much you intend to borrow
  • Has payment remarks. For some banks, you also cannot have debt collection cases that are active.

Credit Assessment

If you pass this first stage of sorting, then the next critical stage is your credit assessment. At this stage, your age does not matter as much but it still does in a way. It is one of the factors that is used in calculating your credit score. The younger a person is, the lower the score. Thankfully, there are other factors used asides from age. You should ensure that your financial behavior is “good” as this helps you to improve your score as you grow older. You will also have more opportunities to get cheaper interest rates in the future.

The assessment is typically based on information that is publicly available including from banks, debt registers, tax authorities and many more. It is a measure of how much risk is involved in granting you a loan. It impacts your chances as well as the interest rates you get. In other words, it shows the bank how much you can borrow and the conditions that should be attached to that. You can learn more about it here.

Conclusion

Whilst most banks will usually require a high age limit to give out loans, it is not cast in stone. As a 20-year-old, you can still qualify to get one if you have a good income and a great history of payments. It is important to apply to as many banks as possible and do not be in haste while doing. In addition to this, do all you can to ensure that your credit score is high by ensuring to pay back promptly.

Positively Changing Your Life On A Shoestring Budget

You don’t need money to be happy, but having it can certainly help you to improve various aspects of your life, whether that’s your living conditions or how much time you can spend on certain hobbies. However, there are a few ways you can positively change your life on a shoestring budget.

Below, we’ll give you some ideas so you can work on making a positive change without spending a fortune. Take a look:

1. Be Choosy About Who You Spend Time With

It costs nothing to be choosy about who you spend the most time with. You may not be able to cut ties with toxic family members completely, but if you try to spend more time with positive people who support your endeavors, you should notice a huge difference in your life. We become like the people we spend the most time with, so if you spend time with toxic people you’ll struggle to stay positive and achieve what you want to achieve. Make sure you pick who let into your inner circle carefully. 

2. Work On Your Mindset

Your mindset is the most important thing for making the changes you want to make. As Henry Ford once said, ‘whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.’ A belief that you can achieve anything you set your mind to and the willingness to take inspired action is key. Things like meditation and consistent mindfulness will help with this, so try to become self aware and get into a good routine. 

3. Read More 

Books can be expensive, but if you have an e-reader you can often find great deals. Ebooks can usually be found for a fraction of the price of physical books, especially if they’ve been out for a while. Then, you have the library where you can take books out for free. You may also be able to arrange book swaps with friends if you have friends who enjoy reading, too. Reading can help you to expand your mind, learning new things, and can even just be an enjoyable pastime. 

4. Move House 

Is your neighborhood safe? Do you have peace of mind at home? If not, it could be time to move house. Moving house isn’t cheap, but you could consider downsizing to save money in the future if you could do with putting more money away. You’ll need to look into various services, such as hiring movers and companies like Carsrelo.com to get your belongings safely to your new location. Moving to a new home may be beneficial if you’d like your kids to have access to better schools, so consider whether this could benefit them, too. 

5. Get Active At Home

You don’t need a gym membership to get fit, nor do you need to spend any money whatsoever, unless you want to buy a few simple pieces of equipment to use at home. You can use YouTube to learn different exercises and routines, and as long as you’re consistent you can improve your fitness. Even walking more than you do now can help to improve your fitness levels, so don’t feel like you need to spend a ton of money to get into shape. Personal trainers, equipment, and gym memberships are entirely optional. 

6. Simplify Your Life

Could you potentially simplify your life to make a positive impact on how you live now? Maybe you could have a clear out and sell your items to make money on things that you no longer want. A simple life will give you space in your home and if you get into the right mindset, you won’t feel under pressure to buy things to keep up with friends or people on Instagram. When you let go of the need to have the latest home accessories, gadgets, and clothes, you’ll save so much money and probably feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. 

7. Get Creative

How about getting creative? Hobbies are a great way to enjoy life, learn new things, and even meet new people. You never know what a hobby could bring you! See if you can find some cheap arts and crafts supplies or get creative with things you already have at home. Spending more time on your hobbies, whatever they may be, will always make you feel better than focusing on all work and no play. 

8. Keep A Journal

Journaling has so many benefits, and there are all kinds of ways you can do this. You could try stream of consciousness journaling, where you just write whatever comes out without censoring yourself. Then, there’s bullet journaling. You don’t need to write beautiful paragraphs of prose for every entry. Stop judging yourself and thinking about the outcome, and instead enjoy the process of journaling and the benefits that can offer you. 

9. Utilize YouTube

YouTube is a wonderful resource for people who want to learn new things and expand their minds. You can buy cheap online courses, but Youtube can be a great place to get the basics and figure out if a hobby is something you’d like to stick with long term before investing more money. 

10. Know Your Priorities

When you know what your priorities are, you can figure out what’s worth spending money on and what you should probably avoid. If one of your priorities is spending quality time with your family, then you know you can afford to spend a little more money on that. You can’t prioritise everything at once, and your priorities may change depending on the stage you’re at in your life, or even the season. 

11. Be Mindful Of How You Speak

When you speak, you can end up speaking things into existence. If you knew how powerful your words were, you’d probably use them far more carefully! Your life can change drastically when you stop complaining, judging others, and being mean to yourself. It can take a while to break a long habit of speaking negatively, especially when most other people still do this unconsciously. Become more conscious of the language you use and why and you’ll have a better chance of changing it. 

Five Tips To Successfully Negotiate Your Salary

Talking about money can be uncomfortable and awkward, but it’s an unavoidable and essential part of your career success. Today, many job postings do not include any trace of potential or guaranteed pay, despite listing dozens of necessary qualifications for their candidates. This practice isn’t fair, and it results in a lot of time and effort spent applying for jobs totally blind. But it also creates space for you to negotiate your salary when you do get to that stage of the hiring process. 

Whether you’re job hunting for a new position, or you’ve put in a few good years at your current company and are angling for a raise, it’s crucial to walk into a salary negotiation prepared. There are several ways to maximize the results of your meeting. Read on for tips. 

Research 

Come to the negotiation having read up on the company: its history, its growth, its profits. Familiarize yourself as much as possible with the pay structures and benefits packages the business has offered in the past. Resources like Glassdoor provide salary snapshots and reviews from former and current employees. 

You also need to research what other companies pay employees in the same field. There are salary calculators available online to help you estimate this. Never depend on a single source, though; spend the time investigating. You should always be aware of salary trends within your industry, both the high-end and the low-end. 

Know Your Value

Know your unique worth, and the current or potential value you’d add to your company. Come to the table with figures and evidence. If you had a hand in directly growing your company’s profits, highlight that. 

What you deserve and what you are worth are two different things. Provide concrete examples of your contributions. If you look at the salaries of athletes like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, you’ll see that they bring in what they know they can return. Playing basketball may not be as hard as performing brain surgery, but it certainly generates more income for more people. Don’t let anyone make money off you without claiming your fair share. 

Let Them Make an Offer First

If you’re still in the interview process, do whatever you can to avoid throwing out the first number. Many employees begin interviews by asking you your desired salary, or if you’re employed already, your current salary. They want you to lay all your cards on the table so they can make the best play. 

Simply respond that your answer to that question will be based on many factors and then ask some questions of your own. The more time you have to demonstrate your worth, the more incentive the employer has to make a competitive offer. If the hiring manager backs you into answering first, give a range rather than a specific figure.  

Go High

Decide upon a minimum salary you absolutely must have to accept or continue in the position. Then go slightly above it. You don’t want to seem impractical or uneducated; this is where your research will come in handy. Your initial suggestion should be reasonable but on the higher end of your desired range. If the employer puts forth the first figure, counter with a higher number, unless you feel that their offer is the best you could hope for. You don’t want to seem greedy. 

Employers expect you to negotiate, though, so don’t shy away from going back and forth with figures a few times. If you don’t believe you can get any more money, consider asking for increased benefits, or more vacation days. There may be more flexibility in that area, and having better health insurance can be just as valuable as a higher number on your paycheck. 

Stay Likeable

No matter how much you believe you are worth, or how talented you are at your job, never discount the importance of likeability. Likeability doesn’t mean smiling and nodding or accepting whatever an employer offers; it means keeping composed, maintaining eye contact, and always speaking with integrity. Do not make threats or give ultimatums, don’t get petty or heated, even if you feel momentarily frustrated or insulted. Never lie about competing offers if they don’t exist, or attempt to come off as “hard to get.”

Any interaction with a hiring team or supervisor before you’ve signed a contract still serves as part of your interview. You want to show that you’re excited about the position, even if this isn’t a new job. You’re going to have to work with these people, so be your best self.