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How to Avoid Financial Scams

Financial scams are more prevalent than ever in today’s world. With the rise of the internet and other forms of technology, dishonest people are getting more and more crafty in their maneuvers to steal money from hardworking, unsuspecting individuals. For this reason, awareness of red flags and warning signs has never been more imperative.

Unfortunately, there are many individuals who have fallen victim to certain scams and fraudsters who were only after their money. The only bright side to this reality is the fact that other people can learn from them. Therefore, knowing what to be aware of, what not to click on, and who not to share personal information with can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Know the Basics

Although the specifics of scams vary from fraudster to fraudster, they usually fall into certain basic categories. U.S. News explains that the majority of financial scams pertain to at least one of the following issues:

  • IRS
  • Taxes
  • Investing
  • Credit cards
  • Banks
  • Online dating
  • Charity
  • Ransomware
  • Real estate
  • Emails
  • Seniors

Individuals who are in the business of laundering money from other people regularly employ scare tactics or otherwise prey on the perceived vulnerabilities or weaknesses of their targets. This sometimes occurs in the form of posing as an IRS official or tax collector, conning people into investing in phony charities, or even emailing forms and asking targets to fill in their personal information.

In other scenarios, scammers may form insincere relationships with targets via online dating websites and then ask for money. Senior citizens are also prevalent targets of today’s fraudsters since they are likelier to lack certain knowledge about technology.

Take Precautions

The ability to pinpoint certain scams is important. Choosing to be proactive and take certain precautions is also of equal, if not greater, importance.

First and foremost, if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Secondly, always be especially cautious about what you choose to click on. As previously stated, many scammers and hackers employ ransomware as a means of gaining access to someone’s critical files. These people usually then demand to be paid a fee in exchange for returning the aforementioned information.

At the end of the day, scammers are becoming more and more crafty. This is why researching agencies, being wary of sharing personal information, and thinking twice before downloading certain attachments can amount to a world of difference.

A Final Word

Financial scams are all around us. Countless people have fallen victim to them and many others will likely follow suit as time passes. However, by knowing some of the most basic strategies of fraudsters and taking the appropriate precautions, you can save yourself from a world of grief and simultaneously protect the money which you have worked hard for.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Renee Seunagal

How to Purchase Rental Property Insurance

Renting out rooms and properties is an increasingly common method of adding an extra stream of revenue. However, with this method comes the need for rental property insurance, also known as landlords insurance. In a perfect world, tenants would always pay rent on time, take good care of the property they’re renting, and conduct themselves accordingly.

Sadly, the world is far from perfect, which makes the obtainment of rental property insurance absolutely critical. In some cases, homeowners policies automatically provide this type of insurance, but sometimes they don’t. In the event of the latter, the individual who is renting property is tasked with the responsibility of securing landlords insurance.

Determine Which Type of Landlords Insurance is Needed

As affirmed by The Huffington Post, there are a variety of rental property insurance policies. Making the right investment is very critical. In many cases, sitting down with a financial advisor is a good idea prior to purchasing rental property insurance. Getting a professional opinion allows landlords to make the most informed decisions and get additional insight before making payments. Different policies cover different events; complete awareness of which landlords insurance is best for you is always preferable to purchasing the wrong insurance and having to do damage control at a later date and time.

Have Some Money Stashed Aside

Although costs of rental property insurance vary, there are some determining factors, explains Trusted Choice. Physical and geographical location, area quality, tenants, physical conditional, etc will each play a role in how much renters have to pay for insurance.

For this reason, having a certain amount of funds put aside (preferably a few thousand dollars, at the very least) can prove to be helpful. Moreover, landlords insurance can be quite pricey; therefore, renters should make sure that they are in a financial position to comfortably make this purchase.

Find Out if You Qualify for Any Discounts

Despite the fees associated with landlords insurance, certain companies and policies do offer various discounts under the right circumstances. Liberty Mutual is one insurance agency which provides discounts, provided that renters meet certain criteria. Early shopping, new property, and mutual policy purchases can make one eligible for certain discounts. This is certainly a matter which landlords should ask insurance companies about. Making the most of an opportunity to save money almost always wields benefits.

A Final Word

The process of purchasing renters property insurance should not serve as a deterrent from landlords who are considering renting to tenants. Not only is renting out rooms and property an excellent revenue stream, but it’s also a great business opportunity.

As a matter of fact, renting out property has become a prevalent part of the gig economy; many individuals rent out rooms or even entire homes and apartments on Airbnb.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Renee Seunagal

How to Purchase Life Insurance

The obtainment of life insurance is something which very few people like to think of. For starters, the subject is inherently morbid and serves as a stark reminder that each person will pass away some day. However, for as dreadful as the notion may be, we will all die at one point or another.

In most cases, the death and loss of a loved one can be particularly stressful for friends and family. Moreover, the financial costs of planning for a funeral can be quite expensive for relatives, depending on their socio-economic status. For this reason, purchasing life insurance is absolutely paramount.

Know Where to Shop

An awareness of where to purchase life insurance is incredibly important. There are many scams out there and people who parade as life insurance agents. For this reason, individuals who are seeking life insurance should look in there hereinafter places explains, Nerd Wallet.

Insurance agents, life insurance company websites, and direct life insurance agencies are the best places to seek out coverage. However, shoppers must still be wary and take certain precautions. Genuine life insurance companies will never ask for your social security number (and other related personal information) when they’re only providing rates and quotes. Moreover, checking out potential insurers with resources such as the Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s and/or A.M. Best’s Consumer Insurance Center is always advisable.

Sit Down with a Financial Advisor

Many individuals who seek out life insurance decide to consult with a financial advisor prior to making any major decisions, as noted by New York Life. This is largely due to the fact that the ultimate goal of an insurance company is to sell. This does not necessarily mean that life insurance companies will be disingenuous, but listening to a financial advisor definitely comes with benefits.

First and foremost, a financial advisor will be able to help individuals create adaptable budgets and determine which life insurance plan and policy is best for them. This can be especially advantageous for first-time shoppers who are not particularly seasoned in the market of life insurance or understanding which options are beneficial for themselves and their families. Financial advisors can also provide insight into which companies are most reputable and which plans ought to be avoided.

Take Your Time

So many people often feel rushed into purchasing life insurance. In many cases, they’re told that they could die any day and that having insurance will ease some of the burdens of their grieving families. However, the merits of purchasing life insurance should not overshadow the importance of quality. Different policies and plans will work for different people, families, and situations. Complete and unadulterated certainty of one’s chosen life insurance policy prior to making any payments or purchases is absolutely paramount.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Renee Seunagal

How to Build A Personal Brand

As one advances in the world of business and entrepreneurship, there will come a point and time where he or she wishes to begin establishing their own personal brand. By definition, a personal brand is defined as “the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands.”

In essence, an individual with their own personal brand is making a name for her or herself and setting themselves apart from others. Moreover, presentation, consistency, connections, and building trust also play integral roles in personal branding.

On the surface, this can appear quite nuanced, but a thorough breakdown of the various ways in which one can build a personal brand will make all the difference in the world for entrepreneurs at all levels.

Be Unique

As cliche as it may sound, one of the best steps towards building a personal brand involves taking advantage of the qualities which makes one unique and then marketing them accordingly. Entrepreneur does an excellent job of explaining this concept. Playing to your strengths, standing out in front of the crowd, and even vocalizing unorthodox viewpoints are critical parts of building your brand. In essence, your brand is you and people will associate what you choose to market with your image as a business person.

Determine Your Offered Service/Product

At the end of the day, the ultimate objective of building a personal brand centers around the promotion of one’s own business. For this reason, a concrete understanding of the offered service or product is paramount for both the entrepreneur and his/her customers. A personal brand is a living marketing strategy which draws customers in, thus persuading them to spend money on what the business has to offer. Furthermore, it is worth noting that personal brands should add value and stand out in the minds of potential and current consumers.

Build a Sizeable Following Base

Even after establishing a personal brand, connecting and sharing that brand with the rest of the world is so important. For this reason, building a sizeable following base can prove to be particularly beneficial, as explained by The Muse. In most cases, the best followings occur online and can be garnered via social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Another upside of a sizeable following base comes in the form of word of mouth. Individuals who take a personal liking to an entrepreneur’s brand are likely to tell their friends and family about it. These people may, in turn, follow the entrepreneur on social media and/or purchase a product or service at one point or another or even ongoingly. In this day and age, an online presence is critical for those who wish to do well for themselves and reach great heights in the world of business.

A Final Word

Building a personal brand is a feat which requires time, energy, and in many cases, money. However, there are various levels and steps which often make forthcoming ones easier and less formidable. Many entrepreneurs spend years going through the process of building their personal brands and that’s ok. When it’s all said and done, as your personal brand grows, strengthens, and improves, so will your business.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

How to Purchase a Home

Purchasing a home can be an exciting and monumental event in any person’s life, especially for the first time. The anticipation of owning a house and enjoying all of the associated upsides and benefits is understandably exhilarating.

However, in the midst of all the excitement should be a degree of awareness and extensive preparation. Purchasing a home is one of the most costly and time-consuming events in the lives of most individuals. Therefore, mindfulness of the forthcoming advice (and governing oneself accordingly) is extremely important and will reap long-term benefits.

Be Sure to Have Your Ducks in a Row

One of the most common mistakes of aspiring homeowners is their failure to fully prepare before going forward without dotting their Is and crossing their Ts. Bankrate explains that before any individual purchases a home, they should increase their credit score, determine an affordable budget, save a considerable amount of funds must aside, and then be sure to get preapproved for a mortgage.

It’s also important for aspiring homeowners to understand that following the foregoing steps to prepare for homeownership can potentially take years; the duration of time especially depends upon the state of the individual’s financial health. Nevertheless, it is better to wait a few years and then purchase a home (at the right time) than to immediately buy a house without the proper safeguards and become subject to financial hardship. So many people who find themselves in debt due to poor economic choices never get out that hole. Having your ducks in a row will eventually pay off.

Expect the Unexpected

Even after having the right credit score, budget, funds, and mortgage all lined up, expecting the unexpected is still absolutely paramount, affirms CNBC. Purchasing a home often comes with additional, associated fees, such as county tax, state tax, and property tax. Then, there’s maintenance fees, repair costs, and expenses which are linked to furnishing the home. Suffice it to say, all of these matters should be anticipated and prepared for. Similarly to most situations, it’s always better to have the extra money put aside and not need it, than to need extra money and not have it.

Consider the Physical Environment

Another important aspect of purchasing a home is the environment, as noted by Nerd Wallet. No matter how great a house is, the environment always makes a difference. Crime rates and proximity to banks, grocery stores, and other places of business are also very important. Moreover, aspiring homeowners should assess the quality of the neighborhood and other surrounding homes. If all looks great and the funds are there, go for it.

If the physical environment is not up to par, you might be better off continuing your search in other locations. There are always better, more desirable options.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal