How Small Business Owners Can Get Started Investing

office-620817_640As I was driving my usual route to the grocery store not too long ago, I noticed another empty building downtown that only the week before had been selling pastries and baked goods. Within the first couple of months of opening it became just one more business that couldn’t make it in today’s tough economy. The cold hard facts are that roughly 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But what can small business owners do to help keep their doors open? There are multiple answers to this question, some of which depend on the kind of business you have. But no matter what answer is given, in the end it all boils down to money. How can a business keep as much profit as possible to boost its bottom line? Investing could be one answer. In this article we are going to give you some ideas on how small business owners can get started investing.

Get Your House in Order

The eventual success of any business depends not only on the amount of money that can be made, but also on the amount of money that can be saved and set aside. If there are slow months, for example, you still need to be able to cover your business expenses despite having a reduced cash flow. Before considering any investment strategy, create an emergency fund to cover at least six months of bills should an emergency occur. It would also be wise to have no large outstanding debts. You do not want to get caught down the road with expenses you can’t pay because all of your money is tied up in long term investments. This mistake has caused more than a few small businesses to close their doors. Once you have been able to set aside some funds specifically for investing, it’s time to put your investment plan into effect.

Diversification

To invest successfully in an individual retirement account, or IRA, it is crucial that you have a mix of funds rather than simply investing everything into only one or two funds that generate the highest returns. Usually, the higher the return is on funds in any portfolio, the higher the risk of loss. By choosing some funds that are of medium risk and some that are at lower risk, you considerably reduce your chances of losing on all of your funds simultaneously.

How much should you invest in each area? Generally speaking, the younger you are, the more money you can comfortably invest in higher risk funds and stocks giving you the greatest return on investment. As you get older, you don’t want to invest as much money there because your remaining investment years before retirement may not be enough to recoup a large loss should you experience one.

Examine the growth rates over the long term before making decisions about which funds to invest in. Remember, you are not going to move your money often. Leaving it alone is most often the best way to let it grow, even if there is a downturn over a couple of months. However, if you see a downturn that starts to grow instead of coming back after a few months, it might be time to consider dumping that fund and transferring your investment dollars to a different one.

Expenses

If you are investing through a firm, ask ahead of time what fees they charge for trading, selling, and accepting retirement distributions. You don’t want your hard earned money being sucked up by huge fees and administrative expenses.

Future Contributions

Find out how much and how often you can add to your investment fund. Then, make sure you add the maximum deposit, if possible, each year to ensure that your retirement funds continue to grow.

Review

Go over the reports you receive no more than every other month or so. If you review them too often you may be tempted to move money prematurely. Once a year, check to see if you need to reduce the amount of money invested in stocks and increase the amount in bonds to “rebalance” your investment account.

Business ownership has many challenges on its own without the added stress investing could bring into the equation. But now that you have some ideas of how small business owners can get started investing, I hope it helps you to keep your business running smoothly long into the future.

Do you have other ideas how small business owners can get started investing?

Kayla is a personal finance blogger in her mid-20s who loves to write about money topics of all kinds.

What to Look for When Buying Your First Home

First-time home buying is exciting but also stressful.

First-time home buying is exciting but also stressful.

Buying your first home is an exciting new chapter in your life, whether you are tackling it as a bachelor (or bachelorette) or with your soon-to-be wife (or husband).

It can be fun daydreaming about designing your new home, but one of the biggest mistakes you can make is putting the cart before the horse. First-time home buyers have the tendency to house hunt first and prepare later. Avoid this mistake, which can cost you time and money, by following these guidelines before buying your first house:

  • Check your credit report and score. Don’t even bother reviewing all those online listings until you know whether or not your credit can handle buying a home. Even if your credit can handle it, you want to have a strong enough financial background that you will be able to get a lower interest rate on your loan. It is recommended to review this at least six months before the shopping process so that you can spend some time improving it.
  • Know what you need, and prioritize. There is a difference between needs and wants, and when going into a large purchase like this, you may have to make some sacrifices of what you want for what you need. Factors such as the neighborhood, school district and location should all make your checklist. Basing your home buying decision on looks and layout alone may leave you feeling regretful.
  • Know what you can afford. Getting your finances in order and knowing what you can afford each month for your new house will be imperative to avoiding future issues. Often, there are hidden costs that are forgotten once those papers are signed such as taxes, insurance, maintenance and so on. It is safer to over-estimate your monthly payments to ensure you are fully financially prepared. Another good home-buying practice is getting an idea of what your down payment will be. This venture is all about being as prepared as possible for all costs.
  • Get pre-approved. Once you know your credit score, it’s time to see how much you are able to borrow. Sellers want to know this number, and it’s important for you to realize your spending range as well. Getting pre-qualified for a loan will help to save you time and energy as you begin the process.
  • Find the best real estate agent for you. Buying your first home is no joke, so you should spend some time finding the right real estate agent for your needs, budgets and goals. Talk to co-workers, friends and families for referrals to try to find that person you feel like you can already trust. Take some time to shop around for a real estate agent as you shop around for your home. You may want to even look into hiring a realtor to take your search one step further and ensure that credibility.
  • Consider educational seminars or consulting. The best way to make sure you are making a wise home-buying decision is to know your stuff. Research, know what you are signing off to and keep yourself educated on the process. You may want to look into one-day seminars offered by real estate companies or even consulting with a mortgage lender to really grasp what to expect.
  • Get a home inspection. Last but certainly not least, get that home inspected. You definitely do not want to make such a large purchase without knowing what is beneath those walls. Issues within the home can be fixed prior to you taking over, which will be a huge relief off your shoulders. Just be aware of all the additional expenses in maintenance that would become your responsibility upon ownership.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help as you begin the home buying process. The more you understand, the better the chances are that you will set yourself up for financial success with your new home.

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider A Seasonal Job

Seasonal jobs are a great way to make money while incorporating your hobby.

Seasonal jobs are a great way to make money while incorporating your hobby.

A seasonal job can be more appealing than you think.

When provided an opportunity to generate some extra income, you should take it, especially if it means reaching your financial goals faster. Finding those opportunities can be few and far between, but a seasonal job is a great option and would be a wise decision.

Here are five reasons why you should consider a seasonal job:

A Variety of Opportunities 

  • Other than the obvious reason of extra cash, seasonal jobs exist in a variety of interesting fields. If you have a specific hobby, you could look into seasonal positions for said industry. For instance, if you are an avid skier or snowboarder, working a winter at a ski resort will not only get you some extra time on the slopes for a (possibly) discounted rate, but you also get to make money working somewhere that actually interests you.

Potential to Travel 

  • Are you looking for an excuse to travel more? If you don’t have an existing full-time job or a remote position, you may want to consider a seasonal position to help you with these desires. Vacation resorts often have many temporary employment options. You can use a job of this type as an excuse to see a new place while also keeping your bank account content.

Flexible Schedules 

  • Often, seasonal positions entails working outside normal hours, particularly when you are working at a store. Because of this, you have the perfect chance to have a side income on top of a full-time wage. This allows you to make more money and worry less about fitting an additional job in your schedule. Putting the extra money toward investment opportunities or savings accounts would be an excellent use of funds.

Obtain New Connections

  • The more people you meet, the more job prospects you create for yourself. As you expand your network and help to gain employee points, you leave your footprint, which is important for obtaining references for future employment. Just remember to make that first impression long-lasting and favorable. Some seasonal positions even intend to keep the best of the best, and if you see yourself working up in the company, it’s a nice way to get your foot in the door. In addition, if you are currently looking for a full-time job, this is just another way to get you further.

Learn New Skills 

  • There is always something to gain from every job, whether it is actually learning a new skill or grasping a concept of smart business. Seasonal jobs improve your resume in multiple ways through increasing or enhancing your expertise in a new industry (even something as simple as better customer service skills), interviewing and building your overall resume. Not only do you learn new things, but you are also absorbing this information in a short amount of time, which is also a point that can be included when applying for your next position.

Overall, seasonal jobs have the capacity to be quite the rewarding experience. From the people you will meet to the different opportunities they provide, you can test the waters to see where you want to be or what you want to do for the rest of your life.

Have you ever worked a seasonal job? What were your adventures?