3 Ways to Finance Your Higher Education

If you are considering a boost in your education by adding a master’s degree to your credentials, you might wonder how to pay for the schooling. After all, you have already paid for your bachelor’s degree and, sometimes, you are still paying for it. Finding the money to further your education while carrying educational debt can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.

There are options available to you that can make paying for your advanced degree a lot easier than you think. Whether you are looking for a marketing degree at a brick and mortar college or a marriage and family therapy master’s program online, increasing your earning power is achievable.

The resources available largely depend on your financial need, but even if you have the means, you still have financing options. The best thing is, no matter how you finance your education, you can look forward to a tax benefit for your efforts.

Educational Grants

One of the best places to look for educational funding is through educational grants. These can come from the federal government, private companies, or public companies, and you have to show a financial need to qualify for them.

The best thing about grants is that you do not have to repay them, so you are increasing your education without increasing your debt. The only catch is they are difficult to qualify for, but there are a lot of grants available, so it’s worth looking into.

Employer-Paid Programs

If you work for a corporation, they might offer to pay for your advanced education as long as it relates to your current job. In other words, they probably won’t pay for your education in a different field because they are funding your education for someone else’s benefit.

Look at your current employee benefits and talk to your boss or your HR department to see if this is an option at your company. If it isn’t, try to convince them it would be in their best interest to increase your education so your company can benefit from your newly gained knowledge.

You will never know unless you ask, and the worst they can say is no, so you have nothing to lose.

Loan Options

If you have to take a loan to finance your further education, you have a few options available. Assuming you have a strong credit score, you could finance your education through a private loan with your bank.

The rate you qualify for depends on your credit score and how much debt you hold. The downside to this type of financing is that you will have to start paying on the loan immediately.

Another loan option through the federal government and the Department of Education is a Stafford Loan. To qualify for a subsidized Stafford Loan, you have to show a financial need, and interest won’t accrue on your debt until you pay it back after graduation.

For an unsubsidized Stafford Loan, you do not need to show financial need, and the payments aren’t due until after you graduate, but the interest on the loan accrues immediately.

Advance Your Career With Higher Education

In addition to professional growth and knowledge, earning a higher educational degree is a worthy personal achievement. No matter what your reason is for wanting your master’s degree, lack of financing should not be the obstacle standing in your way.

Luckily, there are options to choose from when looking to advance your education and your career. It will take research, and there will be forms to fill out and people to negotiate with, but the result is worth your effort.

Starting a Small Business In These Difficult Times

Ever since the government urged businesses to close down because of COVID-19, the unemployment rate has gone up. But did you know now is the perfect time to start a business? People need supplies and retailers are feeling overwhelmed. If you can meet the needs of those customers, they’ll become loyal to you even after the pandemic ends.

Use the following strategies to get your startup and running:

  1.   Find Capital

The first thing you need to start your business is financing. Create a sound business plan and take it to potential investors. Some banks may still give you loans if they think your business idea is good. Do your research so that you know everything about the market and how your product will satisfy your customers. Consider the competition and make accurate financial projections. Make your business plan as detailed and as clear as possible so that investors can trust you with their money.

  1.   Take Advantage of Government Incentives

The Federal government created a stimulus package to help small businesses that are struggling during these tough times. Find out what incentives the government has put in place to help startups. Such services can help you save money when getting your business off the ground.

  1.   Get Insurance

Since you’re not sure when the difficult times will end, you need to shield your business from risk. Having business insurance for your startup is as important as malpractice liability insurance to a practicing physician. Protect your workers with worker’s compensation and your business from risks such as fires and theft.

  1.   Market

Marketing helps your business reach the intended target. However, the marketing mistake that startups make is advertising to a general audience. If you want your efforts to be successful, you have to be very specific. Narrow down your target market and make it as small as possible. You’re more likely to make sales if you personalize the message for a small target market.

  1.   Start Small

Instead of going big from the get-go, start small and build your way up. Even if you understand the market, customers are unpredictable. You may not reach your sales target during the first three months due to low traffic. To shield your business from huge expenses, you can start by operating from your garage or home office. Then, when the orders become too much to handle in such a small space, you can move to a bigger office.

  1. Leverage on Technology

Thanks to technology, information is everywhere. Take advantage of the resources around you to gain a competitive edge. Install software that will help you manage the business accounts and orders. Use technology to make your business more efficient – machines are better at calculations. Use online analytics to check on the effectiveness of your website. Take advantage of digital marketing platforms to reach more people.

  1.   Have a Backup Plan

Create a backup plan of what you’ll do if you don’t meet your sales target during the first year. Make sure that you have saved enough money to keep your business running for at least half a year. Keep an eye on cash flows and consider negotiating for the best deals with suppliers. Since things are bad, try to make them understand that you may need more time to repay debts. That way, you’ll have more money to deal with more urgent business. Although it’s risky for you to start a business during these difficult times, it’s not impossible. Right now, people need essential supplies. Use the above tips to take advantage of opportunities in the market.

During these uncertain times, there is a lot to consider and you can feel overwhelmed. Please see this article on BetterHelp for further information on ways to combat any anxiety during the pandemic.

What You Need to Know About Fixing Up An Old House

New classic house

You bought an older home for several reasons, with the first one being the lower price. You also love the house’s location; it’s near parks, shopping, and close to the highway. After going through the first year to get an idea of the costs, you’re now ready to begin the process of restoration.

The Financing

Chances are high that your older home will need major updates to its plumbing and electricity as well as interior remodeling. Just those two repairs can cost upwards of $10,000.00 or more. Before you start the search for the perfect plumber, electrician, and contractor, you’ll need to have your financing in place. This way you’ll know the amount you can borrow and then, once you know the exact amount, you can figure out where the best places are to spend the money. Home equity loans are something that many homeowners apply for, especially when it comes to updating their home.

Get Several Quotes

You may be tempted by the finances secured to hire the first professional contractor just to get the process in motion. However, that would be a huge mistake followed by many regrets. This is not a process that you want to rush. Contact several professionals in each field and then acquire written, not verbal, quotes. Too many homeowners who hired the first contractor they met are still in the small claims courts across the states. Reputable, certified and properly insured are all requirements you should have when searching for a licensed professional to work on your home.

The Maybe’s

While plumbing and electrical work may be something you need to hire a professional for, there are many other projects that are much smaller and that you are able to complete yourself and save money. These may include things like replacing faucets, showerheads, and outlet covers. If you have an entire home to paint, you more than likely can do it yourself. However, there’s a lot of work involved in completing the project. In some cases, especially if you have a time-frame for the completion, hiring local painters will allow you to have all your ceilings and walls done in a matter of a couple of days.

The Exterior

Often, an older home that’s not maintained also needs work to be done on its exterior. Once again, this can run into a large sum of money. The roof is more than likely in good enough condition to pass an initial home inspection. However, the porch, steps, and yard may leave much to be desired. Luckily, these are not immediate things that you have to fix in order to live there. In the event that you have money left over from the HELOC, you can use the balance to start cleaning up your outdoors.

Other Decisions

Before investing in customizing the interior, you need to ask yourself a few questions. The first one would be how long you plan to live in the dwelling? Is it large enough to accommodate yourself and your family in the future? Or are you more than likely going to need to purchase a larger home in the next 5 years? The reason for these questions is to make a decision on the expense of the interior. For example, putting in stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops is something you would do for your own personal pleasure. The same applies to the quality of the cabinets and the flooring. This is not to say that you won’t need to spend money to have nice things. It’s simply that you want to get the most in return from your home for the short term.

Older homes have character and can be quite appealing to first-time homebuyers on a tight budget. With a few renovations and the willingness to do some of the work on your own, you can create a beautiful house worthy of calling home.