Blog, Business, Paul Saunders

How To Be Financially Successful In Your Personal Life

Becoming financially successful doesn’t happen overnight. Increasing your net worth and succeeding in your career requires plenty of hard work and learned habits. If you want to learn how to be financially successful in life, there are a few steps to take that will prove to pay off.

Live Below Your Means

Although you may have the mindset of a successful individual, it doesn’t mean that you should live like one. Don’t invest your money in items you can’t afford or don’t need. That means be frugal with your money and don’t worry about impressing others with physical objects that will lose their novelty over time. Investing your money in items that don’t offer anything in return will lead to temporary satisfaction instead of long-term stability. Instead, put your extra earnings in the stock market, a 401(k), or your savings account.

Set Financial Goals

Obtaining financial wealth will require setting goals to ensure that you have a plan of action and that you understand the necessary steps to implement your vision. The goals should be realistic to ensure that you stay motivated and don’t become discouraged. When you have a huge goal, break them down into milestones so that they are in easy to reach steps. You can also celebrate each time that you have a small victory to ensure that you reward yourself and continue to stay on track.

Ask for Help from Experts

When you ask questions or get help you are expanding on the knowledge  you have. The more you get into the practice of asking questions the more financially literate you become. Getting help from successful professionals is necessary to ensure that you can avoid mistakes and obtain guidance. Ask questions, find a mentor, and get different opinions to ensure that you can become more knowledgeable about how to grow your money over time.

Create an Emergency Fund

Most financial experts will tell you to save at least $1,000 for an emergency fund, which will allow you to pay for unexpected costs. Costs that could range from car repairs to medical expenses, an emergency fund will offer peace of mind. If you don’t have something created, you could end up opening credit cards, or taking loans to cover the cost. When you have the funds already established, you won’t need to go into debt. You should also save at least three to six months of income to use if you suffer from a job loss to ensure that your bills can continue to be paid until you secure employment. The biggest goal here is to have enough money for those emergencies so that you aren’t panicking for additional funds.

Being financially successful is a challenging, time-consuming process. You will reach that success sooner if you start now though.

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Blog, Business

Where Can An Entrepreneur Find Funding For Their Business?

This blog post originally appeared on Paul Saunders’ website.

The average entrepreneur’s first concern when starting a business is going to be how they are going to finance their idea. If their idea is going to need a relatively small investment, they may use their own funds, or they may turn to their family and friends to support them. If they are not able to do that, they can to go to a bank to get a business loan. Yet, for some that need more, or just for those who are not able to do any of those options, there are other methods to get financed.

Local Loans

One resource that is often overlooked is going to be your chamber of commerce, which will be able to give you information on where you can get local funding. Often they will send you to your local business development center, with some universities having them. These business centers can get you in contact with other entrepreneurs so that you can network, and meet other investors. They would be able to go over loan information, and even assist you in applying for it. They are going to love if you develop a local business in the area and are typically more than happy to assist you.

Angel Investors

Angel investors are typically individuals looking to invest in companies they deem promising. These angels can invest money upwards of $10,000 in a business idea. To find angels, you can use Angel Capital Association. They have nationwide reach, with over 330 groups in their system. Not only do they assist with direct loans, but they will also, at times, even host events in order to provide networking opportunities. If the idea of taking money from someone online does not sound appealing, check your local community for angel groups.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, as the name dictates is a source of funding that stems from a large group of people who give varying amounts of money to an idea. One crowdfunding resource is Kickstarter. Kickstarter is an excellent platform to utilize to fund a product, or a fleshed out idea. On Kickstarter, you will be able to set goals, and tiers that supporters are able to pledge to. The money they pledge is their investment to the product without expecting money in return. In order to get more funding though, certain campaigns will offer incentives to get interested parties to pay more. The product they are wanting to fund is going to a part of that. This is a good tool to use if you feel that the vast market needs the product you are trying to create. You will also need to advertise a lot if you use this platform. In order to expose the item to the market, social media is heavily relied on for this method of financing.

Venture Capital

Venture Capital is for those who are looking to get over $1 million in funding. When looking at this option, know that you will need to be very prepared. Venture Capitalists require a very careful and detailed business plan. Yet, the benefits are that they will be able to fund larger quantities to businesses. Venture Capitalists are taking their clients money and investing in companies that they believe will be able to give them a high return relatively quickly. They will be looking to get 3-10 times what they gave within the following 5-7 years. One of the easiest ways to meet one would be through your contacts, whether that be other investors or entrepreneurs. If that is not an option, you can look to use the  National Venture Capital Association to pitch your idea to.

Funding can be difficult to achieve, but by looking at what kind of company you are looking to create there will be resources for it. If one resource doesn’t work, try another. The first steps to building a business can be challenging, but your perseverance will pay out.

Blog, Business

How to Create and Maintain Strong Mentor Relationships

This blog post originally appeared on Paul Saunders’ website.

Success is very rarely achieved alone. Instead, it is a product of multiple interrelated factors, such as support, advocacy, and receiving advice from the right people at the right time. More often than not, these above qualities are best found in mentors. Unfortunately, as more and more young professionals flood the workforce, the idea of finding a more experienced shoulder to lean on and glean insight from is quickly fading into the background.

However, we must shift our focus from encouraging these fresh faces from actively seeking mentors. Instead, we ought to encourage those with professional experience to step into such roles more freely, as they will not only be able to teach the next generation, but learn from them as well.

With that in mind, let us explore how one can effectively create and maintain strong mentor relationships.

Search your existing network

It is likely that you already work with, or at least know of, one or more young professionals in need of support. Therefore, the first step to becoming a mentor is getting to know each of these individuals. Take the time to discover their aspirations, goals, and learning styles. Once you have a better understanding of their long-term direction and goals, it will be much easier for you to engage with those you feel your expertise would benefit the most.

Be yourself

As a mentor, it is imperative you demonstrate every day that you are exactly who you say you are, rather than putting on airs and puffing up your previous experience to garner more awe and respect. This feat is achieved simply by being yourself. Behave, emote, dress, and speak exactly how you would normally. After all, authenticity and transparency are two key components to earning another’s trust.

Hold each other accountable

Sometimes, it is all too easy for these professional relationships to dissolve into average friendships. While this shift may be beneficial in interpersonal ways, it can seriously deter your ability to do more than simply pass advice back and forth.

Therefore, it is imperative you strive to maintain a strict balance between friendly banter and holding each other accountable for your actions and pursuit of professional development. Otherwise, your time and efforts leading up to this point may seem as though they served no purpose.

Clearly, there are plenty of stipulations to becoming a mentor, as it is not simply about forming a bond with another over work-related matters. Instead, mentorship provides a unique opportunity for mutual benefit and growth, meaning it ought to be treated with the utmost respect and seriousness.

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How FinTech Could Disrupt the Financial Industry

Technology is one of the most ubiquitous and unstoppable forces in our modern world, impacting nearly every industry across the board. Naturally, finance is no exception.

However, technology seems to pose a larger threat to the financial realm than any other, as banks and other institutions have employed a business model that has worked rather well over the years, driving large profits and creating further room for growth.

Financial technology, otherwise known as fintech, aims to disrupt this business model in order to bring more financial inclusion to those who would not normally be granted the opportunity, such as blue collar workers, marginalized people groups, or members of rural communities.

Fintech has drastically changed the climate of the financial industry, forcing smaller firms and large institutions into a state of fight or flight. Either they adapt their policies to remain relevant in the eyes of the public, or they hold tightly to their outdated practices and fade out of the picture over time.

With that in mind, let us examine the other ways in which fintech could impact the financial industry.

Venture capital firms are not as necessary as they once were

In the realm of fintech, venture capital firms are no longer a necessary method of acquiring funding. This shift was exhibited at the beginning of 2016, when global venture capital investment in fintech decreased by approximately $22 billion from 2015.

Some view this as an indicator that venture capital firms are losing authority. However, a popular opinion is that venture capital firms now feel less inclined to support the next great disruptor of the financial industry, hence their lack of interest in funding even the most innovative designs.

Banking fees may become a thing of the past

It has long been rumored that banks make upwards of $4 billion annually just from the fees they obtain during fund transfers. Because of fintech’s mission to make finance more accessible and inclusive, many of its startups seek to decrease or eliminate banking fees entirely, even in international transfers, allowing their customers to keep more of their own hard-earned money.

Mobile banking could continue to rise in popularity

Although mobile banking is already a prevalent force in many regions of our modern world, it is only anticipated to grow with the fintech industry, which is projected to expand by 55 percent within the next two years alone. Therefore, we could see digital wallet systems like Apple and Android Pay reaching into even the farthest corners of the world by 2020.

Evidently, great changes are not simply looming on the horizon; they are already here, slowly shaping the future of one of the most influential industries in the world. Regardless of what is to come, it will be intriguing to see how far the financial realm will come in just five years’ time.

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Some Considerations for Reporting Charitable Giving on Tax Returns

This blog post originally appeared on Paul Saunders’ website.

With the previous year officially behind us, many have already begun looking ahead to and are preparing for tax season. With every new year comes new tax guidelines, and 2018 is no exception. Despite these changes though, one aspect that has remained largely unchanged is how one reports, and receives deductions for, their charitable donations.

The following are some considerations for reporting charitable giving on your tax return, however each taxpayer must check with their own personal tax and legal advisors for guidance on their own particular situation.

Filers may be able to deduct non-cash donations

Whether you donate clothing, toys, or your old used vehicle, you may be entitled to a tax deduction. However, you must acquire an itemized receipt documenting the specific goods you donated, and remember that you can only deduct the fair market valueof each item and cannot receive anything in return. Although it may be difficult to find the true market value of your belongings, it is imperative you get it right.

Filers are encouraged to review an itemization of their deductions

Although a majority of filers opt to take the standard deduction, which is a set dollar amount that, depending on one’s filing status, reduces taxable income. An itemized deduction, however, allows an individual to list out the qualifying expenses on their tax return, which can include charitable deductions. If the total of these expenses is greater than the sum of their bracket’s standard deduction, an itemized deduction is worth pursuing, as it will lower their adjusted gross income (AGI).

Filers should not overlook donations made via payroll deductions

If you have chosen to donate a portion of your paycheck to the charity of your employer’s choosing, you must acquire a W-2 form that shows the total amount that was withheld for that cause, along with the pledge card that proves your participation. Otherwise, you will not be able to claim the sum as a charitable donation on your taxes.

By remaining cognizant of the above guidelines and seeking help from trusted professionals, you can complete your forms with few complications or headaches.