What Are Your Retirement Options after Employment Termination?

What Are Your Retirement Options after Employment Termination?

When you leave a job, there are several loose ends that you will need to tie up. One important consideration when you leave your position is what to do with your employer-sponsored retirement accounts. If you are new to investing or not well-versed in financial matters, you may be wondering what your retirement options are after employment termination. You have a few choices. But, some are better than others. Before you make any major decision, you must evaluate eligibility requirements, know the tax implications, and compare the fees and investment options available to you.

Options for Your Retirement Plans after Employment Termination

1. Leave it where it is.

Depending on how much you have invested in the employer-sponsored 401(k), you may be able to leave your money in the current account. If you have more than $5,000 invested in the old plan, most companies allow you to maintain your retirement account. Even if you are no longer work for the employer, you may be able to leave your money parked in the account.

This will be most beneficial to you if the old plan has low fees, good investment options, or you have a large balance. If you go in this direction, you could always roll it over to a different account in the future as well.

However, if the balance is less than $5,000, your former employer might require you to move it after employment termination. For balances under $1,000, the company could force you out by simply writing a check. But, for balances between $1,000 – $5,000, your former employer must assist you in setting up an IRA if they are forcing you out of their plan.

When considering you retirement options after employment termination, this may not the best one for you. You may want to consider alternatives if you are likely to forget about it, let the account sit dormant, or you are not impressed by the terms. Your former employer’s plan may have more limited options when compared to various IRA offerings or your new employer’s retirement savings program.

2. Roll it over to a plan with your new employer.

Another possibility is to roll over the balance to your new employer’s retirement plan. Most companies will allow new employees to enroll in their retirement savings plan once they have reached the minimum length of employment. It is a fairly simple process, and only requires some paperwork to complete a direct transfer. The administrator of your former plan can deposit the balance of the previous account into your new one.

Rolling your retirement plan into a new one prevents you from paying any taxes on the balance. If you do not want the direct transfer, you can also have your former employer issue a check for the balance. Then, you can deposit the funds yourself. However, you must do so within 60 days. Otherwise, you will pay income tax for the entire lump sum. Before you close the first account, make sure the new 401(k) is set up and able to receive balance transfers.

This option is cost-effective because you can defer taxation. Additionally, you can consolidate your funds into a single account rather than keeping track of several different retirement accounts after employment termination. It also makes things easier down the line for family members or heirs when they need to handle your financial affairs. Just be sure to compare the available options and fees. Once you transfer the balance, you cannot go back to your old plan.

3. Roll it over to an IRA.

If your new employee does not have a retirement plan for its employees or the options are not ideal, you should consider rolling it into an IRA. Whether you choose a traditional or Roth IRA, the account will be in your name. Therefore, you have greater control over the account and can choose any financial institution you like. Since you are not restricted by your employer, you have freedom to decide how and where you invest your money.

There are few restrictions or limitations on these kinds of transfers. Furthermore, both traditional and Roth IRAs provide a wide range of low-cost offerings. Consolidating your investments into a single account also makes them easier to track.

If you go this route, you will have to include the untaxed amount in your gross income for the fiscal year you completed the rollover. But, if you meet certain qualifications, future withdrawals could be tax-free.

4. Begin taking distributions.

If you are nearing retirement age, you may want to begin taking distributions from your accounts. You can begin receiving distributions at age 55. But, you may have to pay the penalty on the taxable portion of it. Most retirement accounts dictate that you must be 59 ½ to receive distributions without the 10% tax penalty on early withdrawals. However, those who retire between the ages of 55 and 59 ½ do not need to pay this penalty.

Many people avoid this option because of the taxation and penalty fees. Moreover, when you begin receiving distributions from a traditional 401(k) you will need to pay income tax. On the other hand, distributions from your IRA will be tax free as long as you meet the age requirements and had the account a minimum of five years.

5. Cash out the balance of the account.

The last resort is to cash out your retirement accounts. However, if you liquidate your retirement accounts early, you will have to pay taxes on the full amount in addition to the 10% penalty. Most financial advisors warn against this because you are depleting your retirement savings. Unless you need the cash now, it is better to leave it in your accounts until the balance and distribution payments are tax-deferred.

Explore Your Retirement Options

Before making any major financial decisions, you should explore all your options. Weigh the pros and cons and determine which route gets you closer to your financial goals. There are many online resources that can help you make informed decisions. However, there is no shame in admitting you need help if you are in over your head. When in doubt, it is always wise to seek professional advice.

Read More

How to Pick Small Businesses to Invest In

How to Pick Small Businesses to Invest In

As an individual investor, I am always looking for new and innovative ways to diversify my portfolio. I already have a healthy range of holdings in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. However, I have been searching ways to direct my money into businesses that share my same ideals and ethics. That’s where platforms like SMBX come in. This new marketplace directly engages with its investors to make it simpler to pick small businesses to invest in.

What is SMBX?

SMBX is new investment platform where small business owners can directly connect to the public. Their model utilizes regulation crowdfunding to allow small businesses to go straight to the source. As their tagline states, individual investors get to “be the bank,” providing new ways to raise capital. Rather than purchasing stock in a specific company, any investor can buy small business financial securities through their marketplace.

What sets SMBX apart is that they have created a new asset class: Small Business Bonds. The idea is to help small businesses generate capital through bonds instead of relying on bank loans. Private investors purchase bonds, which are debt-based financial assets. The investor (you) loans money to an issuer (the small business) for a period of time. In exchange, the issuer has a legal obligation to repay them, plus interest.

It is a win-win scenario for everyone. Small businesses can bypass the loan process to get the funding they need. Meanwhile, investors have more control over where their money goes since they can pick which small businesses to invest in.

What are the Advantages of Investing with SMBX?

The greatest advantage of SMBX is that it creates new options for both small businesses and individual investors. Unlike other marketplaces that emphasize equity, SMBX is transforming small business debt through community engagement.

For Small Businesses

The greatest benefit to small businesses is that they have the ability to bypass traditional bank loans. Small companies no longer have to be captive to bank loans. It is much easier and faster to raise capital through Small Business Bonds since they can appeal directly to the public. Furthermore, there are less regulations and fees associated with this type of asset.

For Investors

There are even more advantages for individual investors. Since you get to replace corporate banks, you have the ability to affect change within your community. You can support local commerce and pick which small businesses to invest in. Sometimes, you may have the option to help businesses that you frequent or have a personal interest in.

Another benefit is that SMBX welcomes non-accredited investors to join. The platform is easily accessible and very user-friendly. There are no investors fees and you can begin with as little as $10. The average returns on investments is approximately 6.5%, and it pays the principle plus interest each month.

Additionally, you also have the freedom to reinvest or withdraw your funds at any time. Of course, the longer you hold the bond, the more you earn. But if you have a change of heart, you can recall your funds. Even after you confirm your order, you still have 48 hours to cancel or update it.

What are the Disadvantages?

As with any investment, there is always risk. It is possible that your investment will not see profitable returns and you could lose your money. This is why you should be certain you understand the terms and conditions.

Another thing to keep in mind is that SMBX is a relatively new platform. Any financial advisor will tell you that it is risky to invest with new firms that have a short history. However, the expertise and combined experience of the founders give me confidence that I’m not throwing my money away.

One thing that I was disappointed with was the limited offerings. Since it is a relatively new marketplace, this makes sense. However, I hope to see a wider variety of small businesses on the marketplace and more frequently updated offerings in the future.

How Do You Start Investing with SMBX?

Getting started was the easiest part. It is simple to sign up. First, you need to create an account, which requires you to enter your personal details. They will ask for typical information including your legal name, address, estimated income, and estimated net worth. Once you verify your email and add a payment method, you are ready to get started. Just be aware that you must link to either a credit card or bank account to your profile.

After everything is confirmed, you can browse the available offerings and choose which one to invest with. I carefully looked at each one, evaluating their financial goals, bond duration, expected yield, and overall mission.

Once I reviewed my options, I chose to purchase my first Small Business Bonds from ChildWise because I am very passionate about education. I really connected with their long-term goals and feel they are working towards a worthy cause. They offer training for early childhood education programs not only for teachers, but also parents and caretakers as well.

Furthermore, I appreciated that my money would be dedicated to creating quality content, not just refinancing their debt. With their emphasis on bilingual education, they embody a global focus to offer proper education programs in places with limited resources. From the fiscal side of things, they are also venturing into Asian markets. The company has seen the most growth in the Chinese market, and the bonds I bought have an estimated 8% yield. Not only can I feel good about where I’m investing, but it also seems like I will see good returns on my investment.

Why Should You Use SMBX to Pick Small Businesses to Invest in?

My initial experience with SMBX has been extremely positive. I feel it is important to find innovative ways to directly connect investors with the small businesses they want to invest in. Through their marketplace, investors are able to engage and interact with the company in an entirely new way. The best part is that it gives you the opportunity to support your local community and businesses that align with your personal values.

Read More

 

 

Energy Stocks during America’s Cold Snap

Energy Stocks Have High Performance during the Cold Snap

This February brought another bout of extreme weather to the United States. As subzero temperatures swept across the country, energy providers experienced unprecedented demands for heat and electricity. While many of us were watching the news, financial analysts have been watching how these winter storms affect energy stocks during this cold snap.

Record Lows during America’s Cold Snap

Normally, Arctic temperatures are contained within the polar vortex by the jet stream. However, the pressure systems usually concentrated around the North Pole pushed winter snow storms south. It brought snow and freezing temperatures to some of the driest, hottest parts of the country.

At one point, an estimated 150 million Americans experienced winter storm warnings. Meteorologists said roughly 73% of the country received snowfall. Many who live in the northern regions have seen these conditions before. But, southern states proved they were unprepared to deal with energy demands during the cold snap.

For the first time in the state’s history, every county in Texas was under winter storm warnings. At the coldest point of these extreme weather conditions, it was colder in Dallas than it was in Anchorage. When these drastic changes in temperature occur, it becomes dangerous to be outside. There are serious concerns of frostbite, hypothermia, and death when the power grid is disrupted.

Dealing with Rising Energy Demands

The Midwest and Southern parts of the United States faced record low temperatures that tested the limits of the power supply. To cope with rising energy usage, SPP implemented rotating power outages. The company had to reduce demand on their power grid in 14 states. By Sunday February 14, it became clear that supply and distribution would reach critical levels.

Rolling power outages began February 15, with residents told to expect them to last about 30-60 minutes. Here in the Midwest, we were left without power for up to an hour at a time. But, local providers quickly restored electricity and heat. Although it was inconvenient, the worst part was not knowing when or which part of the city would be affected.

However, it becomes more serious in places where the infrastructure is not designed for such extreme temperatures. The blackouts left 4.3 million people without heat and electricity in Texas. Some residents criticized the lack of response and preparedness, especially those who lost loved ones due to the extreme temperatures.

Energy Stocks Performance During the Cold Snap

As bitter temperatures drove up the country’s demand, the energy sector saw significant gains. Natural gas prices skyrocketed by 7.5%, reaching the highest levels since November. Meanwhile, oil prices also saw a boost. Oil production dropped to approximately 2 million barrels a day. This drove prices to more than $60 a barrel, the highest they have been since January 2020.

The Winners

Comstock Resources was one of the biggest winners. They reported that it was “like hitting the jackpot” since it was able to sell natural gas for premium prices. EQT Corp, a natural gas provider based in the shale regions of Ohio and Pennsylvania, also saw gains from the high prices. Australia’s Macquarie Group also expects to see a 10% rise in profits this year.

With large swaths or refineries out of commission along the Gulf Coast, companies like Valero Energy Corp and HollyFrontier Corp also saw increased production. Other refiners, like Shell and Total, have little exposure to the Texas markets. So, they are also in a prime position to ramp up production and increase profits.

The Losers

Unfortunately, many other utilities providers reported huge losses due to the winter storms. Alternative power sources became ineffective with wind turbines and natural gas wells freezing over.

Innergex Renewable Energy Inc estimates the financial impact on their Texas wind farms to be about $48 million. Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp adjusted their projected core earnings by $45-55 million due to restricted production. Just Energy doubts they will be able to continue after it forecasted $250 million in losses.

Furthermore, the extreme weather also interfered with transportation of oil and shutdown many refineries. The country’s hub of refineries along the Gulf Coast were the hardest hit. Exxon Mobil and Phillips 66 halted operations, losing 19% of the U.S.’s refining capacity. Diamondback Energy expects to lose at least five days of production. Other southern shale oil producers say it could take two weeks to restart their crude oil operations.

As milder temperatures return, you can be certain that financial analysts and investors alike will continue to watch the energy sector.

Read More

Best Trade Simulator Apps for New Investors

What Are the Best Trade Simulator Apps?

The stock market can be an intimidating place for new investors. If you have no training or background in finance, investing your hard-earned money seems like a huge gamble. There is always some level of risk associated with investing. However, the best trade simulator apps allow you to test the waters before you dive in head first. Creating and trading with a virtual portfolio lets you learn through experience without risking real money.

How Do Trade Simulator Apps Work?

In essence, trade simulators use practice accounts, also referred to as paper trading accounts, as an experiential educational tool. Even better, most of them are free once you set up your account. The purpose of these apps is to provide a learning environment for new investors within real time market conditions. Users have access to the same tools utilized by active investors, including live feeds and tickers, watch lists, and stock screens. However, since you are using “play money,” you eliminate all financial risk.

Additionally, you can use trade simulator apps in a variety of ways. Individual investors can test new ideas and strategies before making any changes to their actual portfolio. You can also make a game of it by inviting friends, family, or coworkers to join a friendly competition. Investors that get the highest returns at the end are the winners. But, since you are not investing real money, there are no losers.

What Benefits Do Trade Simulator Apps Offer?

As an educator, I firmly believe that the best way to learn something is by doing it. The only way to get better at something is through practice and repetition. If you have never invested or learned about the stock market, trade simulator apps are a great place to start. Here’s why:

1. There is no risk since you are investing fake money.

The best part about trade simulator apps is that there is zero risk. Since you are trading with virtual currency, you can be as conservative or aggressive as you like. If it is your first time investing, these apps allow you to get your feet wet without risking your retirement accounts. If you make a bad trade, it is a lesson learned rather than a nest egg lost.

2. You can test new investing strategies and individual stock picks.

Trade simulator apps provide a safe place to learn the basics. You can begin with the fundamental mechanics of investing, then move on to other trading options. Since it is virtual money, you are free to take more chances and make mistakes as well.

Furthermore, it gives your room to explore potential strategies and ideas. Although financial experts tell you to avoid taking advice from just anyone online, these trading platforms act as a safety net. Not only does it protect your finances, but it will also help you determine which advisors have the most credibility.

3. You have access to their full library of educational resources.

In addition to real-time trading, you also can get a focused education through their resources. You can find articles, tutorials, videos, and demos on nearly every investment topic imaginable. Moreover, you can also join the online communities where you can interact with other investors and discuss strategies.

These free resources will help you become a more savvy investor by learning and mastering the basics. They can also teach you how to factor in outside variables, such as trading costs, and perform stock analysis. Understanding how these factors affect the market will help you see the broader economic picture and become a more successful investor.

4. There is less emotional investment in the outcome.

Lastly, trade simulator apps remove emotion from the equation. They grant you a more objective view since your money is not at stake. Riding the markets’ highs and lows can bring a roller coaster of emotions. However, the apps give you a preview of market volatility and how you will react to them.

What Are The Best Trade Simulator Apps?

There are a lot of trade simulator apps out there. However, these three are consistently recommended by financial experts and analysts across the web.

Wall Street Survivor

This trade simulator app has withstood the test of time…and for good reason. Wall Street Survive is a fountain of personal finance and investing knowledge. It offers more than 30 courses which you can complete at your own pace. Each one provides step-by-step instruction to help you succeed in the stock market.

Once you are ready to invest your virtual cash, it is time to get in the game. You can join the leagues and work your way to the top, or start your own game. All the while, you can apply different trading strategies as you play the stock markets. As you improve, you will earn more virtual cash, badges, and even compete for real prizes.

Market Watch Virtual Stock Exchange

This app is also popular with adult investment clubs and first time investors. Just like the other trade simulator apps out there, you create a virtual portfolio to trade real-time stocks. However, as you develop you investing strategies, you can also turn on more advanced features. Once you join, you are also able to join their discussion groups to compare strategies with skilled traders.

However, as an educator, I will admit that I do have bias here. In my opinion, the Market Watch Virtual Stock Exchange is one of the best resource for teachers. It even has lesson plans with required readings, videos, and report cards to help you track your progress. Public and private games allow you to interact with other users or challenge those you know to test their skill. It’s both a fun and educational way to gain experience trading stocks, mutual funds and ETFs.

HowTheMarketWorks

HowTheMarketWorks is another app that has been around for quite some time. It remains at the head of the pack because it is specifically tailored for beginners. It offers all the tool and resources you need in their Education Center. In addition to basic instruction and advanced techniques, it also provides career guidance if you are interested in a future in finance.

However, this app isn’t just for beginners. This simulator gives you the ability to practice trading in the global market, mutual funds, ETFs, options, and commodities. Since you can customize your private competitions, it is another excellent resource in the classroom.

Reality Over Simulation

While trade simulator apps are a great resource, there are certain things they cannot do. Unfortunately, some lessons can only be learned through real experience. However, simulators ensure you will be better prepared to jump into the stock market.

Read More

The Aftermath of the GameStop Saga

Analyzing the Aftermath of the GameStop Saga

Recently, the video game retailer where we used to sell our games became the center of the most recent stock market frenzy. The GameStop saga began when its stock value surged in late January, spurred on by one very determined group of Redditors. Using new technology and trading apps like Robinhood, individual traders disrupted the market, nearly bringing major hedge funds to their knees. However, there are plenty of rumors and questions remaining in the aftermath.

What Caused the GameStop Saga and the Stock Market Surge?

When Redditors got into a sparring match with Wall Street over floundering stock prices, certain share values soared to record heights. While GameStop is at the forefront of this market fluctuation, it has also affected AMC and a few other stocks as well. However, GME captured headlines on January 27.  It closed at an all-time high $483.00 per share, more than 800% of its current valuation.

The institutional investors betting against the company had to back out. In a move known as a “short squeeze,” short sellers had to repurchase stock for a higher price. Although this is not an unusual investing move, the GameStop saga did introduce new factors.  New technology and trading platforms are changing the way people invest. It is democratizing trading by making it accessible to everyone. However, you can be certain it has also caught the attention of both investors and regulators worldwide.

Why Was Everyone Up in Arms?

The problem began when Robinhood began limiting trades on their platform. The app founded its mission on bringing investing to more people. So, some individual traders interpreted the restrictions placed on GME, AMC and other stocks as a personal attack. This group became indignant when they discovered their access had been limited. They were unable to buy stock while the hedge funds still had access to them.

In truth, Robinhood simply did not have the capital on hand to cover the flood of trades. Clearinghouse trades can take a few days to settle. The amount of money moved around during the trading frenzy was more than Robinhood could handle.  So, they put the restrictions in place to cover any potential losses and slow trading until it could raise more capital.

However, there are plenty of rumors floating around and some speculation of illegal activity. Questions of conflicting interests and collusion are popping up across the web. For example, some claim that professional traders encouraged the classic pump-and-dump scheme. They say they promoted the price pumping within the Reddit crowd, intending to get out before stock prices stabilized again. Other accusations say traders ignored the rules. There is some evidence of illegally shorting stocks without ownership or control of the borrowed shares. We all anxiously await to see what new information will come to light about these allegations.

Will the Sheriff of Wall Street Shut Down Robinhood?

One thing is abundantly clear as financial experts analyze this event: lawmakers and regulators are not happy with Robinhood. Furthermore, the individual traders using the app feel slighted since Robinhood impaired their ability to purchase stock. While it was a vital resource for individuals to purchase stock, many users are now cashing out and moving their funds. The future of the trading platform could be in jeopardy.

The fate of Robinhood depends on the outcome of several investigations and lawsuits. The first class action suit was filed on January 28 in the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit claims that Robinhood “purposefully, willfully, and knowingly removing the stock ‘GME’ from its trading platform in the midst of an unprecedented stock rise… (it) deprived retail investors of the ability to invest in the open-market.”

This is likely just the beginning of legal action taken against Robinhood. Tens of thousands have already joined the first class action lawsuit. However, the investing app could be facing more than 30 more in the days ahead. In addition to investigations by both the state of New York and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, members of Congress have also come forward in support of a Congressional hearing on the matter.

Despite all the legal actions already filed, Robinhood’s CEO Vlad Tenev is standing firm in their decision to implement restrictions. He said they “had to conform to our regulatory capital requirements” and only allow limited buys. Many of these limits remain in place. Individual traders have maximum number of shares they can buy, no trading options, no buying on the margin, no fractional shares, and no recurring investments. However, the maximum number of shares available to purchase has been raised.

What Did We Learn from the GameStop Saga?

There are a few important takeaways looking back on the GameStop saga. If nothing else, it is a harsh reminder that there are just as many losers as winners in stock market buying frenzies. Many Redditors who bought too late during the highs have now suffered significant losses. This has further alienated individual investors from trading apps like Robinhood. However, shorting is a risky gamble for professional and amateur investors alike.

It is also important to point out the inaccurate comparisons being used to describe the event. The biblical analogy of David vs Goliath is powerful, but not entirely accurate in this situation. In this instance, individual investors pumped up these stock’s valuation. Some did so in an effort to defend the underdog. Others were attempting to stick it to the arrogant hedge fund managers who have often been accused of stock market manipulation. However, these sharp declines affect their clients more than their management.

At the end of the day, the GameStop saga upended some long held conventions about trading and the influence of individual investors. Whenever you play the stock market, investors take a huge risk by joining these trading frenzies. Everyone wants to bet on the long shot, but only those who bought shares early on saw significant gains. It has become a cautionary tale to many green investors who bought in late when shares reach their highest value now left with nothing.

Read More

5 Tips For Managing Your Equity Table 

Startups require a robust reporting mechanism that gives information about the financial status of the business. One way to keep finances organized is using an equity or capitalization table or cap table for short. It is a spreadsheet, table, or chart that shows ownership stake and a percentage between founders, investors, and key employees. A company equity table also lists the stocks, warrants, share classes, convertible notes, and equity grants issued by the company, accompanied by legal documents attest to these transactions.  Continue reading

7 Tips for Trading Penny Stocks Online 

Penny stocks are a unique category of equities. These stocks are volatile propositions, unsuited to traders with a low appetite for risk. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines penny stocks as equities that trade under $5 per share. The stocks are typically traded OTC (over-the-counter), or as Pink Sheets. Owing to the nature of penny stocks, it is wise to be cautious when selecting penny stocks to trade. In this guide, you will be introduced to 7 tips for trading penny stocks online. Continue reading

How to Find an Angel Investor

Obtaining funding for your business venture is one of the first and most challenging obstacles you will face. It often determines the make-or-break point for most new entrepreneurs. In order to support your fledgling enterprise, you will need enough capital to support your startup through the beginning phases. Angel investors are an important part of the “startup ecosystem,” especially to those going through it for the first time. If you are interested in connecting with possible backers, here are some resources to help find an angel investor.

How to Find an Angel Investor

What Is an Angel Investor?

An angel investor is a wealthy individual who uses their own money to fund a new project or idea. This is a person who has a high net worth and can help startups gain the capital they need for their ventures. Unlike venture capitalists who require immediate returns, angel investors may accept equity in the company until the startup posts a profit.

Angel investors come from a variety of backgrounds with varying expertise and interests. Since they are investing their own money, many take a personal interest in causes closely aligned with their own. Look for investors who share the same ideals or support the same ethos that you do. An angel investor maybe more willing to take a chance on riskier ventures they believe in. New startup companies often seek an angel investor to provide the funding they need to get off the ground.

Where Can I Find an Angel Investor?

Finding an angel investor is now easier than ever before. You no longer need to rely solely upon word of mouth. There are thousands of online forums, blogs, and websites out there to connect angels with entrepreneurs. Many angels have also formed groups and organizations seeking out new proposals and ideas to invest in. With a little online research, you may find someone who shares a specific interest in your company or cause.

Online Groups and Syndicates to Find an Angel Investor

Angels tend to create their own communities and network within them. In the digital age, there are several online forums where you can directly connect. AngelList is a valuable resource that links entrepreneurs with angel groups and syndicates. If you can find an investor with similar views, you may be able to sell them on your idea.

Although it is not technically an angel investor, the Small Business Association has a wealth of knowledge for new businesses. It was founded to give assistance and offer advice to people navigating their roles and responsibilities. Local offices provide one-on-one counseling and assistance writing applications for loans as well. Their entire mission is to help you grow and expand your business.

The Angel Capital Association will also offer industry insights from an entire network of angel investors. Hosting over 14,000 angels who actively invest and discuss trends, you have a unique view into their world. You can also access the profiles and articles written by leading investors and company executives. Although it is not a funding source, it can give you a view into their world.

Angel investor Websites to Follow

You should also follow their websites to learn more about the investors themselves. Understanding what appeals to a potential backer improves your chances of receiving the startup capital you need. Here is a list of the top 25 sites and blogs from 2020. However, these two sites seemed especially helpful to new entrepreneurs and business ventures still in their infancy.

On Startups

Many websites like On Startups center around new ideas in the tech industry. What makes this site so helpful is that it collects posts from several blogs. It discusses various angel investors and the startups they invest in. On Startups is particularly great for young entrepreneurs since they can learn from the experience of others in the industry.

Hyde Park Angel Network

Another excellent place to start looking is the Hyde Park Angel Network.  This network specifically focuses on helping early stage startups to grow their business. They are currently most active in the Midwest, work primarily with health services, financial services,  information technology, and industrial technology. It also provides advice about fundraising and guidelines to support growth. This community offers extensive support in the most crucial stages of establishing your business.

Sponsored Events and Annual Conventions

Lastly, do not underestimate the power of face to face interactions. In the business world, networking is just as important as having a great idea. Meeting potential angel investors in person gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself and your project. Sometimes angel investors buy into a venture because they believe in the person behind it.

While many sponsored events and conventions have been delayed due to social distancing measures, you can be certain they will return in the future. Annual conventions like Funding Post bring entrepreneurs, angels, and investors together.  In the meantime, work on your elevator pitch and look for announcements of sponsored events near you.

Reasons to Find an Angel Investor

If you are struggling to bring your project to life, an angel investor may be the answer to your prayers. Not only do they provide financial relief, but also breathing room to expand your business or make a project viable. When you have already exhausted all your personal resources as well as those of family and friends, it may be time to consider finding an angel investor.

Making the right connections, you may find a backer who can give you a significant lump sum to cover overhead costs of your business without expecting immediate returns. Often times, they will take equity in the company as payment until the company succeeds. Since they have a vested interested in your success, they may also offer advice and guidance along the way. With the supportive backer, it is possible to take your idea and make it a reality.

Read More