Moving On A Tight Budget

When you intend to move, but you’re on a tight budget, you need to take all the necessary steps to save as much as possible. Moving can be an expensive process, but there are ways to go about in on a budget. To cut down on your moving costs, you should remember that as you relocate, you have a perfect chance to leave behind what you don’t need and haven’t been using for a long time. Such things can either be given to charitable organizations or be sold. It won’t make sense for you to pay for the relocation of stuff you don’t intend to use, and it can save you quite a bit of cash.

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What is the Cheapest Type of Life Insurance?

If you’re shopping for life insurance, you have several factors to keep in mind. There are many different types of life insurance to choose from. They each have their own benefits and drawbacks.

A common concern with life insurance is the cost. This deters people from getting life insurance and can make them put it off. Fortunately, there is one type of life insurance that is a cheaper option.

In general, the cheapest type of life insurance is term life insurance. Term life insurance is insurance that lasts for a specific number of years. When you get term life insurance, you will select a specific term you would like the policy for. The terms can vary by company, but you can typically find terms that last 10, 20, or 30 years.

Why is Term Life Insurance the Cheapest?

Term life insurance has no cash value, while other more expensive options do offer cash value. This helps to keep the cost down on term life insurance. Cash value options cost more, making term life insurance a much more affordable option.

Jason of CFAinsure explained it like this:

“Because term life insurance only lasts for a set number of years, it expires prior to the insured’s death. With other types of life insurance, the policy is meant to last for the duration of the insured’s life. This is why it costs more.”

Who Should Get Term Life Insurance?

For most people, term life insurance is used while their children are still young. This provides protection in case anything was to happen to the insured while their children are growing up. The term life insurance would then act as income replacement for your family.

One way to do this is by getting life insurance for the length of time you will have living in your home. After that time, term life insurance is no longer necessary because your kids will no longer be financially dependent on you.

How Much Does Term Life Insurance Cost?

The actual cost of term life insurance varies by person. There is no one-size-fits-all insurance policy. You will need to find the term life insurance option that works best for you and your needs.

Term life insurance costs are also dependent on age, gender, health status, and other factors. For this reason, you should not expect to get the same policy for the same price as a friend or co-worker.

For many people, term life insurance only costs a few dollars each month. Some people only have to pay about $10 per month. As mentioned, this can vary greatly. It’s important to get quotes based on your age, gender, health status, and other factors. This will ensure you know what you can expect to pay.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an affordable type of life insurance, term life insurance is the best choice. It’s the most cost-effective life insurance but still offers the protection you need. Some people end up paying just $10 per month for term life insurance. It’s important to do your research and see if term life insurance is a good option for you.

8 Interesting Ways You Can Make Money from Cryptocurrency That Isn’t Trading

Cryptocurrency isn’t something you can just receive for free. It takes a lot of time, effort, patience, and computer processing power to achieve. And usually, earning it requires something else in exchange. Some methods require very minimal effort while others require a certain level of knowledge to attain large amounts. But either way, it’s not going to fall into your lap without you taking any steps.

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Why I am no longer using my bank for international transfers

I’m almost embarrassed to write this. As a five-year resident of Europe, you’d think I would have realized the raw deal I was getting long ago. However, I had always had good relations with my bank. They had never charged me unusual fees or usurious interest rates, and always offered friendly customer service.

Then, five years ago, I accepted a position with a tech startup in Amsterdam. For a while, I made maximum withdrawals to ease the pain of foreign ATM fees. I probably should have started asking questions at this point, but I shrugged it off. It was part of the adventure of moving overseas, so I just accepted it.

Not long after, though, I made a mistake that cost me thousands of dollars. Don’t fall victim to the same scam – below, I’ll explain why you should never use banks to move cash overseas.

The (hidden) perils of moving your life savings abroad

The time had come to move my savings to the Netherlands. As a Canadian, the CRA considers you a tax resident if you maintain a bank account at home while abroad. Up until then, I had no reason to distrust my bank. Accordingly, I (naively) set up a wire from my account at the Bank of Montreal to my new one at ING.

I remember my final balance at BMO like it was yesterday: $105,520. Amassed through a decade of RRSP matching with my former employer, it was a source of pride. After waiting impatiently for a few days, I got the call I was waiting for – ING had received the money.

Upon viewing my savings account balance, though, my face dropped a little. Someone less educated would have been over-the-moon to see €67,412 starting back at them. However, while waiting for the wire to clear, I had looked up the interbank rate.

According to xe.com three days earlier, CAD/EUR was hovering around 1.5. According to the rough math I did in my head, I should have had over €70,000. I fired up Calculator on my desktop and surfed back over to xe.com. Sure enough, the exact rate was 1.50463. Had I gotten this rate, I would have €70,130.

I was looking at more than a €2,500 gap between what BMO gave me(1.5653) and the mid-market rate. That equated to more than 3,700 CAD – or almost two month’s wages from my first job out of school. My face turned beet red, as I realized my bank had screwed me to the tune of 4%!

On that day, I finally understood why Canadian banks are among the most profitable institutions on the planet. They charge exorbitant rates and fees and hope their customers accept them like meek sheep. From that day forward, I decided to opt out from the system to the fullest extent possible.

Searching for a better way to send money

For most in my shoes, this story would have just been a cautionary tale about trusting the banks. But I was determined to find a better way to move money internationally. After all, I send cash as gifts to my nephews and nieces for birthdays and at Christmas. And my parents aren’t getting any younger – soon, I will have to move an inheritance to Holland.

My initial effort was rather depressing. Like the international finance noob that I was, I looked at Western Union first. With a strong name brand, WU is the dominant non-bank player in the money transfer industry.

One look at their fees and rates made my heart hit the floor. They were worse than the banks. Let’s say I want to send my 19-year-old nephew 200 EUR for “books.” Right off the bat, they charge a 15 EUR transfer fee – that’s 7.5% of the send total! And let’s talk about their exchange rate – as stated above, the CAD/EUR rate is 1.50463. On Western Union’s online money transfer platform, they offer 1.38800 – that’s a spread of 7.3%!

My first thought – “Well, at least the banks haven’t adopted WU’s business model.” However, my second thought was, “the financial industry has us over a barrel, there’s no point in researching further.” I got up from my computer, made a sandwich, then I went to bed.

Scores of alternatives exist to the banks

After bearing witness to Western Union’s M.O. (i.e., rob, pillage, and steal from customers that have no other options), I gave up. However, several weeks later, I was reflecting on how internet businesses have disrupted many industries. Thanks to the efficiencies the web provides, many online companies operate at a fraction of the cost of their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

“It’s 20 fricking 19!”, I thought. There’s no way the fintech industry hasn’t given rise to startups dedicated to making money transfer cheaper. This idea filled me with a renewed energy, so I jumped on my computer and began my search anew.

Soon, I found a site called MoneyTransferComparison.com. On it, you could compare money transfers rates from companies I had never heard of before. From Transferwise to Currencies Direct, these firms offered low/no fees, and exchange rates within a hair’s width of interbank.

I was so excited that I decided to initiate a money transfer, right then and there. My 21-year-old niece was about to set off on an Asian backpacking adventure – what a perfect excuse! I set up a 100 EUR transfer, attached a note (“buy your travel friends some beer on me”), and sent it off.

Had I used Western Union (shudder), she would have gotten 138.80 CAD. Through Transferwise, she got 150 CAD – in Thailand, 11 CAD will buy quite a few Singhas!

How do I move money these days?

After my eureka moment, I had become obsessed with getting the best money transfer deal possible. Every time I wanted to send money, I’d spend hours bouncing back and forth between sites.

I no longer do this, and you shouldn’t either. Time is valuable – once it slips through your fingers, it’s gone forever. Instead of wasting your evening comparison shopping, find a handful of companies you trust and bookmark them. When the time comes to send a transfer, submit a quote with each firm. Whoever comes back with the best price, wins.

This approach is best because, these days, competition among money transfer firms is cutthroat. One day, Currencies Direct may have the best EUR/CAD price. The next, it could be TorFX. By submitting quotes, their brokers do the work for you, giving you the best rate possible.

Stop rewarding the egregious behaviour of the banksters

It’s time we admitted it to ourselves: Toronto Dominion is not your friend. CIBC is not your friend. The Bank of Montreal is not your freaking friend. Their mission is to maximize shareholder value – offering you a sweetheart deal on foreign exchange goes against that objective.

Fortunately, the internet revolution has given us better money transfer options. It’s time we made full use of them.

Different Types of Promotional Bags for Every Target Market

If you’re looking for an efficient and cost-effective marketing technique with a high-ROI to add to your marketing strategy, promotional bags are your best bet.

You see them everywhere—in the supermarkets, trade shows, streets, and even on the buses. They have also become marketers’ favorite promotional items.

That’s because they act as walking billboards, and offer a large surface area for you to print your logo and company info. It’s rare to see a customer who will refuse to carry a branded bag—unless they suffer from an irrational phobia of bags.

Businesses give out bags with printed logo in public events to attract leads, promote brand awareness, and leave positive impressions. But what types of promotional bags should your business give out? Read on to find out.

1. Tote Bags

Tote bags are the grandfather of all promotional bags. And we think we know why.

These bags are not picky as to what to carry. Some people use them to carry groceries, others for shopping in supermarkets, and then there are those who just want a simple bag to deposit all sorts of freebies, pamphlets, and so on. And they all find a solution in tote bags.

Tote bags are very popular and are boosting brand awareness more than any other promotional item. The trick is to brand your tote bags with visually appealing graphics that will attract the public attention. See examples from Good Things Australia to gain insights into what a promotional tote bag should look like.

2. Laptop Bags

When it comes to boosting brand awareness, laptop bags don’t disappoint.

Give one to a student, and you’ll create brand awareness whenever that laptop goes—at school, in public libraries, meetings, etc. Distribute them among your employees and you’ll keep them branded even when they’re working on remote projects.

3. Cooler Bags

Cooler bags are ideal for carrying refreshments and food items.

Because they “keep things cool,” cooler bags are ideal for an audience that’s always on the move. They can come in handy in many situations, including an outdoor date, picnic, camping, weddings, and even when carrying food items to the office.

Since they cater to a wider audience, cooler bags make for a great promotional item. When branded, they can enhance your brand exposure in many places.

4. Backpacks

If your goal is to target travelers and outdoor enthusiasts, a branded backpack is all you need.

Backpacks increase your brand visibility more than other bags. That’s because rather than being held at knee level, a backpack elevates the position of your printed information higher for everyone to see.

The good thing about backpacks is that they can create brand awareness even overseas, as they go where the traveler goes.

5. Paper Bags

The eco-friendly paper bags are a great option, especially if one of your goals is to promote the use of environment-friendly products.

As an alternative to plastic bags, paper bags usage and popularity have been on the rise as more countries continue to embrace the “going green” initiative. You can take this opportunity to promote your products worldwide.

What other promotional items do you use for your business? Check out https://goodthings.com.au for more ideas. Or share with us in the comments section below.

How Is Medicare Funded?: A Quick Guide

Medicare is a federal health insurance program created in 1965 for seniors in America. A US citizen or legal permanent resident aged 65+ (or under 65 receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or with End-Stage Renal Disease) would qualify for this program. In 2017, as many as 58.4 million individuals were enrolled in the program, and the numbers have steadily increased throughout the years.

Now, this begs the question: how is Medicare funded?

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Sources of Funding

Medicare isn’t a free health care scheme, even though it is a form of social health care. Primarily, Medicare is funded by federal tax revenue (general revenue), payroll taxes paid by employers and employees, and premiums paid by its beneficiaries.

Learning about the many Medicare plans can be confusing, which is why insurance agents such as from themedicarestore.com are available to help people choose the best plans that suit their requirements and explore the alternatives.

How It’s Funded

Medicare Parts A, B, and D are funded by the Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund and Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund, in which, both accounts are held by the U.S Treasury.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A benefits are funded by the HI Trust Fund. The HI Trust Fund is backed by the Medicare Tax, which is a requirement for all employers and employees to pay income tax to. Currently, the Medicare Tax for U.S employers and employers is 1.45% for the first $200,000 in wages, and 2.35% on all wages that exceed $200,000. This extra 0.9% is called the Additional Medicare Tax. Your benefits may differ if you are under a Medicare Advantage Plan, but these are the minimum benefits covered under Part A:

  • Nursing home care
  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Hospice care
  • Skilled nursing facility
  • Home health care

According to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in 2018, the average per beneficiary cost for the Part A category was $5,241.

Medicare Part B

The SMI Trust Fund backs the Medicare Part B and Part D benefits. Part B covers:

  • Ambulance and preventative care services
  • Outpatient doctor visits
  • Mental health
  • Second opinions before surgery
  • Durable medical equipment (DME)

Part D on the other hand covers:

  • Prescription drugs

It is reported in CMS that in 2018, the average cost per beneficiary funded by the SMI Trust Fund for Parts B and D were $6,253 and $2,171 respectively.

Medicare Part C

Also known as Medicare Advantage (MA), these are private plans being offered by private health insurers that are approved by the government. This is an alternative Medicare route to Parts A and B, or collectively known as Original Medicare. One must enroll in Original Medicare to purchase MA, so that’s already around $135 (depending on income).

Other than that, the costs of Mas vary by plan, but it is capped to no more than $6,700 annually for inpatient and outpatient services. Typically, MAs cover vision, dental, hearing, and prescription drug coverage which aren’t covered by the Original Medicare.

Which stocks to buy for high returns?

Investment is the life wire of lasting wealth. Resources, especially financial resources like money, is both a seed and a fruit. Seed because it can be used to create more money, and fruit it can be spent as rewards. To do the latter, you need to have given some time and effort to the former. For this to happen, you must be ready to cash in on investment opportunities.

Over the years, the fluctuations in stock pricing and the market at large have led to lots of double-mindedness. Investment in stock as now becomes a thing to critically examine before delving into. But the best things in life are reserved for the bold and daring.

Anyone who desires wealth must have an appetite for undertaking investment opportunities, howbeit healthy appetite. Whether you have the stomach for high-risk investment or not, the investment in stock is something to consider. For the most part, the financial situation of individuals determines how much they are willing and able to invest in portfolios such as stock.

The key to high returns in stock investment is to invest in companies and brands whose products are used daily. Since the durability of consumer goods cannot be completely ascertained and by the extension the profits of such companies. IT companies and companies with fast moving products are your surest bet.

If you are wondering which stocks to buy today, below are some ideas.

  1. Alibaba group holding limited

Despite the hit experienced by Chinese tech firms, the Alibaba group has managed to come back with a bang. From losing 35% of its value between June and October 2018. In November 2018 alone, the company made a one day sale of over thirty million, eight hundred dollars. Since then, the stock of the company has risen and continues to rise.

According to a report by money morning, “evenas Jack Ma prepares to step aside, thereis no reason to think that the company will slow down. And between Alibaba’s lean business model – it acts as a digital retail shelf rather than a warehouse – and rapid growth in Asia, this is the online retail giant with the most room to grow in the next few decades”.

The report goes on to suggest that everyshare of Alibaba you buy – trading at about $185 at the beginning of the second quarterof2019 – will be worth $2.1 million in four decades.

  1. Facebook Inc.

According to reports, “Facebook had a rough 2018, as concerns over privacy and security took a toll. The company has spent billions of dollars to shore up security on its platform, which has hurt profitability”.

With the recent introduction of stories to the various platforms owned and operated by Facebook Inc – Instagram, Facebook and messenger. The constant improvement to the products of the company would see the company rise higher in times to come, making its stock the stock to buy for high returns.

  1. MasterCard

Any company with products that are techie would definitely experience progress in financial terms. MasterCard has been the number 1 online payment processing company for years and somehow manages to maintain this position. An investment in their stock is an investment that is sure to produce high returns.

There are other stocks you can invest in, but the essence of this piece has been to give you an idea of the kind of stocks to invest in for high returns. Start your investment today!

3 Tips to Consider before Investing in a Stock.

Buying shares and investing in the stock market is a slow way to build up wealth. It is steady too, it may take time to appreciate and for you to reap dividends. One good thing about shares is you can keep reinvesting your dividends to grow your net worth, that’s what Warren Buffet does.

Agreed, it’s a great way to make some investments for the future but you don’t want to do that unguided, the stock market always may seem easy to invest in, but it’s risky without the right knowledge. You don’t want to buy a share at $30 dollars and come back months later to find out it has crashed and there isn’t any hope of it rising again.

Warren Buffet invests in companies that pay dividends and are consistently growing, what should you look out for before you invest? The company should inspire confidence in you both for now and the future.

Let’s look at these few tips:

  1. Check the strength of the Industry

Investing in oil a couple of years back may have been a great decision for the period of the oil boom. But with the advent of other forms of energy, many countries are shifting focus from oil into others. And the price of oil in the global market has plummeted. So also, the shares.

To ascertain how strong an industry is means digging deep into the history and growth pattern of it.

Now here’s a quick question to help you think it through, using the oil and gas industry as an example. How many alternatives can the world get if they decide to minimize their usage of oil and gas? You’d find out there are a couple of great alternatives like solar, biodegradable energy and lots more.

What of the Soda production industry? People are going for healthier alternatives because of the spike in nutrition related diseases. There are also a lot of questions you need to look into to help you determine how strong and healthy an industry is.

  1. What is the debt profile?

Some companies post profitable stocks, and shareholders dividends always looks good, but there is more to check. The debt to equity ratio should not be too high.

Here’s why, even if the company pays great dividends, one day it is going to pay off the debts and it will come from the profits. So instead of dividends increasing, it will reduce at some point in time. The ideal stock to buy is that which the debt to equity ratio is not more than 1.00.

  1. Check for Consistent growth

You need to check how great a company’s growth is. That means you should keep an eye on the cash flow. If it isn’t positive, take a break.

Positive cash flow means a company’s assets are increasing, it’s having turnover and can pay its expenses. So, look out for growth and cash flow.

The hot stocks to buy right now are those with a strong industry, low debt and a consistent growth and earning rate. The growth and earning rate should be from 5 – 15% in about 5 years. It could be more, but more is not advisable

And when you find all these factors right in an intended investment, reinvest your dividends when it comes, and continue reinvesting it.

Is Becoming an Accountant Worth the Investment?

You may be attracted to the security, the responsibility or the intensity of accounting – or maybe all three. Regardless, before you take the plunge, you are probably wondering if the swim is worth the wet.

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Accountants have an opportunity to make big money and control even more. The path is relatively clear; for instance, this guide provides guidance on how to master the CPA exam. You have more resources and guidance than perhaps any generation of potentates before you, but you still have to do your part.

Here’s your part.

Exam Costs

“You have to pay the cost to be the boss” or “it takes money to make money.” Either one of those idioms could apply here; take your pick. The bottom line is that you will pay for the attempt at becoming an accountant.

This is a relatively small investment for a confident acolyte, as you will earn the money back within the first few hours of your professional employment. Having an upfront cost for the CPA exam in place also encourages some people to study harder. Are you one of those people?

You will pay at least $50 for the CPA exam application fee. The fee only applies assuming that your application is accepted and you do not let your authorization to test (ATT) expire.

Exam fees will run you an average of $193.45 per section. The sections on the CPA come a la carte; so depending on the certification you want, you will pay more or less.

Next, your state registration fee will apply based on the number of CPA exam sections that you choose to take. Signing up for multiple sections gives a slight discount. One section costs $63; two, $81; three, $99; and four $177.

If you are in a state that requires passing an ethics exam upon successful completion of your CPA exam, then you will pay for this privilege as well. Taking the AICPA ethics exam will cost you a minimum of $150, although you receive a study booklet included in the fee.

Finally, you will owe state CPA licensing fees, and you will also be responsible for maintaining your continuing education to the tune of 40 hours per year. Licensing fees range between $50 and $500. Your continuing education will run about $1000 per year.

There are additional costs if you fail sections repeatedly or if you are an international candidate.

Review Courses

Taking a CPA review course is completely optional. There is no requirement to show that you took one in order to become an accountant. You should know that the CPA exam is made to be an exclusive affair, however. You have a much better chance of passing when you study under the wing of someone who has already mastered it.

CPA prep courses usually run within a range of $1000 to $3000. Keep in mind that the course will not guarantee the successful completion of your journey. It provides the guideline for you, but you have to fill in the rest with your own sweat and blood.

Your Time Investment

Your CPA tutor cannot take the exam for you. Until the information from the course material makes its way into your brain, you need to continue your investment of time into the process. As a soon-to-be accountant, you know that time is money. There is an economic opportunity cost you take on when you choose to spend extra time studying for your exams.

This opportunity cost definitely varies from person to person. Are you willing to focus more so that your study time occurs in a shorter period? Do you have a natural predilection to the topics being studied? Only you can really affirm how much this investment is worth to you. This is both an advantage, because you control the entire process; and a disadvantage, because you control the entire process. There is no one to blame if things go wrong.

Is becoming an accountant worth the investment? Now that you have the numbers, you can make an informed choice. Good luck, study hard, and make your next move your best move!