Using Home Warranties to Guard against Financial Uncertainty

As a new homeowner, you have many things to be thankful for. For starters, you are no longer paying rent, or living with friends and family. You have your own piece of real estate, and that is truly incredible. Homeownership comes with many benefits and responsibilities. For starters, you will be required to maintain your property – upkeep, maintenance etc.

As a new homeowner, you can purchase a condominium, a single-family home, or a town home. Each dwelling is unique. Homeowners association fees typically cover the costs of gated communities, the exterior maintenance of your buildings, the yard and the aesthetics of the complex.

However, when it comes to the internal systems and appliances of your home, that’s an entirely different ballgame. Every homeowner is responsible for his/her systems and appliances. These include washers, microwaves, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, garbage disposal units, ACs, pool motors, garage door motors etc. As you can imagine, these expensive systems need to be covered by a home warranty or a manufacturer’s warranty.

Experts state that for every $100 spent on an appliance or a system, you can expect at least a year’s worth of usage. For an appliance that is nearing the end of its life term, it is probably a good idea to have home warranty coverage for repair or replacement. By contrast, appliances that are brand-new are typically covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. However, it’s equally important to read the fine print of a warranty before you discard home warranty coverage.

How Do Home Warranties Help You Overcome Financial Uncertainty?

Think about the costs of repair or replacement of systems and appliances in the absence of home warranty coverage. According to various authorities, the national average for installing an appliance is $191, with a typical range of $115 on the low end and $274 on the high-end. This figure is attributed to smart home appliances, washers, dryers, stoves, ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators, and microwaves. Home appliances cost significantly more than that. Consider the following:

  • A dryer can last between 8 years – 12 years and costs between $400 and $1,000
  • A dishwasher lasts between 8 years – 10 years and costs between $400 and $700
  • A washer can last between 8 years – 12 years and costs between $700 and $1,000
  • A refrigerator typically lasts between 6 – 15 years and costs between $900 and $8,000
  • A range/oven can last between 10 years – 15 years and costs between $650 and $2,000

As you can imagine, these costs can put a significant dent in your savings, in the absence of a home warranty plan. One of the leading home warranty providers is American Home Guard. This home warranty company has been operational for 4 years and it covers a wide range of appliances such as HVAC units, pools, spas, appliances and systems.

Costs of Home Warranty Coverage by American Home Guard

There are plans starting at $530 per year for the red/white plan, while the blue plan costs $600 per year. Among the many benefits of selecting this company for home warranty coverage are the following:

  • Fully comprehensive coverage
  • High customer satisfaction rates
  • A 30-day money back guarantee
  • Around-the-clock customer support

Coverage includes air-conditioning up to 5-ton capacity, but nonessential components such as stands, grills, air filters, and the like will not be covered by the plan. Heating systems are covered, including all components, modules and parts of the heating framework. Again, there is a 5-ton limit. All minor parts are not covered by the plans, which is standard across the home warranty industry.

For both systems, coverage is limited to $500 within the first 3 months of the contract and beyond that it increases to $2,000. Electrical systems are important, and many components of the electrical system will be covered by the home warranty plan including switches, breakers, outlets, wiring etc. Additional coverage is available for well pumps, limited roof leaks, plumbing/lighting, pool/spa equipment etc.  For the red plan and the white plan, the service call fee is $65 and the cost is $529.99. For the blue plan, the cost is $599.99, and the service call fee is $65.

 

 

Universal Personal Finance Tips You Can Start Using Today

Personal finance is a topic that is important to put thought into on a regular basis. Having savings and a good credit score will make it possible to get credit, loans and similar things when you need them. Learning more about some of the very basic personal finance tips is a great place to get started. These apply to people of all ages and you can start putting them into practice today. You should also check out Don Gayhardt’s CrunchBase for further information.

Set Financial Goals

You want to make some plans about paying off debt and saving extra money. Your goals should be reasonable and in line with the amount of money you make. When you are setting goals, make sure that you are specific concerning the dates and the amounts. This makes it easier to track them and make sure that you are making the right progress.

Create a Budget

This is one of the first things that you want to do because you have to know what you can safely spend. When you look at expert personal finance resources, such as Don Gayhardt’s CrunchBase, they will suggest that you start the budget process by determining your monthly net income. This is the amount of money that you are bringing home from your job. The next step is figuring out your expenses. Just subtract these from your net income to see what is left.

If you have little to nothing left, it is time to start making cuts to your expenses. You might also opt to find ways to earn a little more money. This will give you a larger financial cushion each month and it makes it possible to start saving.

Manage Your Debt

If you do not have an effective debt management plan in place, it is too easy to just keep accumulating debt. As it grows, it will become much harder to get out from under it. Common debts are your credit cards, your mortgage, your car payment and student loans. If your finances are tight, start with one of these and start paying it down faster.

For example, student loans are often costly and it is nice to get rid of them for good. Even if you just add an extra $100 a month to your payments, this is an extra $1,200 per year you are putting on them. This goes a long way in getting the total cost of the loan paid off in advance.

Pay Attention to Your Spending

Once a week, take a few minutes to review where your money went. This will give you a good idea about where extra spending is going. For example, you might find that you are spending too much on lunch or coffee. You can easily cut down such expenses by preparing them at home.

Simplify Your Financial Situation

Your finances do not have to be complicated. When you simplify them, it will be a lot easier to handle them. Pay off your debts, keep credit accounts to a minimum and try to pay cash whenever you can. Warren Buffet is a good example of living simply since he still lives in the $31,500 home he purchased in 1957. Imagine how much he has saved over the years by refusing to buy new homes that are considerably more expensive. This also plays into making sure that you live within your means.

Between the basics and a few expert tips, you can be on your way to better personal finances. What is important is that you do not wait and that you are honest with yourself. This will help to ensure that your finance situation is able to improve as soon as possible.

Why Should My Company Invest In A Multilingual Website

Being a small business owner, you’re probably aware of how important it is to find the right audience and reach out to them. You’ve probably done quite a bit of market research and segmented your acquisition campaigns to hit the sweet spot with every group you target.

All of that is great, and it will certainly make your company successful and generate revenues. However, what it we told you that you can double, triple, or even quadruple your target audience and transfer your company to a whole new level of success?

Don’t believe us? We’ve got two words for you – multilingual websites.

Something as simple as adding multiple languages to your website could be responsible for skyrocketing your company’s success. This isn’t a particularly new or a particularly revolutionary idea, so it often gets overlooked by many entrepreneurs, especially the ones that run a one-(wo)man business.

Don’t miss out on an amazing opportunity to bring your business to a whole new level just because you couldn’t spare a lunch break to optimize your website for more than one language. That’s right – it doesn’t take longer than an hour to add another language to your website. Web developers at SITE123 have been working hard on creating a simple, easy to use feature that would enable their clients to quickly translate their website’s content into another language.

While SITE123 isn’t the only website builder out there that has this incredible feature, it’s the only one that’s completely free to use.

Still need a bit more persuasion? Let’s go over some of the less obvious benefits of having a multilingual website:

1.Multiple languages increase your search engine visibility

Although Google dominates most of our lives here, that’s not always the case in the rest of the world. In many populous countries, neither Google nor Yahoo are among the top three most used search engines.

Offering your website in more than one language will help your website get a much better organic ranking in many of the lesser known search engines such as Russia’s Yandex or China’s Baidu.

2.The sheer number of your clients will skyrocket

As of 2017, there are 7.5 billion people in the world, and around 40% of them are on the internet. Most of the 3.6 billion people online today aren’t English speakers.

There are 1.2 billion Chinese speakers, 437 million Spanish speakers, 295 million Arabic speakers and just over a quarter of a billion Hindi speakers in the world. Among all of those people there’s bound to be quite a few of them that might be interested in what your company has to offer.

Failing to provide your services to anyone outside of your language zone means failing to grow your business.

3.Your company will become more trustworthy

With a million and one online business and stores popping up each week, it can be hard to tell which one of them should be worth your customers’ time and money.

Having a multilingual website, along with the option to sell and ship internationally, will help you reach out to more than 70% of non-native English speakers – all of whom say that they prefer browsing and shopping in their native languages.

4.You’ll beat your competition

One of the many joys and excitements of running an online business is the constant competition that motivates you to work harder and your business to thrive. However, taking a break from that is something most business owners long for, and having a multilingual website could be the solution for that.

You see, by offering your content in more than one language, you’ll be expanding your business to more countries – countries with undeveloped markets ready to be conquered by your product. The extra profit you generate from your international ventures will help you boost your company’s domestic growth, which will in turn help you rise up from your competition and start dominating the market.

5.It can open doors for new business opportunities

Providing your content in more than one language is great for gaining new clients, but did you also know that it could open doors for new and exciting business ventures?

Your website could attract other international businesses that might be looking for an international partner or a wholesale provider. Better yet, if you’re running an agency, your services might be something that’s lacking in other countries, and you could break into an entirely untapped market. Also, international business cooperation almost always cuts your operating costs and lowers the taxes you pay.

Conclusion

We hope that we’ve managed to shine a bit more light onto this often overlooked matter and convinced you to start offering your content in more than just one language.

If we’ve got you hooked, but are still skeptical of how you’d be able to manage it on your own, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. SITE123, the amazing website builder we’ve mentioned before, has a great piece on the future of multilingual websites, along with a comprehensive guide to translating your website.

Ready to international? Start by creating a free website and translating it into as many languages as you’d like.

Luis Coronel Net Worth

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Luis Coronel is an American singer who was born in Tuscon, Arizona.  At 21 years of age, the singer is known for his Latin music from the Mexico region.  Earlier this year, the young sensation signed on with record label Sony Music Latin.  With so much music and promise ahead of him, the young star has a net worth that sits at $1.8 million.

Luis began his singing career at the age of six in his church’s choir.  An avid boxer throughout his youth, the singer sang after one of his matches, and his life would forever change.  He soon developed a social media following for his singing talent which eventually led him to be signed by DEL Records at 16 years old.  Luis Coronel net worth is derived mostly from his record deals.  After spending over four years with DEL Records, Luis signed on with Sony Music Latin and joined the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, Marc Anthony and others.  The young singer has racked up many awards throughout his early career, but probably the greatest one to date he received in 2014, the Latin Billboard Music Awards for New Artist of the Year.

Coronel has released two studio albums, one in 2013 and his sophomore album in 2014.  His debut album, Con la frente en alto, reached as high as 80 on the US Billboard top 200 charts.  He followed this album up with an even more successful second album, Quiero ser tu dueño.  His second album made it all the way to number 33 on the US Billboard top 200 list and even was able to clench the top spot for the US Top Latin Albums during the year.

Developing a number of hits such as “Escápate” and “Será más fácil” has allowed Luis to focus on his touring.  He is currently on tour with Latin mega-star Prince Royce.  This tour should allow him to continue to grow his following, especially on YouTube where he has over 600k subscribers to his channel.

We can expect Luis Coronel net worth to continue to increase over the coming years and potentially decades.  At 21 years old, he has a long and promising music career ahead of him.  If Luis Coronel can continue on his path to creating hits and top selling albums, he can easily match the success of his tour mate Prince Royce.  Prince Royce is 28 years of age and has been in the business substantially longer than Coronel.  Prince Royce has over four million subscribers to his YouTube channel and a net worth in excess of $14 million.  Can Luis be the next Marc Anthony?  If he is able to see such success than there is no limits to the height of his net worth.  The likes of Anthony and Enrique Iglesias have a net worth that stretches close to the nine figure range.

3 Simple Tips to Promoting Your Business Via Instagram Direct

Instagram Direct is an Instagram feature that allows users to send videos, pictures and texts privately to other users. You have the option of sending messages to one to 15 people in a single thread. Moreover, while the social media sites are offering businesses greater exposure, this feature from Instagram helps businesses engage with their clients in a more targeted manner.

In terms of small businesses and targeting your audience, there are several ways you can use Instagram Direct. If your social media marketing plan includes Instagram, read further to see how you can use Instagram Direct to propel your business from one success to the next.

Connecting With Industry Leaders

Popular bloggers and industry leaders and influencers reviewing, featuring or posting about your business’ products and services is a great way to boost credibility and enhance your reach. Creating connections with industry gurus is tricky, and their inboxes may already be crowded. However, if they are ardent Instagram users, Instagram Direct is your best bet at creating that vital connection.

Send the gurus direct messages with bite-sized, visual and quick content to create that initial contact. Before writing that message, take some time to familiarize yourself with the influencer’s account. Look at what type of content they post on all their channels, not only Instagram.

Looking at their public accounts helps you understand their writing styles, values and interests. The research is a great way to show genuine interest in your industry influencer’s journey to the top as well as helping you communicate with them in a way that resonates with them. It also displays respect when you take time to research first.

Run a Contest

Instagram Direct can be used to initiate a contest – a great way of increasing your social media engagement. One way to start the contest is by posting an image with a description of the contest and code. The first few people to respond with the code get a small prize, discount or coupon.

Another method is to post a picture and the first few people to respond receive a direct response in a message with a coupon or details on how to enter the contest. You can also use Instagram Direct messages to enter people to a contest by having them send you a direct message that explains why they think they should win, or provide a video or photo – both of which you can post at a later date.

Generate Leads

Instagram is an exciting way to market your products and services. However, did you know that you could also use the platform to generate leads? With proper research, Instagram Direct makes this a breeze.

Dive into hashtags and trends that people likely to be interested in your products are using. Maybe they follow accounts that are similar to your business, they are posting about issues that you can solve or they have a tendency of preferring a product or service you offer. Even without their email addresses, you can also reach users through Instagram Direct messages.

Consider adding a link to your eBook along with a photo of the cover, a before and after picture or simply introduce users to Instagram accounts they would love. With Instagram Direct messages, you can reach users in a more personal and relevant manner, turning them into leads in no time.

Direct Messaging is a feature that any social media platform offers its users, and you can use it to connect with your followers and customers. However, when it comes to Instagram Direct messaging, you get a unique communication environment that allows visual content for enhancing your messages with small business health insurance quotes online, for example. Whether you are on the hunt for new leads, increasing your social media engagement or reactivating your inactive followers, Instagram Direct messages can help reach your business objectives.

How to Add Value to Your Home [Infographic]

They say there is no better investment than in bricks and mortar, and year after year that sentiment is proven, while there are occasional dips in house prices, overall investing in property is one of the safety forms of investment out there. If you don’t have the budget to invest in a whole house, then investing in your current one can also create value.

One of the fundamental errors that people make when trying to increase the value of their home before selling it is spending too much compared to the increase in value that it will create, homes are a big part of our lives and we have some emotional attachment to them, so making them look as nice as we possibly can and often overpaying is a common pitfall that people make, even when the decision has been made to move on.

Luckily there are plenty of relatively simple and affordable things that we can do to our homes that we can be fairly confident will increase the value, without breaking the bank. So when you’re ready to move up to the next price bracket and you need to squeeze a little more out of the house you’re selling then think of it like a business decision of simple return on investment, otherwise costs can easily spiral out of control.

And while the advice for adding value is fairly standard, ensuring your home is smart-ready and even investing in a few smart devices that potential buyers will see around the house is a great way to increase the perceived value of your home.

So check out this new infographic put together by Florida Realtors  Florida House Sale that gives an idea of how much particular improvements might cost, and the possible ROI that you will see from doing them:  

How to Implement New Professional Services Automation Software

It is a difficult process to choose the right kind of Professional Services Automation (PSA) software for your business. You have to consider several factors first, as it affects all the aspects of your organization. However, just think of it – implementing the right PSA software enables you to bring efficiency across all the areas of your business and gives you an edge among your competitors. If your business is growing rapidly, then a PSA is a great tool to assist you in a sustainable way.

Once you purchase a PSA software, it shouldn’t stop there. Yes, it can solve a lot of problems, especially those manual tasks but having this system will not solve all your woes in an instant. Aside from having the PSA tool, you should have an implementation strategy in mind too.

There are a lot of companies that say the PSA system doesn’t work after a few months and just give up completely without investing that much time, effort and even proper training to their personnel. When you decide to change established processes in your business, sometimes it can be painful as you need time – and this is something most businesses don’t have – also ironically one of the major reasons why they purchased a PSA software in the first place.

So how to implement new Professional Services Automation software effectively in your company?

The process of implementing the system can be quite lengthy and complex, sometimes even you or the vendor would never see it coming. This is to be expected since you purchased an extensive product that will take over major processes. However, once it has been put into place, you can reap great benefits from it. Keep in mind though, that you might encounter several bumps in the road that will test your patience and perseverance for you to achieve proper implementation.

It is important to make a commitment towards effective PSA implementation. There are several thousand other companies that uses this type of system in their business and it has radically changed their business for the better. One thing they did to achieve this feat? They made a commitment to have PSA implemented properly. You will need to choose a dedicated implementation team for this. Since there will be setbacks and progress, it is essential to have a support team that has a high level of commitment. You, as a business owner should also be equally dedicated in working with the team to be able to create the best system you’ll have.

Create a clear plan to figure out what are the steps you should take to get to that point and follow it as closely as possible. This way, the vendor support team or even your own dedicated team can implement and customize the system properly. You will need to ensure that the system you build is something that you want it to be, or else it will just be a waste of time, money and it can even cause more problems later on.

It would be ideal to instantly implement your entire PSA software, although it would be best if you have it implemented first in segments. This way, it can help your business focus on one aspect at a time and then improve the software when needed. Never do a massive overhaul in the system – it will be easier to train the users by segments. When you implement the system one part at a time, it will be less pressure on all parties involved and you will see how beneficial it will be later on.

How To File a Tax Extension

Tomorrow is the official Tax Day of the United States of America.  It is the last day to file your taxes, unless you have requested an extension.  Why would someone need to file an extension?  Perhaps they have not had time to do their taxes or get with a professional.  Maybe they have a complicated tax situation and need more time to get everything together to do a proper filing.  Procrastination is also a big reason for many needing an extension.  Whatever the reason, there is a proper way to file that tax extension.  Approximately 8% of all tax filers file an extension in a given year.  This amount is roughly 14 million Americans. Image result for tax day

What does filing a tax extension get you? By filing a tax extension, you receive an additional 6 months to file your taxes, meaning your new tax deadline would be October 18, 2017.  Filing an extension ultimately equates to more time for one to get his or her taxes in order.

How to file a tax extension:

Online: You can file a tax extension online by either accessing the IRS e-file from a computer or through a tax professional or tax software that uses the e-file program.  You will complete an online version of form 4868 which is the Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.  The form can be found HERE.  Filing your extension using the IRS e-file software is safe and secure.  Once you have completed the filing you will receive an electronic confirmation.  You will also be required to estimate your tax liability when you fill out the form.  The form will also allow you to pay a portion of your tax amount if you choose to do so.  Payments can be made online via a direct transfer from your bank, a check or money order.

Paper Form: In addition to filing your extension online, you also have the option to fill out a paper version of form 4868 and mail it in to the IRS.  Paper forms must be mailed to specified mailing addresses depending on which state you are filing from.  When you file your paper form, you also have the option to add a payment if you would like.

Filing an extension would never be ideal in most scenarios.  After all, the majority of Americans do pay too much in taxes throughout the year and most end up receiving a refund.  In 2016, according to the IRS the average refund issued was just over $3,000.  The earlier you file your taxes the earlier you can receive your refund if you are entitled to one.  Maybe you wait to the very last day to file your taxes.  If so, once you get them filed go celebrate and take advantage of the following Tax Day freebies that some stores are offering.

Challenges Facing International Business

2017 looks to be a year of big challenges for business wherever they are in the world. Let’s pin down some of the major incoming challenges for businesses in the next year.

International Law

If you’re operating a business on an international scale – even a retail business that ships internationally – it’s important to have a proper understanding of the laws that govern your business model in different territories. This is particularly important if you’re operating a business model that doesn’t have a direct existing analogue. AirBnB has made a lot of money and adopted huge publicity by breaking new ground and crowdsourcing rental property for holidays, but by moving into Spain without conducting proper checks into its legal standing it found itself on the receiving end of a large fine.

Shipping to, from or within Scandinavia, is another example of international business law that takes time to understand: the customs situation is complicated, and can result in parcels being delayed, lost or the intended recipient having to pay unexpected customs charges in order to pick up their parcel. Unless this is accounted for and handled correctly, this could sink an attempt to move into the Scandinavian market under red tape and customer resentment.

It’s important to conduct proper research and consult experts before you make a move into a new market. You may find it helpful to talk to contacts at other businesses who have made a successful expansion into the territory you are considering. They can identify some of the challenging areas you may find yourself facing, and possibly give you a head start on solving those problems.

Brexit

As Chris Williams puts it, “Uncertainty is never good for business…now we have uncertainty caused by the Brexit result, combined with parliamentary disruption and still no clear plan”.

This is a challenging time: without clear knowledge of what the effects will be of Britain leaving the UK. The knock-on effects, as it disrupts the relationships of businesses around the world doing business in the UK and Europe are hard to predict. You’ll definitely expertise in your business, but it’s hard to know what expertise will be best to help you in this uncertain time.

You would be well served making preliminary enquiries with an interim recruitment company, like Savannah Interim, who are experts at getting temporary expertise into organizations that need it, when they need it.

2017: Starting a Roth IRA

We are now well into the new year, but it is never too late to get your finances off to the right start.  Budgeting should have been and still should be your number one goal for the year.  If you haven’t started a budget, you should.  If you have started a budget, then great, keep it up!  At budgetandinvest.com we talk also about investing and the right ways to do it.  One of the best ways to invest your money is by starting a Roth IRA.  This retirement vehicle has many benefits, the main being that your gains and distributions are tax-free when you take your withdrawals.  How do I start a Roth IRA?  I’m about to show you how.

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Starting a Roth IRA

Step 1: Determine if starting a Roth IRA is right for you.  There are a few rules you have to remember when starting.  For example, you can only contribute a maximum of $5500 per year unless you are 50 years of age or older, then you can contribute $6500.  Also, there are income limits to consider.  If you are a single tax filer who makes $300,000 a year, you can’t participate in a Roth IRA.  Additionally, the money you contribute must remain until you are 59 1/2 years old, except for a few exceptions.  For a full list of rules visit: 2017 Roth IRA.

Step 2: Once you have determined that starting a Roth IRA is right for you, the next step is opening up one online.  It is easy to do and requires about ten minutes of your time.  I’d recommend opening it up through one of the following sites:

Vanguard

TD Ameritrade

Fidelity

Step 3: After you have opened your Roth IRA, it is important for you to contribute additional money to it on an ongoing basis.  This allows you to take advantage of Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA).  Ideally you would like to max out your Roth IRA contribution every year if you are able to.  Also, contributing a set amount on a constant basis will allow you to invest your dollars during stock market highs and lows.

Step 4: Stick to a plan, be patient, and watch it grow.  Building a large Roth IRA doesn’t take a stroke of luck or perfect financial acumen, it simply boils down to a few key steps.  Open up a Roth IRA, contribute to it on an ongoing basis (the maximum is preferred), allow your dividends to reinvest, and don’t touch your money.

Whether you have a company 401k, a pension or 403b, a Roth IRA is a great complement to any individual’s retirement plan.  The tax-free income that it can provide in retirement will allow you to offset many of the taxes you will be forced to pay with ordinary retirement accounts and social security.  Don’t hesitate in opening one, the best time to start is now!

Budget Smart, Invest Wise