Enjoy the golden years: save money on your retirement  

The journey to retirement begins with the first day of work and, while saving for retirement should be the primary focus, preparing to spend that nest egg wisely is also important.  Today, retirement covers a longer period of time than ever before – thirty years or more for some people – so ensuring that the money is going to stretch and serve well is a priority.

 

Good money habits during retirement

 

One of the top ways to save money during retirement can begin long before actually retiring.  Having bad habits with money can have an immediate effect as well as a long-term effect on finances, but establishing good habits and patterns can have a very positive effect very quickly and, once established, will be easy to maintain when retired.  Make it a habit to work out a monthly budget, as well as planning for yearly expenses, and stick to it as closely as possible.  Explore available discount programs and cards, particularly when eligible for senior discounts.

 

Choosing a retirement community

 

Though some retirees will have enough saved to maintain their own home or travel the world, living in a senior community is the best long-term option for many.  Senior communities, in particular independent living communities and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), offer a wide variety of services and amenities in addition to the peace of mind that an all-inclusive living environment provides.  With utilities and maintenance taken care of by the facility, residents are free to enjoy activities out and about, or simply sit in and relax.  A senior community lifestyle can be a money-saving option, keeping most living expenses at a constant unlike the fluctuations that occur when maintaining a home and car and living independently outside a community.

 

One important criterion to be considered when choosing a senior community is the quality of health care offered by the facility.  Health care is one of the largest expenses incurred during the retirement years and, as more and more retirees live into their 80s and 90s, the prospect of needing continuing care becomes ever more likely.  Senior communities offer a variety of different health care programs and options for residents, customizing care to suit their individual needs.  From personal care to memory care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s to respite and hospice care, senior communities provide quality care with professional medical staff that will help a resident retiree save money.

 

Planning a worry-free retirement

 

Though worries may arise during the years leading up to retirement, from concerns over whether there will be enough money to retire to worrying whether there will be enough money to get through retirement, one thing is certain: the retirement years should enjoyed!  After a lifetime of work, retirement should be a time of unique opportunities and fun.  Living in the ideal senior community can be a major part of that worry-free and enjoyable retirement.

 

All the clever investment strategies and plans cannot ensure a worry-free retirement, but fostering good habits with money early on, as well as exploring retirement community living as a real option, can help stretch those dollars throughout retirement.

 

 

Five Ways your Business Start Up Can Save Money Today

The first couple of years for a start-up can be amongst the most difficult, building up an audience and battling to remain in existence. Having a frugal and financially-responsible business model and implementing cost-effective ethics are hugely important at this stage. Here are five ways in which a start-up can save money without compromising the quality of the services and/or products.

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Never Miss an Advertising Opportunity

Many newer and smaller businesses bemoan a lack of funding to implement an advertising campaign, citing the expensive costs of television and radio airtime. However, everyday business endeavours are in themselves packed with advertising opportunities. All business mailings can include advertising materials, promotions and unique offers. Piggybacking your advertising can help cut costs directly appeals to your market demographic according to J. Donald Weinrauch, co-author of The Frugal Marketer.

Take Advantage of Skilled Freelancers

If your start-up requires a number of different skills, you may feel pressured into undertaking a lot of unfamiliar tasks or expanding your workforce. Both of these options can be problematic – either stretching yourself beyond your skillset or taking on too many costs. The internet is jam-packed with talented freelancers with a range of skills and abilities at great prices. People Per Hour is a fantastic service with a great range of talented individuals with skills as diverse as photography and web development. One-off jobs can be completed at a cut price by an individual with the correct skills.

Cut Down on Delivery

More and more commerce companies are starting up on the internet rather than out of a bricks and mortar site, due to the money-saving potential of inhabiting virtual space rather than physical space. This however can lead to high levels of delivery costs. Make sure you keep your services competitively-priced, by cutting down on delivery costs. All courier services charge different amounts for different services, so use a company such as Rapid Parcel or Parcel2Go to ensure you are always getting the best rate available for your delivery needs.

Take Advantage of Government Schemes

Keep abreast of government schemes for local businesses to make your money go further. Tax breaks are available for small business in a bid to improve the strength of the country’s economy as well as other benefits. Apprenticeship schemes have grown in scope and popularity in recent years with added incentives offered to companies employing apprentices. Employers may be entitled to a £1,500 apprenticeship grant as a part of the government’s scheme, making it more affordable to expand the workforce.

Utilise Free Software

Where possible, take advantage of free software. Services such as Skype are just as effective in the workplace as at home, allowing you to make free business calls to clients, customers and colleagues. The instant chat feature also allows you to stay in quick and constant contact with your colleagues during the workday, and transfer important files. Additionally, Dropbox is a free (for the starters’ package) online storage service, ensuring you have access to all your important documents at all time.

Entrepreneur retirement: taking charge of your future  

Owning a small business has always been appealing to people because it offers the individual owner a degree of personal independence and the freedom to direct their business as it grows. The feeling of creating a successful business that leaves a mark simply cannot be measured. With this freedom, however, comes unique responsibilities, as entrepreneurs will find themselves taking responsibility for their own finances in a way that non-business owners do not need to, namely properly planning out their retirement finances.

 

Planning for your retirement when self-employed

Planning inadequately for retirement is a major mistake that many entrepreneurs make. Regardless of the age of the business owner, fears about finances both current and future may severely hamper any savings plan. This could lead to a business owner finding themselves in a predicament when the time comes to retire, either finding themselves short of funds and forced to supplement their meager savings or deferring retirement indefinitely in order to continue producing income.

Successful retirement plans should begin with the start-up of the business and be factored in along the way. For a self-employed business owner, considering options for saving and finding the best route means doing some homework. There are a variety of routes that one can take to save for retirement, many of which are very generous in their tax-saving features.

Begin by learning as much as possible about investment and finance, particularly as it pertains to retirement savings. The current instability in the economy means that a certain degree of flexibility may be needed. In addition, seek out advice and guidance from reliable sources such as the Gallagher Group; more complete knowledge equals better investments equals a better retirement in the long run.

Beginning early to save for retirement is important for two reasons: first, a longer span of time before retirement means a longer period of time in which to be saving money; second, a longer span of time allows for changes to be made to the structure of the retirement investments, depending on the success of the business as well as the economy and stock market.

When it comes to investing, there are a wide range of choices to explore. Remember to spread the savings around, diversifying into stocks, funds, real estate, as well as investing in the business itself. Establish a yearly contribution goal, at least 10% of the net yearly income, to be saved. Individual business owners without employees may want to explore the SEP-IRA. This type of IRA is a simplified employee pension, and the investor may contribute up to 15% of their yearly self-employment income. Another option is the Solo 401(k), which allows for sizable contributions up to $50,000 per year for a business owner and spouse.

 

Taking charge of your retirement

While it may seem intimidating to begin saving while the economy is still experiencing the recession hangover, it is actually the best of times to start building a retirement nest egg. With thorough research and sound advice, any entrepreneur can wisely and confidently invest for their future in a wide variety of ways, putting the gold in their golden years as they watch their own business grow.

 

Buying second-hand cars

Are you considering buying a car but you’re afraid it will cost you a fortune?

Some days ago we talked about the benefits and drawbacks of both buying and leasing. We now present an option that stands right in between of these two: buying used cars. Don’t think that the expression “used car” implies an old broken car that will last you no longer than one year. This idea is completely out of date. Nowadays there’s fortunately a big amount of second-hand vehicles that have been well taken care of and stand in extremely good conditions.

Online second-hand market

Thanks to the internet, buying and selling have become so much easier. The evolution from the local to the global market is something we should take advantage of. There are thousands of websites all around the world where you can find great offers of second-hand cars. Check for example the used cars for sale in India, the second most populated country in the world has an expanding second-hand market which is growing around a 15% every year.

Benefits and drawbacks of used cars

But what are exactly the benefits of buying a second-hand car instead of a new one? Well, the main benefit of course is the price. Only by coming out of the car leadership, the car’s price experiences a fall of 20% and most of them lose up to a 40% of their original price during the first year. If you have a limited budget, this more affordable price will allow you to choose among cars of higher quality.

However, when purchasing second-hand cars, we obviously take a higher risk than when buying a brand new vehicle. It’s important to always revise every single aspect, such as mileage, accessories, hoods and motor. But it’s even more important to check that the car papers are in order. If you take care of these aspects, you can really get a good deal and find the car that suits your necessities as well as your financial means.

 

Alvaro Sobrinho – The Man

Africa is a continent which is rapidly growing in the areas of science, business and technology. No longer is Africa completely dependent on other nations for support in these areas. No longer must Africa rely on others to help with its domestic issues and to care for its people. Africa is growing, creating stronger higher education systems and producing great leaders who are devoted to the continent’s success. Alvaro Sobrinho is one of these people, a great leader and philanthropist whose mission is to see Africa achieve great success and independence.

Who is Alvaro Sobrinho?

Alvaro Sobrinho is a prominent businessman and philanthropist who is from the country of Angola in Africa. His business success really began when he opened a branch of the subsidary branch of Banco Espirito Santo in Angola. He is well-known for his philanthropy work in Africa, including his role as chairman of the Planet Earth Institute. It is through this position that he is really making great contributions towards Africa’s scientific independence and growth in business and technology as well. Check out this interview with Sobrinho to learn more about who he is and what his vision is for Africa.

What is Africa’s agenda?

Sobrinho has an agenda for Africa, and it is not one to be taken lightly. He foresees scientific independence for Africa, a goal which might seem lofty but in reality is not far away. What does scientific independence really mean for Africa? It means that Africa will be able to make its own scientific developments and conduct quality research. With these developments, Africa can take care of its own issues and no longer rely on other nations for so much support. The Time for Africa science agenda is full of more info on exactly what it means for Africa to achieve scientific independence, and the steps it will take to get there. And the fact is that Africa isn’t as far from this goal as some people might think. They have already created technologically-advanced Africa drones that are helping to boost military power. Innovations such as these and mobile e-learning are helping Africa to gain strength in science and technology.

Getting started in stock market trading  

If you are interested in getting involved in stock market trading there are a number of things to be aware of. Firstly, if you know little about the subject you will need to become more familiar with it. There are a number of resources that will help you to learn the basics of stock trading. Remember, the key to being successful is to know what you are doing and stay calm when things become fraught.

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Learning as much as you can is the best way to minimize your losses once you begin trading. Stocks are also known as shares or equity. Companies sell shares to the public to enable individuals to have a percentage of ownership in the company. This is why, when getting into stock market trading, it is important to invest in the right companies. It is well worth seeking investment advice to help you take the right steps.

 

The first point to be aware of is that stocks increase and decrease in value. If a company performs well, then its stocks will be in great demand. This increases the value of the stock, as more people will be interested in buying. However, if a company is not making a profit, demand for its stocks will decrease.

 

The stock market fluctuates constantly, a fact you will need to bear in mind when it comes to stock trading. If you choose to invest in a company that is performing well you will enjoy the benefits. Companies that are stable and generating high levels of profit pay dividends to their investors, which can provide them with a steady source of additional income.

 

One of the main things to think about when getting involved in stock market trading is why you want to invest. The main reason will be to make money, but think about what you will be using this cash for. Some people choose to invest to fund a certain type of lifestyle, such as if they are planning to travel, whilst others may be wanting to invest in order to secure a better standard of living when the time comes for them to retire. Think about what your aims are and what you plan to gain in the long run.

 

Stock market trading is ideal for those planning to invest long term. As the market can be unpredictable, it is not always a good idea to invest with the hope of becoming instantly wealthy. Be prepared to spend some time researching the options available so that you maximize the chances of investing in the right company. Try to learn as much as you can about the company you are considering investing in before risking any cash.

 

You should be aware of which companies are performing well in your area. It is better to invest in a company that you know a lot about. Familiarize yourself with the value of its stocks over past months and years. You will need to know as much as possible about any companies you are planning to invest in, such as how much they are worth, cash flow and how well they are likely to perform in the future.

 

Another step to getting into stock market trading is to start building up a portfolio of stocks. You are not restricted to investing in one company or one particular business sector. Try to create a portfolio that spans a number of industries, as this will enable you to continue earning even if one is doing badly. Look at various markets to identify which ones are performing best at a particular period of time and be prepared to shuffle your portfolio.

 

In addition to choosing the right companies, you also need to know when to purchase particular stocks. Have a look at recent stock trends; there are stock charts available that will help you. You can find stock quote charts online and in newspapers. Doing a little research will help you to understand stock chart symbols and other stock market terminology.

 

Once you are ready to take the plunge you will need to employ the services of a stockbroker. There are different types of stockbrokers available, so you will need to choose one that is right for you. You may wish to choose one that offers financial advice, as this will enable him or her to look at your financial situation and suggest the best stocks to invest in.

 

By taking the right steps, you can enjoy all the benefits that stock market trading offers and build up a portfolio that is both diverse and profitable.

Should You Buy or Lease Your Next Car?  

If you’re in the market for a vehicle, whether new or used, you’re probably facing many different questions and options. One of these is whether to buy or lease your car. Once you’ve figured out exactly which vehicle you want, you’ll face these two options and you’ll want to be well-educated in both of them. Buying and leasing each have their benefits and drawbacks, which are important to understand before you make your decision. Read on to learn more about these two options and make the decision that’s best for you.

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Buying

Do you plan on keeping your car for a long time? Is this an investment that you feel is for the long-term? These are signs that buying could be right for you. When you buy your car, you will own it once the loan is completely paid. So basically, each payment you make is bringing you closer and closer to ownership as you gain equity. And once you own your car, it’s yours to alter or modify however you want. (Keep in mind that as you’re paying off your car, you may not be able to make modifications like paint changes, add audio systems, etc. until it’s fully paid off.)

 

There are some drawbacks to keep in mind when buying a car, however. You will need to make a much larger down payment when buying a car than you would when leasing. And when you’re buying, you are taking a chance that you’ll be able to resell the car for a good value. This is different from leasing, where the resale value is actually determined beforehand and put right in the contract. But remember that you’re truly making an investment in the vehicle so if you see this as a long-term car, buying can really be a great option.

 

Leasing

When you lease a vehicle, you’re able to pay way less money overall because you’re not paying for the sales price- only the future depreciation. You’re able to make a much smaller down payment, so leasing is a good option for people who don’t have a large amount of cash ready at hand to drop on a car. A typical length for a car lease is about 3 years, so it’s a good option if you’re someone who likes to change vehicles rather frequently. And if you like a car with the latest and greatest tech options, leasing might be for you. Because you’ll be switching cars every few years, your next vehicle will have the newest updates! Leasing can be a great option for people who want to drive an expensive car but can’t afford to buy it. You can check out a BMW lease to find out more about options for your next vehicle.
But when you lease, keep in mind that you don’t have many rights over the vehicle. You can’t make any modifications you want and there might even be a restriction on the miles you can drive. And when you lease, you’re essentially just renting for a couple of years and paying extra interest on top. So you’re not really making any investments in a future purchase. Also, you usually need a good credit score to be able to lease a vehicle.

 

Why Shared Christmas Parties For Your Employees?

There are many different reasons why you may want to consider a shared Christmas party. The truth is that we are looking at something that has a lot more advantages than what you may be tempted to believe at first glance. We are talking about an opportunity that you have to take into account because of what we are about to mention below. Make sure that you consider every single one of these advantages.

Shared Christmas Parties Are Cheaper

If you were to calculate how much you need to pay for a really large corporate event and one that is built based on the shared system, you would instantly notice that there is a huge monetary needs difference. You simply cannot afford to organize something huge and wildly entertaining since your budget is really low. With this in mind, you can easily contact and participate in a London Christmas party by West End Events or similar event organizers. You save a lot of money and can offer a lot of entertainment for what you pay.

You Do Not Need To Organize Much

A huge advantage of the shared Christmas parties is that all you really need to do is talk with organizers and make payments. You do not actually plan anything except make a list of the people that are about to participate. With this in mind, you can stay focused on work and not have to waste a lot of time in organizing a Christmas party. Unfortunately, organizing Christmas parties is much more time consuming than many tend to believe. Even finding a suitable venue is a lot more complicated than what you initially think.

You Can End Up With A Themed Party

Studies show that the traditional Christmas parties are not seen with great eyes at the moment by employees from all around the world. The shared Christmas party almost always includes a special theme because of that. Some of the really popular themes include movies, James Bond and Las Vegas.

The fact that the party will have a theme will automatically increase the entertainment factor. Your employees will be more entertained and will have a much better time. In fact, they are much more likely to want to participate simply because the party has a theme. You can get them there and they will enjoy the event even more.

Consider The Shared Christmas Party

As you can instantly notice now, the shared Christmas party is a really good idea. You can dramatically reduce the budget that you need to throw a party for your employees and there is a much higher possibility that they will feel better at the party.

Remember that the advantages highlighted above are just some of those that you should take into account. Many others can be mentioned. The truth is that the shared corporate parties are gaining popularity because of the fact that they are great. You will find options that are available for practically all holidays, not just for Christmas since company managers realize the benefits associated with them.

Google Takes On the Big Boys in the Video Conferencing Market

Video conferencing for business is a lucrative market. A large video conferencing system can easily cost several thousand pounds upwards, which for smaller businesses is not a viable option. However, Google have now come up with an innovative high-definition video conferencing solution that is designed to appeal to smaller businesses and start-ups.

Chromebox for Business Meetings

The Google system is being marketed as a ‘Room-In-A-Box. Instead of paying out for an all-singing and all-dancing system, businesses can pay just $999 for a teleconferencing system that can cope with up to 15 people at a time. According to Caesar Sengupta, vice president of Google’s product management team, the system will enable companies to enjoy face-to-face communications without the huge price tag associated with larger systems.

What Does the Google System Include?

Google is providing everything your business needs to hold a teleconference, with the exception of a screen, a keyboard and a broadband connection.

  • Chromebox computer with an Intel Core i7 processor
  • Combined speaker-microphone unit
  • High definition camera
  • Remote control
  • Software to run the system

During the first year, Google provides access to support in the event of any problems materialising, but if your business requires ongoing technical support, it will cost $250 per year for each Chromebox system in place. Technical support is a cloud-based system.

All security fixes and updates are handled remotely in the cloud, so the end-user never has to worry about keeping their software up to date.

Ease of Use is a Bonus

Apparently the Chromebox system is really easy to use, although users do need to have a Gmail or Google+ account in order to sign in and take part in the teleconference. It uses Google Hangouts, a teleconferencing facility in the cloud. Meetings can be scheduled using Google Calendar, although businesses don’t have to use Google Apps before buying a Chromebox system. Participants in the meeting simply sign in using a Google account on their laptop, PC, tablet or smartphone and click to join a conversation, in the same way as you would on a Skype chat. Those with a Google+ account are only given limited use of Google Hangouts.

Several big US companies have been road testing the product prior to the main launch in the US and by all accounts are very happy with it.

The main piece of hardware in the Google system is the ultra-small Chromebox computer. It is not much bigger than a sandwich, but despite its small stature the diminutive Chromebox packs a pretty large punch thanks to the powerful Intel Core i7 processor chip inside. Cheaper versions of the system computer have also been launched by the likes of Samsung and Asus.

Potential Applications for Google Chromebox for Meetings

Because the Google Chromebox for meetings system is limited to a maximum of 15 participants, it isn’t going to be suited to every scenario, but for businesses running small training sessions or briefing meetings between remote office locations, the Chromebox system is ideal. Participants can even log in from non-workplace locations as long as they have an internet connection. So if you are stuck on a train, but you need to attend a vital meeting with colleagues, you can sign in on your smartphone and the meeting can go ahead with you instead of without you.

Advantages of Google Chromebox for Meetings

The main advantage of Google’s Chromebox for meetings is that it is cost effective for small businesses. It also requires very little management as most of the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff takes place in the cloud. However, if you need to accommodate more people, you are better off investing in a bespoke video conferencing system from a reputable company.

Integration with Other Video Conferencing Systems

Google’s Chromebox teleconferencing system can be integrated with existing video conferencing equipment and systems provided by other vendors. However, there will be a cost implication and companies will need to pay an extra monthly fee to use the extra facilities.

Worldwide Launch

The Google Chromebox for meetings teleconferencing system was launched in the United States in February, but will be rolled out across other countries over the next few months, so customers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan will soon be able to make good use of the system. Through its partners, including HP, Dell and Asus, further Chromebox teleconferencing devices are being launched. These are designed to appeal to the enterprise video conferencing sector.

Google is mostly known as a search engine behemoth with a lucrative sideline in advertising, but with the launch of the Chromebox video teleconferencing system it would appear that Google is trying to expand the enterprise arm of the business. But whatever the underlying motivation, it is clear that Google fully intends to make the most of any opportunities to supply products to the business market where possible. And if it can undercut Microsoft at any point, so much the better.

Factors To Look Out For When Looking For A Conference Venue

In order for any industry event to go as it was planned, it is vital that the best conference venue possible is chosen. A failure to do this would lead to those that attend having a bad time. This will have a negative impact on your business as the conference venue will automatically be associated with your company/brands.

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The best corporate business event will represent a perfect opportunity for individuals and companies to maintain and build up a good list of customers, clients and business contacts. Because of this, it is highly important for your business that a good venue is selected. A team of organizers that is completely dedicated will assist you a lot, especially when referring to management and structural time requirements.

The good news is that the internet helps us to choose. There are websites like Venue Search London that present the available conference venues so we can see what is available. However, choosing between the venues can be complicated. With this in mind, here are some factors that you have to take into account:

Location

The chosen location should be convenient. It has to be near suitable transport links. This is a key detrimental factor in the event that guests and speakers will find it tough to actually attend the event. Try to choose a venue based on who will participate and where they will be accommodated. Obviously, in the event you bring in people from out of town, you will be responsible to also arrange transportation. The ideal venue is the one that is properly connected and really easy to access. The conference venue is useless if it has all that it needs but is not properly located.

Service Quality

It is vital that absolutely all services offered are of a really high quality. This ranges from catering to the technology that is made available for the conference. Make sure that you are always going to be offered the service quality that will be the best, according to the budget that is currently available. It is normal to want to save money but if this means you sacrifice quality, it may be better to cancel the conference. Remember that everything that happens and what is offered will reflect on you as an organizer.

Financial Flexibility

It is obvious that your available budget will have a strong impact on what you choose but you should be aware of the fact that the best possible conference venues out there will always be flexible. They will offer flexible packages and you can negotiate prices base on what the venue offers and what you need. In some cases you will be allowed to bring something from the outside so that you can save money like bringing your own projector.

Allow yourself as much time as is necessary to make the best possible choice and find a conference venue that is 100% suitable for the event you are going to organize. This is a little tougher than it seems at first glance but it is not at all impossible. You can surely find something great if you have enough time to search.