Always Bet on Safe Real Estate Investment Rather Than Quick Investment

Financial planning and investment is all about finding out where to invest your money so that you can get the best possible returns. Real estate investment has always been considered as safe because seldom the demand for real estate witnesses a dip. Property investment is the safest and there are strong reasons as to why it is given priority than other forms of investments like mutual funds, bonds, stocks and ETF. You can literally grow your money through property investment with minimum risk.Investors skittish of stock market investments prefer to invest in the real estate market but there are many who have not yet got over the 2008 downturn. Scars of those days have not yet healed for many and they are not ready to invest just for the sake of property investment. They need strong and logical reason behind this investment; they prefer to wait it out rather than put in all their money hastily.If you take property investment decisions in haste, chances are high that you will end up with something in your portfolio that would fail to produce the desired ROI. In property investment, only four different routes prevail; however, here we are going to look at only two of the most popular ones.First: You can go ahead and invest in a rental propertySecond: You can buy shares in the REIT or real estate investment trustBuying the rental property is quite straightforward method wherein you buy a rental property and give it out on rent. However, this type of investment is not for everyone as many fail to juggle their professional lives and at the same time upkeep a property like a landlord. It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain the property you buy unless you are using the services of a management company. You can obviously use the services of a management company but be ready to take a cut in your profits.On the other hand if you invest in REIT, you don’t have to actually own a property on the ground and go into the landlord-mode. It operates just like a mutual fund and the only difference here is that it is property investment. The trust is a group of investors who make property investment and lets the individual investors buy its shares. The trusts are able to receive tax benefits as they pay a major chunk of their income to their shareholders. You can buy shares on public investments, which implies that your investment is quite liquid. You are ensured of regular dividends.Two other methods of property investment that are often used by investors include notes and croudfunding portals.Notes – You will be able to invest in second mortgages, paper notes etc. You can even sell or buy notes just like other real estate invest estates. The best thing is that there are no brokers involved in this.Crowdfunding Portals – Many people with similar investment interests can come together to fund real estate investments. This is a new form of investments and is being tried out by some.

How To Tell If Your Personal Finances Are Out Of Control

Struggling under a mountain of debt is no fun, but it is a way of life for many who do not keep their personal finances in balance. Some people ignore warning signs that they really need to regain control of their finances until it is too late. Here are some quick ways to tell if you are in danger of being buried by debt, along with some tips on how to take charge of your money problems.Have you ever taken a cash advance on one credit card in order to make the minimum monthly payment on another card? This means that your debt load is way too high, and you need to find a way to bring it down fast and restore order to your personal finances. Do whatever is required, whether it is taking a part time job or just limiting spending to bare essentials until your financial picture improves. Commit to paying off the cards with the highest interest rates first, if possible, and the ones with the lowest balances if it is not. Set a specific time limit, such as six months, to reach your goal, and follow through on your commitment to control your finances. And do not add any new charges unless it is literally a matter of life and death.Have you ever taken a cash advance on a credit card to make a bank deposit so that a check won’t bounce? This is similar to using one card to pay another, only worse. This means your finances are so out of control that it is critical you find a solution. Perhaps you have not been reconciling your checking account regularly. If not, start immediately. If returned checks are a problem, start using cash to pay for living expenses until you can regain control over your personal finances. Make all of your regular payments, and then take whatever is left in cash. Divide it up according to how long it has to last and place it in envelopes which are labeled with the purpose, such as lunches or groceries. Pay for purchases out of the appropriate envelope. Some people like this method so well that they continue to use it long after they have resolved any issues with their personal finances.Do you have to check the available balance on your credit card before you can go to the grocery store? Using credit cards for living expenses is fine for your personal finances if you want the convenience and can pay off the balance each month. However, many people who are struggling with their personal finances frequently charge things like groceries and gasoline, and then make only the minimum payments. This is one of the worst mistakes you can make when it comes to your personal finances. You are increasing your debt load for items that are long gone before you even receive your statement, much less pay the bill.Is it a struggle to just pay the minimum amounts due on your credit cards each month? This is creating a personal finance scenario where you will probably never be out of debt. Stop using your cards until you have reduced your balances and regained control over your personal finances, or find a way to earn extra income and dedicate those earnings to paying off your debt more quickly.Some of you may have found the personal finance scenarios described humorous. Sadly, these are actually circumstances that happen more often than many want to admit. As a nation, we have never been more deeply in debt nor maintained so little control of our personal finances. But the good news is that you can remedy your situation with your personal finances and debt. It won’t happen overnight, but if you are willing to work at it, you can regain control over your personal finances and eliminate your burden of debt.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?