December 21, 2017, 5:23 pm

Silver Is The New Gold When It Comes To Investing in Precious Metals

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investing Ideas

Silver is definitely the new gold when it comes to investing in precious metals. For much of human history, silver and gold have alternated as the currencies of choice. Gold has always been the more expensive older brother to silver while silver has been the precious metal of the common man. Silver is uniquely positioned to increase its value in the future at higher rates than gold.

Gold Isn’t the Safe Haven Anymore

Gold has traditionally been the safe haven currency. When times are bad, people would invest in gold to protect themselves from uncertainty. Like clockwork, gold prices would go up in times of crisis and go back down when things would return to normal. People knew that gold would keep its value. In fact, a common claim is that 1 ounce of gold will buy a decent men’s suit and has at any time in the last 200 years.
Things are changing. Gold is no longer the only safe haven currency. In many ways, this status is being supplanted by Bitcoin. China, a traditional devourer of gold, has embraced Bitcoin. The people have embraced it for all of what it offers and more. The additional benefits of anonymity and the ability to easily transfer it has made it quite popular. The Chinese government is not altogether happy about the rise of Bitcoin, but it is what it is.
It’s really difficult to foresee what will happen in the next economic crisis. We do know that more people will seek out car title loans completely online. We do know that more people will apply for public assistance. We do know that gold and silver will hold their value, but it’s not clear if gold will increase its value in response to the crisis.

Silver Is More Accessible

While gold is having its status as a safe haven supplanted, silver is also replacing it as a better precious metal investment vehicle. Gold is trading at very high prices. These prices have been stagnant for several years at a relatively high level. These high and stagnant prices mean that gold is not very accessible.

Silver is just more price accessible. People can make a small investment in silver at its current price level and still see a good return on their investment. On the other hand, that same small investment in gold would yield them a few grams of gold that is bought at a premium and sold at an inferior price. This results in a much lower potential return.

Silver Has Upside

Price accessibility shouldn’t be the only reason to make an investment. It just makes it easier. The real reason to invest in silver is that it has upside. There are three major factors behind this upside.

  1. It’s an industrial metal. It’s widely used in industry for a myriad of different processes and products. This creates a steady demand for the metal and a pricing support level. As supply decreases, the prices will rise due to its industrial demand.
  2. Silver is a jewelry metal. It has very nice aesthetic qualities. It’s beautiful and can be fashioned into a variety of jewelry.
  3. It’s a traditional currency. It’s been used as a coin for centuries all over the world. It has recognized value. Its coins have stood the test of time. People understand that silver represents money and there is a continual demand for silver coins.

It’s clear that silver should be the go-to precious metal for anyone looking to invest in precious metals going forward. Silver has the upside and the price accessibility to make it a champion.

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December 19, 2017, 10:56 am

Average Cost of a Funeral in the U.S.

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

We budget for a lot of things in life – kids, a home, college, retirement. There’s so much going on in the near future it’s easy to forget about events long, long down the road. Plus, most of those things aren’t the nicest to think about.

Sure, no one wants to think about funeral expenses, but that’s what we’re hinting at. Once we’re gone we don’t have to worry about the cost, but our family members will. Want to know how much they’ll have to spend to pay their final respects?

Let’s take a look at today’s funeral expenses.

Funeral Expenses

Like everything else in our global economy, funeral expenses keep steadily increasing. The overall expense if going to vary by location, but the average funeral costs is around $11,000 according to SavvySenior.org.

If you don’t have insurance for final expenses these are the funeral costs your family will have to cover.

Traditional Burial: Basic Services

  • Funeral planning
  • Notice preparation
  • Sheltering the remains
  • Cemetery arrangements
  • Permits and death certification preparation

Traditional Burial: Additional Services

  • Transportation
  • Embalming
  • Viewing fees
  • Ceremony/Memorial services
  • Casket
  • Graveside services
  • Grave liner

Cremation

More people are choosing to be cremated, partly because it’s about half the cost of a traditional funeral. However, a number of the basic funeral services/costs above will apply with a cremation. There will so be additional fees for the crematory services. Instead of a casket, family will have to purchase a vessel or container for the ashes.

Third Party Vendors

A funeral is a huge undertaking in a very short amount of time. Getting everything lined up requires the assistance of numerous professionals even for an intimate event with close family and friends. The funeral home coordinators will work with a number of third party vendor to get everything ready in a matter of days.

These third party vendors charge for their own services on top of the basic funeral expenses. They’ll either charge your family directly or charge the funeral director who will then add the expense to the funeral preparation fees.

Some of the most common third party funeral expenses include:

Floral arrangements – Traditional funerals feature numerous floral arrangements that are used during the memorial service and placed at the gravesite.

Casket – A traditional funeral with burial will require a casket. At an average cost of over $2,000, the casket is typically the single most expensive item. If you plan to do a cremation, you may need to rent a casket for the funeral services.

Obituary – If your family plans to put an obituary notice in the newspaper there will be a fee.

Officiating Clergy – Whoever presides over the funeral service will typically ask that a donation be made.

All funeral homes are required to provide an itemized expense statement that includes good faith estimates of third party fees. When you begin budgeting for funeral expenses use the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Costs and Pricing Checklist. It’s a great resource with information on average prices.

The Funeral Rule

As with many things in life, there are laws governing funerals. The FTC Funeral Rule provides guidelines that protect consumers and make funeral expenses more transparent.

The Funeral Rule was put into place to ensure that consumers are protected when they’re most vulnerable. The primary goal is to allow consumers to select the funeral services they want without overpaying for additional fees. As noted above, the Rule requires funeral homes provide itemized statements that make the expenses known. This helps you compare prices and decide which services you can do without.

Another regulation is that all service fees charged by funeral coordinators for third party services must be disclosed in writing. If the funeral director received discounts, rebates or refunds that must be disclosed too.

Keep in mind the Funeral Rule only applies to funeral homes. Cemeteries without an onsite funeral home and third party vendors do not have to adhere to the regulations.

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December 11, 2017, 11:08 am

How to Start a 7 Figure Online Retail Business Without any Cash

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

You’ve always wanted to be a successful businessperson. The only problem is, you simply can’t find the money you need for that first initial investment. If this sounds like you, then the good news is that you can now take advantage of the digital age to start your 7 figure retail business online without any investment cash what-so-ever.

Now that we’re fully in the online world, customers love shopping online. After all, it’s quick, it’s convenient, and it’s an easy way to save cash too! Here are just four steps you can follow to start your 7 figure online retail business without any money.

Step 1: Have a Good Plan

Whenever you consider starting a new business, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you have a solid strategy in place. All entrepreneurs begin with a business model to help them figure out whether or not they have what it takes to be successful in the marketplace. Your business plan should include everything from what you plan to sell, to who your target customer is going to be, and how you’re going to make a profit. Remember to consider your position in the market carefully too, by looking at the competition you’ll face when you enter your chosen niche. You can find  more detailed insights on how to build a solid business plan here:  http://www.7figurecycles.net/

Step 2: Choose the Right Products

While there are a lot of different things that can make or break the success of your online business model, it’s worth noting that few things are more important than your decision of which products you should be selling online. Ideally, you should not only know which product you’re going to sell, but how you’re going to keep production costs low, and profits high. Think about whether you’re going to simply stick to one product line, or expand into multiple different areas as your company starts to grow too!

Step 3: Build Your Ecommerce Website

Building your website might be the simplest part of running an online business. There are plenty of tools available to make this task easier for you, including Shopify, WordPress, and more. You’ll find that there are a range of solutions out there to choose from, so you should read reviews and testimonials to get a good idea of which options offer the most attractive features to your company. Remember, the ecommerce site you build should be mobile-friendly, easy to use, and fast to load if you want your customers to enjoy their experience with you.

Step 4: Start Selling

Once you’ve officially set up your online store, you’ll be able to start uploading product pictures and descriptions, so that you can sell online. Remember, you can’t just list your products and wait for people to turn up, you’re also going to need to have a promotion strategy in mind for how to get your products in front of the right customers. Ideally, you’ll need to use a combination of social media, SEO, paid advertising, and content marketing over the course of your business’s life. To get you started, stick to the free options like social media and blogging!

Bonus Tips

The truth is, building a successful 7 figure eCommerce business doesn’t have to be as challenging as it seems. Once you’ve got a handle on all the resources and information that’s already available and at your disposal, you’ll be able to continue building and enhancing your eCommerce strategy over the years, spending as little money as possible in the meantime. Remember to keep the following things in mind before you get started for the best chances of success:

  • Who is your target customer going to be, and what will the scale of your operations look like? You might choose to ship products locally, internationally, or nationally depending on your opportunities for handling and postage.
  • Get the right stock: If you’re going to be shipping physical goods to your customers, then you need to have the right supply of products on hand. You could always consider dropshipping as an alternative, where you work with a third party who sends products to your customers for you.
  • Know your unique selling points: Make sure that you know how you’re going to stand out from the competition. You might choose to focus on quality, product shipping times, or prices to begin with.

If you prepare yourself for success with the right information and resources, you should be able to easily keep up with the ever-changing nature of the eCommerce world. If not you can still find reliable information about how to build a 7 figure business here: the7figurecycle.net

 

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December 4, 2017, 8:32 am

Essential Factors To Consider When Choosing Workflow Automation Software

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

The adoption of technology in organizations is considered to have diverse positive impact. One of the significant benefits of technology in business is its ability to reduce costs while at the same time increasing efficiency.

One of these adopted technologies is in the area of automated payment where the purchasing card (p-card) is considered among the favorite options. Use of these electronic payments options has resulted in increased efficiency.

What you should consider

Careful thought needs to go into the decision to adopt software use in the organization. This is not a decision that should be rushed. Here are some of the important factors to consider so you can be sure the software you choose is beneficial to your organization.

Simplicity

How simple the software is, ought to be your number one factor before making any purchase. The reason why businesses adopt software in their operations is to reduce the complexity of work and ensure it is executed easily and effectively. As such, a software that is hard to use does not really serve its intended purpose. For example, what is the use of adopting electronic invoicing software that even the accounting officer finds difficult to use? Choose a workflow automation software that is simple enough such that all your team members can use it with ease.

Features

Different organizations have diverse needs in regards to workflow automation. For example, the AP automation software that your competitors have might differ with what would work best for your company. Always, it is important to consider what your organization needs and compare that with the available options. The best way to choose software is by being keen during its demonstration to capture its capabilities and establish whether it can execute all your needs.

Cross-compatibility

One mistake that most people make is to choose software that does not align with the already available hardware and other tools. It is important, first, to examine your available tools, hardware, as well as any existing systems so you can determine what your ideal workflow automation software should look like. If the new software is compatible with your other systems, the implication is that you will have an easy time switching platforms and this can be cheap and fast.

Pricing

After you have considered all the above factors, it is time to think about cost of the software. Weigh the software pricing with respect to your budget. Also examine whether the price of the software is one off, or you will be required to make monthly or yearly subscriptions. In most cases, workflow automation software are paid on a subscription basis.

Security

When looking out for any workflow software, security should be your number one factor.  For example, an electronic invoicing software ought to guarantee you the highest security since you will be performing sensitive transactions. Software that does not have security features can have adverse impacts on your organization such as being vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Fact is workflow automation software is an important aspect of any organization. The choice of your automation software can break or make your business. However, by considering the above factors, you can select the software that will serve you effectively.

 

 

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November 27, 2017, 2:34 pm

How Much Do You Pay for Your Health If You Don’t Have Insurance?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Insurance

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

The truth is, health insurance has become costlier. For some, paying premiums, copayments, and deductibles simply isn’t an option.

Which is why some people choose to go without health insurance. Still, the cost of care is expensive, with a trip to the emergency room being as much as four times that of rent.

Just how much do you pay when you aren’t covered? Can you cut down on costs even without coverage? Read on to find out.

Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash

 

The Cost of Care Without Coverage

According to John Hopkins, a 2015 study revealed that the average cost of a doctor’s appointment for a new uninsured patient came out to $160, more or less.

Of course, this dollar amount changed depending on the state the patient was seeking care in. In Pennsylvania, for instance, the cost was $32 less, with an appointment costing roughly $128. Doctor’s appointments in Oregon, meanwhile, were around the $188-dollar mark.

What can be said is that if you don’t have coverage, similar to other products and services, location matters.

Also, know that the study indicated that 6% of uninsured patients were turned down care because they did not have insurance. That said, those who don’t have the coverage may have fewer options.

(If you don’t have health insurance, it is important that you know ahead of time of doctors and health facilities that accept uninsured patients; that way, should you need to visit a doctor as soon as possible, you will know where to go.)

Photo by Crew on Unsplash

 

Health Insurance Options When You Don’t Have Coverage

As mentioned, health insurance is pricey. Because of this, coverage may not be an available option. If you find yourself in this situation, know that you do have options.

If you are 65 or older, consider looking into Medicare, a government-funded healthcare program geared towards American seniors.

If you aren’t a senior but are going through tough financial times, consider looking at Medicaid—another government-backed healthcare program aimed at providing coverage for low-income American citizens.

If these options do not work for you and you are between companies, you may still be able to stay on your previous employer’s health insurance. Research thoroughly to determine if this is an option for you.

Or, you could create your own emergency health savings, allotting a portion of your income to your health each month. That way, should a medical emergency take place, you have accessible funds to use.

Think of it like setting funds aside for a large appliance or trip. (Speaking of trips, check out From A to BC: 8 Reasons to Go North on an International Jet Charter.)

Please know that these are not your only options. Other options include being under your parent’s’ health insurance (if you are under 26), COBRA, and more.

 

Final Thoughts

Just because you do not have health insurance doesn’t mean you go without care. There are accredited and licensed doctors and health facilities that do accept uninsured patients.

While medical appointments, medication, etc. will be out of pocket, talk with your doctor and/or health facility to determine if a payment plan or discount is possible.

How much do you pay out of pocket for medical costs? What ways have you saved and reduced costs? Leave a comment.

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