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In today's fast-paced business landscape, every dollar saved counts. Corporate offices face constant pressure to optimize resources and maximize efficiency, but navigating the path can be complex. 

Streamlining operations, however, offers a powerful solution, unlocking hidden efficiencies that can boost your bottom line and empower your team.

This article discusses the five key strategies for streamlining your corporate office operations. These insights will help you achieve significant cost savings without compromising on your core values.

Automating Manual Tasks

Eliminating repetitive tasks can help businesses optimize their operations and redirect manpower to more strategic activities. The benefits of automation are manifold. Not only does it reduce labour costs, but it also improves accuracy and accelerates processing times. 

According to Forbes, automation presents a compelling opportunity for businesses of all sizes. Tasks such as invoicing, bookkeeping, and reporting are prime candidates for automation, offering significant cost and time savings.

Consider the example of accounts receivable management. Hiring a bookkeeper to handle this task manually can incur substantial costs. However, investing in bookkeeping software with invoicing and billing automation yields substantial savings. Software such as QuickBooks streamlines accounting processes, potentially resulting in a 50% reduction in expenses compared to manual labour.

Optimizing Space Utilization

Minimizing unused office space and associated overhead costs can help businesses achieve greater efficiency and flexibility in their operations. Strategies to optimize space utilization include implementing hot desking, flexible work arrangements, and utilizing space optimization software.

Hot desking, where employees are not assigned dedicated workstations but can use any available desk, has become increasingly common as a cost-saving measure. 

According to a survey by Morgan Stanley, about a third of office workers in the U.S. now have access to hot desks, with only half of office desks being regularly used. This shift allows employers to reduce their office footprint and realize savings on rent, utilities, and maintenance costs.

Furthermore, leveraging space optimization software can help businesses make informed decisions about space allocation and layout. By maximizing the efficient use of available space, companies can reduce expenses and build a more dynamic work environment, driving productivity and success.

Implementing a Visitor Management System 

In today's security-conscious world, implementing a visitor management system (VMS) offers a range of benefits. Firstly, it enhances security by providing a systematic approach to visitor registration and tracking, reducing the risk of unauthorized.

Additionally, the VMS's ability to track visitor movements and generate reports enhances compliance with security protocols and regulatory requirements.

Moreover, according to Greetly, the efficiency gains associated with a VMS are substantial. Features such as pre-registration capabilities and automated notifications streamline the visitor experience. This results in faster processing times and improved operational efficiency. 

These efficiency improvements translate into cost savings through reduced labour costs and minimized security risks. Furthermore, integrating the VMS with access control systems and pre-registering frequent visitors further enhances security measures while optimizing the visitor experience. 

Leveraging Data-Driven Decisions

In the information age, data reigns supreme, especially when it comes to optimizing your corporate office. Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) across departments and analyzing resource allocation will empower businesses to gain a deeper understanding of their operations. This, in turn, will facilitate the identification of areas for improvement and enable informed decision-making processes.

For example, analyzing data on employee productivity and customer satisfaction enables businesses to identify bottlenecks and optimize resource allocation.

Moreover, data-driven decision-making enables businesses to measure the impact of changes and initiatives, allowing for informed adjustments to operations. Whether it's implementing new technologies or reallocating budgetary resources, data-driven insights provide valuable guidance for decision-makers.

Furthermore, the ability to adapt and innovate based on data-driven insights positions corporate offices for long-term success.

Embracing Remote Work

Adopting remote work offers multifaceted benefits for corporate offices, including the potential to significantly reduce office space needs and lower overhead costs. 

Moreover, according to Gusto, tapping into global talent pools via remote work offers a strategic remedy for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). With 1.4 job openings for every unemployed individual in the U.S. as of July 2023, the scarcity of talent has spurred many employers to increase wages. 

Consequently, SMBs have looked to international employees to fill essential positions and control costs. A significant 86% of SMBs reported hiring internationally for cost management. Moreover, 58% cited a dearth of available U.S. employees as a key motivator for seeking talent globally.

However, successful implementation of remote work requires careful consideration of various factors. Businesses must establish effective remote work policies, provide necessary tools for remote employees, and maintain clear communication channels to ensure productivity and collaboration. 

In conclusion, from automating mundane tasks to harnessing the power of data, the journey to a streamlined corporate office isn't just about cost savings. It's about empowering your team, enhancing security, and creating a work environment that thrives on efficiency and innovation.

Remember, streamlining isn't a one-time event. It's a continuous process. Regularly evaluate your strategies, gather new data, and embrace evolving technologies to stay ahead of the curve. By choosing the right tools and cultivating a culture of continuous improvement, you can ensure your office remains a haven of efficiency.

So, take the first step today. Choose one strategy, implement it effectively, and measure the impact. You'll be surprised at how quickly streamlining can unleash the true potential of your office, empowering your team and boosting your bottom line.

As per reporting by the ONS (The Office for National Statistics) for the second quarter in a row, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the UK has declined, meaning that for Q3 & Q4, GDP in the UK shrank by 0.5%.

This was the mildest start to a recession since the 1970s, with the last five in the UK seeing the economy shrink by more than 1%, and in further promising news, forecasters believe this will only be a short-term recession.

What caused the recession?

The BoE (Bank of England) has set interest rates at 5.25% (the highest rate in 16 years) to combat inflation, which has indeed shrunk from the 11.1% high in October 2022 to 4% as of February 2024. And whilst this is promising news, it does mean that the cost of borrowing is high. Furthermore, the inflation rate is still double the BoE's targeted 2%, so interest rates are unlikely to fall until the summer of 2024 at the very earliest.

Why raise the rates?

Increasing the rates forces people to stop spending as freely as the interest on borrowing for products such as mortgages, credit cards, and personal loans is higher.

By raising the rates, disposable income is lower, and it encourages people to save instead of spend which impacts services such as retail and despite Christmas, December retail sales fell by 3.2%. ONS figures show that all major sectors - services (by 0.2%), production (1%) and construction (1.3%) contracted in the final three months of 2023. 

What does this mean?

The promising news is that it's thought to be a short-term recession and despite this recession at the back end of 2023, the economy did grow by 0.1% in 2023, while not inspiring, does mean that there is a platform for growth in 2024. 

Interest rates will likely come down this year, which should help ease the burden of the ongoing cost of living crisis. And lead to a stronger end of year for the UK. As these interest rates come down, and if inflation remains low, this should have a corresponding impact on growth for the UK as it will free up capital for investment.

Politically it could have a large impact on current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who pledged last year to halve inflation and grow the economy. Whilst the inflation rates coming down will be a sign of promise, the recession will come as a large blow to Mr Sunak & the Conservatives with an election looming.

 

Mark Hauser, Managing Partner at Hauser Private Equity and experienced financial expert, highlights three common financial mistakes and offers potential strategic resolutions.

Developing good financial habits generally doesn’t happen on its own. Building an effective money management toolkit often begins with education from parents or other adults. Substantial reading and research, and perhaps guidance from a qualified financial professional, can provide the foundation for a lifetime of good financial decisions.

Equally importantly, a good financial education should include guidance on what NOT to do. Toward this end, private equity principal Mark Hauser discusses three financial mistakes no one should allow themselves to make. He also offers recommendations to help resolve each issue and choose a different path in the future.

Neglecting to Sufficiently Fund a Retirement Plan

A well-structured (and well-funded) retirement plan can position an individual for a comfortable lifestyle in their golden years. Whether they want to travel, pursue a favourite hobby, or spend time with family and friends, they’ll ideally have sufficient financial resources on hand.

Private equity principal Mark Hauser emphasizes the importance of prioritizing retirement savings contributions. Some individuals authorize automatic payroll deposits into an employer’s 401(k) plan. Others maintain their own Individual Retirement Account (or IRA), making contributions on a predetermined schedule. Traditional and Roth IRAs each offer distinctive advantages.

Either strategy can help produce the desired results ─ with one important caveat. The individual must maintain their commitment to consistently grow their retirement account balance. Instead of spending the funds on a vacation, or splurging on something they want, the retirement account contribution should come first.

For perspective, financial experts recommend that workers regularly send 15 per cent of their income to a retirement account. If that’s not currently feasible, Mark Hauser advises that they begin with a budget-friendly number. Each year, the worker should increase it by one or two percentage points.

Two Benefits of Regular Retirement Savings

Consistent retirement savers reap two important financial benefits. First, these individuals will ideally begin saving for retirement shortly after they enter the workforce. As each person adds funds to their retirement account, compound interest will apply to an ever-larger balance.  

In addition, a regularly funded retirement account offers some protection against market volatility. Retirement plan contributions typically go into a 401(k) or IRA account, with the proceeds invested in the stock market.

By investing early and consistently, individuals will be better positioned to handle short-term stock market downturns. Younger investors may also be able to aggressively invest for potentially higher yields.

Effects of Retirement Account Disruptions

When individuals delay establishing their retirement account, they’ll accumulate less money even with compound interest. Workers who practice a “start and stop” funding strategy will likewise see reduced financial benefits. Perhaps most importantly, private equity expert Mark Hauser emphasizes that prematurely removing money from a retirement account can result in stiff financial penalties.

For perspective, the Internal Revenue Service (or IRS) notes that if an individual withdraws IRA funds before age 59½, that money will be treated as part of their gross income. In addition, they’ll receive a 10 per cent tax penalty for the withdrawal.

Limited exceptions apply, such as using IRA investments to cover a medical insurance premium following a job loss. However, few scenarios will qualify for an early retirement account withdrawal exemption.

Increasing Retirement Plan Contributions is Key

Once these retirement funds are depleted, cash-strapped individuals will find it difficult to fully replenish their account balances. To minimize the damage, private equity principal Mark Hauser recommends that workers increase their retirement account contributions to the maximum allowable amount.

Raiding a Targeted Emergency Fund

An adequate emergency fund can help prevent an unexpected event from becoming a financial disaster. In case of an accident, malfunctioning appliance, or car repair (among other events), an emergency fund can help pay for often-costly expenses. The individual or family can minimize (or perhaps avoid) resorting to credit card debt or savings account liquidation.

Private equity expert Mark Hauser emphasizes that an emergency fund should only be used for financial emergencies. The fund shouldn’t be used for groceries, everyday essentials, or shopping splurges. Likewise, the emergency fund shouldn’t function as a targeted savings plan or vacation account. Essentially, an emergency fund functions only as a much-needed safety net.

An emergency fund’s parameters will depend on the individual’s (or family’s) income, expenses, and number of dependents. A frugal family’s emergency fund will differ from one based on a higher-end lifestyle. Either way, Mark Hauser recommends that the fund include three to six months’ customary living expenses. Factors to be considered include an individual’s job stability and upcoming large expenses.

The emergency savings should be held in an easily accessible, interest-bearing account. A savings or money market account will both work. Equally importantly, the individual can withdraw the cash without worrying about penalties or taxes due. Private equity principal Mark Hauser warns against holding emergency fund dollars in vehicles that can fluctuate in value. Examples include stocks and mutual funds.  

Effects of Improper Emergency Fund Use

In an emergency, using the emergency fund dollars is entirely appropriate. However, multiple unrelated withdrawals could soon deplete the fund, possibly leaving little or no cash for an actual emergency. Then, the individual or family could conclude that credit card or loan funds would be their only recourse. Mark Hauser stresses that neither option is the right choice.

Strategies for Rebuilding the Emergency Fund

After an individual or family makes an emergency fund withdrawal, they should quickly begin to rebuild the account. Three strategies will help accomplish this goal.

Racking Up Excessive “Bad Debt” Obligations

The concept of debt may automatically conjure up visions of piled-up, unpaid bills, and high credit card balances. It’s true that “bad debt” can cause an individual to become financially overwhelmed. This unfortunate situation can often negatively impact other aspects of their lives.

In contrast, “good debt” can play a positive role in an individual’s current and future financial health. Private equity expert Mark Hauser highlights the difference between the three forms of debt.

“Good Debt” Defined

“Good debt” refers to debt with a low, fixed interest rate. In addition, the loan is designed to purchase an item that appreciates. To illustrate, a 3 per cent mortgage on a personal residence is “good debt.” The borrower can also deduct the mortgage interest from their taxes.

A low-interest loan for a growing small business would also qualify as “good debt.” Here, the loan interest is deductible from the business’ tax liability. However, the business owner cannot deduct the loan principal from their taxes.

“Bad Debt” Defined

“Bad debt” finances a purchase that won’t enhance an individual’s net worth or income potential. The purchased item may also depreciate over time. This debt typically carries a high-interest rate or a variable interest rate that could potentially increase. For perspective, this means the buyer will pay an often-exorbitant amount of money for an item that’s often worth less than its purchase price.

Credit card debt is “bad debt” personified. Many consumers prefer to pull out their credit cards rather than hand over cash for a purchase. Although perhaps less painful at the time, running up high-interest credit card debt can often set the stage for financial disaster.

To illustrate, some credit card annual percentage rates (or APRs) are over 20 per cent. With these cards often used to buy consumables, the purchaser has little to show for their financial indiscretion.

“Toxic Debt” Defined

However, Mark Hauser stresses that “toxic debt” is even worse. These payday loans and no-credit-check loans carry APRs that typically exceed 36 per cent. Over time, the borrower pays more than the item is worth. Loans requiring valuable collateral, such as an individual’s car, are another type of toxic debt.

Strategies for Eliminating “Bad Debt” or “Toxic Debt”

This “bad debt” will never magically disappear. However, private equity expert Mark Hauser recommends that borrowers adopt one of three strategies designed to get the debt under control. With this as a foundation, individuals can take steps to make more constructive financial decisions.

Adopt a Debt Reduction Plan

In some situations, reducing “bad debt” could be the best choice. Here, borrowers list their debts and their respective balances, interest rates, and minimum payments. Equipped with this information, individuals design a budget-friendly debt repayment plan. They often begin by focusing on credit cards, a common type of high-interest debt.

With the “snowball method,” the borrower applies extra funds to the smallest credit card balance. They make the minimum payments on other existing debts. When the smallest card is zeroed out, the borrower repeats the strategy with the next smallest balance. Alternatively, the borrower may first target the balances with the heftiest interest rates.

Implement a Debt Consolidation Plan

Borrowers with credit card debt (and other steep-interest revolving debt) may consider a debt consolidation loan. Here, the borrower obtains a new loan offering a lower interest rate and often a lower monthly payment. The borrower applies these funds to pay off their high-interest balances. Taking a similar tack, the borrower may consider refinancing term-based loans such as mortgages, student loans, and car loans.

Partner with a Credit Counselor

Some borrowers may feel so overwhelmed by debt they feel powerless to do anything. To move forward, private equity principal Mark Hauser suggests they consider a credit counselling agency.

A reputable, accredited credit counsellor will help their clients develop a plan for financial recovery. They should also offer financial education as part of their services. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Financial Counseling Association of America have resources available.

Consumers Should Exercise Their Due Diligence

As with other financial services providers, due diligence is key to finding the right credit counsellor or agency for an individual’s needs. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers tips on selecting this certified financial professional.

Finally, the agency explains how a credit counselling agency differs from a debt management (or debt relief) company. The two latter entities are for-profit businesses that often have a checkered consumer services track record. Private equity expert Mark Hauser strongly recommends that consumers thoroughly investigate these companies before deciding whether to partner with them.

Physical precious metals assets have a track record of offering performance and diversification benefits[1]. To help maximize their effect on your savings efforts[2], you may wish to take certain considerations into account.

For example, choosing to include precious metals in an individual retirement account (IRA) instead of purchasing them to keep at home may present some tax benefits. Gold coin and bullion contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, and taxes are generally deferred until you take distributions. If gold assets are held in a Roth IRA, contributions are made on a post-tax basis, which can essentially equate to tax-free withdrawals.

Only specific types of precious metal coins, rounds, and bars can be included in self-directed IRAs. Items must generally possess a particular purity level, per Internal Revenue Service regulations. With few exceptions, gold assets must have a fineness of at least 0.995, and silver items need to have a fineness level of 0.999 or greater.

To prepare to purchase physical precious metals assets, you’ll need to first set up a self-directed IRA (if you haven’t already). Self-directed IRAs are similar to traditional IRAs, but in addition to assets such as stocks and bonds, these accounts can include a wider variety of assets, including real estate, gold coins, and other eligible precious metals.

Establishing a self-directed IRA can be fairly easy, particularly if you have guidance from an organization like the U.S. Money Reserve. The company’s Account Executives are available to help walk portfolio holders through the application and purchasing process.

Portfolio holder Lisa F[3] ., in one of the U.S. Money Reserve reviews Google has published, says she wasn’t even sure who was managing her retirement fund from a previous employer when she reached out to U.S. Money Reserve. 

“They not only found the account but [were] able to get all of my funds transferred into my bank account,” she explains. “Then they helped me understand and [set] up my IRA. I feel very happy and confident with their assistance.”

Lawrence L., another portfolio holder who has worked with the U.S. Money Reserve, says he saw ads for the company’s services several times before calling.

“I'm glad I did,” he points out in one of the U.S. Money Reserve reviews on Google[4]. “Transferring my IRA was easy, and the company continued checking to make sure I was satisfied.”

Funding and Utilizing a Precious Metals–Backed IRA

Once your new self-directed IRA is set up, you can either fund it directly with money from a checking or savings account or ask a U.S. Money Reserve Account Executive to coordinate a rollover or transfer from another qualified account, such as a Roth, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA; 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), or pension plan; or Thrift Savings Plan.

To avoid incurring tax penalties when you move funds from an existing retirement account into a new self-directed IRA, you have two options: You can utilize a direct trustee-to-trustee rollover, where money is moved from your current IRA provider to your new precious metals IRA provider, or utilize a transfer, in which your current IRA account custodian mails a check directly to you. You won’t be subject to tax implications or fines if you deposit the money into your precious metals–backed IRA within 60 days.

Your U.S. Money Reserve Account Executive can then help you select an inventory of precious metals coins, bars, or rounds.

The coins Ron K. obtained through the company[5]  were, he says, “even better than described.”

“The price was amazing, and I would recommend U. S. Money Reserve to anyone,” he says in one of Google’s U.S. Money Reserve reviews.

You can’t immediately retain physical possession of gold purchased through your retirement account; the IRS requires precious metals assets that are part of a self-directed IRA to be kept at an IRS-approved depository. A U.S. Money Reserve Account Executive can also help arrange for your assets to be sent to a secure storage facility. 

Once the time comes to take distributions, however, you have the option to either liquidate some of your metals and take a cash distribution or have your gold coins or other physical precious metals securely shipped to your door as a distribution in kind.

Robert E., a portfolio holder who has worked with the company in the past, praises the assistance U.S. Money Reserve offered in one of the U.S. Money Reserve reviews posted on the Better Business Bureau website[6].

“Having someone watch over what is going on and helping me to diversify my portfolio is priceless,” he says. “The help I received in...setting up my precious metals [IRA] was handled well and makes me sleep comfortably knowing I was able to lock in my life savings.”

Could Precious Metals Have a Place in Your Savings Plans?

Consumers choose to include gold and other coins in their portfolios for a variety of reasons. Some[7]  are drawn to gold and other precious metals because of their established long-term protective and growth benefits, which can make physical precious metals assets favourable inclusions in a retirement account.

As a portable asset that is bought and sold around the world, gold is considered to be relatively liquid because it can quickly and easily be exchanged for other forms of currency.

Portfolio holders who purchase items through U.S. Money Reserve can take advantage of the company’s buyback commitment, which allows customers to return qualifying certified coin purchases within 30 days or potentially sell them back to U.S. Money Reserve at a later date. 

When a personal matter put Richard F. in a position of hardship after acquiring coins from the company, he was pleased that he was able to leverage his recent precious metals purchase, according to one of the U.S. Money Reserve reviews posted on Google.

“I reached out, and after a little back and forth, [my Account Executive] resolved the issue of returning my purchase,” he says. “I wish every company had a problem solver like [him]. We’d be so much better off in this country if there were.”

U.S. Money Reserve offers a wide variety of resources for portfolio holders who currently own precious metals assets or are considering purchasing some, ranging from market-related news alerts, reports, and precious metals price charts — which are available on its website — to a team of experienced Account Executives who are available to answer questions about precious metals purchases.

For more information about establishing and funding a self-directed precious–metals-backed IRA, call 1-888-356-7074.

For many, the memory of it is still fresh. Less widely known is the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, a financial catastrophe that led to the collapse of over 1,000 S&L institutions. Yet Ben Miller, CEO of Fundrise, America’s largest direct-to-investor alternative asset manager, sees the S&L crisis as “the big bang of finance.”

The S&L crisis marked the point at which the modern banking landscape began to take its current shape, Miller said. And like the Big Bang, its ripple effects are still measurable today.

In a recent wide-ranging podcast interview, Miller delved into the S&L crisis, including the regulatory missteps made before and in response to the crisis, as well as the lessons it holds for today's financial markets. 

“I think there's three epochs of finance in American history. There's pre-[Great] Depression, there's the Depression to the 1980s, and there's the 1980s to now, and the S&L crisis is the turning point,” said Miller. 

“It's the origin. It birthed modern real estate, and I think it birthed modern banking.”

What Is a Savings and Loan?

To understand the S&L crisis, it’s key to understand its history as a centrepiece of American finance in the mid-20th century. On Fundrise’s “Onward podcast, Miller and co-host Cardiff Garcia dove deep into the history of the concept. 

They explained that S&Ls, also known as thrifts, were created as financial institutions primarily focused on taking deposits and providing home mortgages. Unlike banks, they were not diversified and did not offer other types of loans. They were mutual organizations, meaning they were owned by the depositors, not shareholders. This made them inherently conservative and focused on serving local communities. 

Fans of actor Jimmy Stewart will recognize the concept of an S&L from his character’s Bailey Bros. Building & Loan in It’s a Wonderful Life.

“The important thing to note is that they were very simple,” said Garcia. “You put your money into this thing like a deposit. It was lent out to somebody to finance a home and then it would get paid back.” 

While a simple idea, the S&L was a revolutionary step in finance in that it enabled average Americans to realize the goal of home ownership.

The Anatomy of a Crisis

However, S&Ls were ripe for crisis, particularly in an environment of rising interest rates and regulatory missteps. 

Regulation Q, established by Congress in 1933 to prohibit banks from paying interest on checking accounts, was amended in 1966 to cap the interest rates that S&Ls could pay to their depositors. It still allowed a high enough rate to be a preferable option to traditional banks. This was designed to protect S&Ls and make them more attractive for savers. 

Miller explained that S&Ls were able to give depositors a savings rate that was 50 basis points, or about 0.5%, higher than those given by banks. “So, essentially you're going to put your money with the S&Ls because you're going to get paid more to do that," he said. 

But this change to Regulation Q, initially intended to protect S&Ls, became a double-edged sword. It capped the interest rates S&Ls could offer depositors, so when inflation and interest rates soared in the 1970s, S&Ls found themselves in a precarious position. They were receiving lower interest on the long-term mortgages they had issued, and they were no longer an attractive option for depositors because the rates they could offer were capped. 

This interest rate mismatch meant the S&Ls were taking in fewer deposits, while the value of their previously issued mortgages, locked in at lower rates, plummeted. 

Moreover, S&Ls began to engage in riskier investments, including speculative real estate ventures, to compensate for their dwindling profits. As these risky investments began to fail, public confidence in S&Ls waned, leading to runs on deposits and setting the stage for the crisis that would unfold in the 1980s. 

While S&Ls still exist, the crisis toppled them from their standing as the primary source of home loans in America, leaving a gap in the real estate market out of which would emerge first larger, diversified lenders and now startup fintech companies like Fundrise. 

Fundrise and the Evolution of Real Estate Investment 

Miller described the S&L crisis as the "birth of the modern banking sector," with the emergence of national banks and diversified lending portfolios. It also created the modern real estate market landscape. 

"Out of this period is a rebirth, this phoenix, and everything we take for granted as normal in real estate.”

The crisis led to a vacuum in the real estate financing sector. Traditional sources of funding were either insolvent or too cautious to lend, paving the way for the rise of real estate private equity. These firms stepped in to provide much-needed capital, often targeting distressed assets that could be acquired at a discount. The private equity model allowed for more flexible and strategic investment, often involving the renovation and repositioning of assets to generate higher returns.

More importantly for Miller and Fundrise, the crisis led to the emergence of public real estate investment trusts. Before the crisis, real estate investment was largely the domain of wealthy individuals and institutional investors. The emergence of public REITs helped democratize access to real estate investment by allowing individuals to buy shares in large real estate portfolios, much like buying stocks. This opened up new avenues for investors to participate in the real estate market.

With Fundrise, Miller initially sought to build on the REIT model by combining it with fintech software to improve accessibility. The company has since branched into using its technology for other investments, including private credit. Miller believes regulatory mistakes facilitated and exacerbated the S&L crisis and other financial crises, and this is a reason to pursue a more direct-access model of finance facilitated by fintech. 

“It's the government backstop that's the problem, and 10 years from now when people forget about how bank deregulation is a problem and we have another blowup, which has pretty much always happened in the history of finance, you might see that technology has made intermediation of finance better than using an old fashioned bank.”

Managing Debt for better mental health

In today's fast-paced society, financial stress has become one of the leading contributors to mental health issues. The debt burden can weigh heavily on individuals, causing anxiety, depression, and even addiction. However, by taking proactive steps to reduce debt and improve financial health, it is possible to alleviate the mental toll that debt can have.

Proactive Steps to Reduce Debt and Improve Mental Health

Dealing with debt can be overwhelming and stressful, but taking proactive steps to manage it can not only improve your financial situation but also have a positive impact on your mental health. Here are some additional strategies and insights to help you on your journey toward debt reduction:

  1. Prioritize your debts strategically:

While it's important to pay off all your debts, it can be beneficial to prioritize them strategically. Consider focusing on high-interest debts first, as they tend to accumulate more quickly. By tackling these debts first, you can save money on interest payments in the long run. However, it's also essential to maintain minimum payments on all your debts to avoid penalties and late fees.

  1. Explore debt snowball or avalanche methods:

The debt snowball method involves paying off your smallest debts first, regardless of interest rates. This approach can provide a sense of accomplishment and motivation as you eliminate smaller balances one by one. On the other hand, the debt avalanche method focuses on paying off debts with the highest interest rates first, potentially saving you more money in the long term. Consider which method aligns better with your financial goals and personality.

  1. Seek professional advice:

Managing debt can be complex, and seeking professional advice can make a significant difference. A financial advisor or credit counsellor can help you develop a personalized debt repayment plan based on your unique circumstances. They can provide insights into budgeting, negotiating with creditors, and exploring debt consolidation options.

  1. Implement lifestyle changes:

Reducing debt often requires making lifestyle changes and adjusting your spending habits. Take a closer look at your monthly expenses and identify areas where you can cut back. This might mean reducing discretionary spending, finding more affordable alternatives for everyday items, or even downsizing your living arrangements temporarily. While these adjustments may be challenging in the short term, they can have a substantial impact on your debt repayment efforts.

  1. Build an emergency fund:

Unexpected expenses can derail your debt repayment progress. By setting aside some money each month into an emergency fund, you can create a financial safety net. This fund can help cover unforeseen costs, such as medical bills or car repairs, without resorting to credit cards or taking on more debt.

  1. Celebrate milestones along the way:

Reducing debt is a long-term journey, and it's essential to celebrate your achievements along the way. Set milestones for yourself, such as paying off a specific debt or reaching a certain amount of debt reduction. Rewarding yourself for reaching these milestones can provide motivation and reinforce positive financial habits.

Remember, managing debt takes time, patience, and perseverance. By implementing these strategies and staying committed to your financial goals, you can reduce your debt and improve your mental well-being in the process.

How to Create a Budget to Help Manage Your Debt

Creating a budget is one of the most critical steps towards managing debt effectively. A budget allows you to track your income and expenses accurately, giving you a clear understanding of where your money is going. When creating a budget to help manage your debt, consider the following:

 

Start by listing all your sources of income, including your salary, investments, or side hustles. Determine the total amount you earn each month.

 

When listing your sources of income, it's important to consider all possible avenues. This may include not only your primary job but also any additional income streams, such as rental properties or freelance work. By including all sources of income, you'll have a comprehensive view of your financial situation, allowing for more accurate budgeting.

 

Next, identify your fixed expenses – these are expenses that recur every month and remain relatively constant, such as rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, and insurance premiums.

 

Fixed expenses are the backbone of your budget. They are the regular payments you make each month that are necessary for maintaining your lifestyle. It's important to carefully consider these expenses and ensure they are accurately reflected in your budget. By doing so, you'll have a clear understanding of the minimum amount you need to cover each month.

 

Take into account your variable expenses – these are expenses that may fluctuate from month to month, such as groceries, transportation, entertainment, and dining out. Be sure to allocate a realistic amount for each category.

 

Variable expenses can be more challenging to budget for since they can vary from month to month. It's important to review your spending habits from previous months to get an idea of how much you typically spend in each category. By allocating a realistic amount for variable expenses, you'll have a better chance of sticking to your budget and avoiding unnecessary debt.

 

With a clear understanding of your income and expenses, calculate how much you can afford to allocate towards debt repayment. Prioritize this amount in your budget and make it a non-negotiable expense.

 

Debt repayment should be a top priority when creating a budget to manage your debt effectively. By allocating a specific amount towards debt repayment and making it a non-negotiable expense, you'll ensure that you're actively working towards reducing your debt. It's important to be realistic in your calculations and avoid overcommitting yourself, as this could lead to financial strain.

 

Track your spending diligently and make adjustments as necessary. Be mindful of any unnecessary expenses that can be eliminated or reduced to free up additional funds for debt repayment.

 

Tracking your spending is an ongoing process that requires discipline and awareness. It's important to regularly review your budget and make adjustments as necessary. By being mindful of unnecessary expenses, you can identify areas where you can cut back and allocate more funds towards debt repayment. Small changes can have a significant impact on your overall financial health.

 

Creating a budget may initially seem daunting, but it is an essential tool in managing debt effectively. By tracking your expenses and prioritizing debt repayment, you will be taking positive steps toward better financial health and improved mental well-being.

The Impact of Poor Money Management on Mental Health

Poor money management can have a significant impact on mental health. The stress of living paycheck to paycheck, being overwhelmed by debt, or constantly worrying about financial stability can lead to various mental health issues.

One of the primary consequences of poor money management is increased stress. Constantly worrying about money can lead to anxiety, sleep disturbances, and even panic attacks. Financial stress can also strain relationships, as it often leads to arguments and tension between partners or family members.

Moreover, the impact of poor money management goes beyond just the immediate stress. It can have long-term effects on an individual's mental well-being. For instance, the constant struggle to make ends meet and the inability to save for the future can create a sense of hopelessness and despair. This feeling of helplessness can contribute to the development or worsening of conditions like depression and chronic anxiety.

Additionally, poor money management can contribute to feelings of guilt and shame. Individuals may feel inadequate or irresponsible for their financial situation, resulting in low self-esteem and a negative self-image. These emotions can further exacerbate mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Furthermore, poor money management often leads to a lack of financial security, making individuals vulnerable to unexpected emergencies or financial crises. The fear of not being able to cover essential expenses or facing insurmountable debt can be overwhelming, leading to feelings of hopelessness and despair.

It is important to recognize the impact that poor money management can have on mental health and take steps to mitigate these effects. By actively working towards improving financial literacy, seeking professional advice, and taking control of your finances, you can improve both your financial well-being and mental health.

Improving financial literacy is a crucial step in managing money effectively. Understanding concepts such as budgeting, saving, and investing can empower individuals to make informed financial decisions. By educating oneself about personal finance, individuals can gain the confidence needed to take control of their financial situation.

Seeking professional advice can also be beneficial for those struggling with poor money management. Financial advisors or credit counsellors can provide guidance on budgeting, debt management, and creating a financial plan. These professionals can help individuals develop strategies to improve their financial situation and reduce the stress associated with money management.

Furthermore, taking control of your finances involves developing healthy financial habits. This can include setting realistic financial goals, tracking expenses, and creating a budget. By implementing these habits, individuals can gain a sense of control over their financial situation and reduce the anxiety and stress associated with poor money management.

In conclusion, poor money management can have a profound impact on mental health. The stress, guilt, and insecurity that come with financial instability can lead to a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and even panic attacks. It is crucial to recognize the importance of financial well-being and take proactive steps to improve money management skills. By educating oneself, seeking professional advice, and developing healthy financial habits, individuals can enhance both their financial situation and mental well-being.

The Benefits of Good Financial Health for Your Mental Health

On the other hand, striving for good financial health can have significant positive effects on mental well-being. When individuals feel in control of their finances and have a solid understanding of their financial situation, they experience reduced stress and improved psychological well-being.

One of the primary benefits of good financial health is increased peace of mind. Knowing that you have an emergency fund in place, are saving for the future, and are actively managing your debt provides a sense of security and stability. This certainty helps reduce anxiety and allows individuals to focus on other aspects of their lives.

Good financial health also promotes a sense of empowerment and self-confidence. Taking control of your finances and achieving financial goals fosters a positive self-image and a belief in your ability to overcome challenges. This increased self-esteem positively impacts overall mental well-being and contributes to a higher quality of life.

Beyond the individual, good financial health can also improve relationships and social connections. Money is often a source of conflict within partnerships and families. By managing finances together, openly communicating about money matters, and working towards shared financial goals, relationships can be strengthened and trust can be cultivated.

The benefits of good financial health extend beyond mental well-being. Being financially stable allows for greater freedom and flexibility in career choices, lifestyle decisions, and the ability to pursue personal passions and interests. This overall sense of fulfilment and happiness further enhances mental health and overall life satisfaction.

In conclusion,

managing debt effectively is crucial for maintaining good mental health. By taking proactive steps to reduce debt and creating a budget to manage finances, individuals can alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with financial burdens. The impact of poor money management on mental health is substantial, but by striving for good financial health, individuals can experience improved mental well-being and a higher quality of life. Don't let debt control your life – take control of your finances and prioritize your mental health.

Track your spending to improve your finances

If you want to get your finances under control, the first step is to be aware of how much money you're spending. MoneyTrack is a great app that can help with this, by letting you track all of your expenses in one place.

Once you know where your money is going, you can start to make changes to save. One easy way to do this is to cut back on unnecessary expenses, like that latte daily or those new shoes you don't need.

Create a realistic monthly budget

Creating a budget that works with your lifestyle and spending habits is essential to effective personal finance management. You'll need to track your income and expenses regularly to ensure you're sticking to your budget, and make adjustments as needed. Here are a few tips to get started:

Build up your savings—even if it takes time

Making regular contributions to a savings account is one of the smartest things you can do for your financial security. It may not provide an immediate payoff, but if you ever lose your job or experience another financial hardship, you'll be glad you have that money saved up. And if you don't need it, you can always use it to get ahead financially.

Pay your bills on time every month

There are a few other things you can do to make sure your bills get paid on time. Automatic payments can be set up through your bank, so your payments are automatically deducted from your account each month. You can also sign up for email or text reminders to ensure you don't forget to pay your bills.

Cut back on recurring charges

One of the best ways to get your personal finances in order is to cut back on recurring charges. This could include things like cable TV, Netflix, Spotify, or even gym memberships.

If you're not using a service anymore, or if you can get by without it, cancel it. You'll be surprised at how much money you can save by getting rid of things you don't need.

Another way to get your finances in order is to make a budget and stick to it. Figure out how much money you need to live each month, and then make sure you don't spend more than that.

Save up cash to afford big purchases

Certain kinds of loans and debt can be helpful when making major purchases, such as a house or even a car that you need right now. For instance, getting a home equity loan can let you borrow against the equity in your home, which can be a great way to get cash for a down payment on a new house.

Similarly, if you get a car loan, you may be able to get a lower interest rate than if you were to finance the car with a credit card.

Start an investment strategy

Investing may seem like a complex and intimidating process, but it doesn't have to be. If you're just starting out, it's important to keep things simple and begin with a basic investment strategy. You can always add more complexity as you become more comfortable with investing.

There are many different types of investment accounts, but the most common are individual retirement accounts (IRAs)s. An IRA is a personal savings account that allows you to invest in a variety of different stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Bottom line

If you're looking to get a quick loan to help manage your personal finances, check out our website. We offer a variety of loans to suit your needs, and we're here to help you get the money you need. Apply today and get started on improving your financial situation.

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Getting your finances in order

The first stage involves understanding exactly what your incomings and outgoings are each and every month. Equipping yourself with this knowledge will make it easier to plan, budget and take control of your money. 

Make sure you take into account bills, rent or mortgage payments, food shopping and travel costs. You’ll also need to consider any loans you might have, including online loans and credit cards, so you can develop an effective budget plan. 

This will help you see where you spend most of your money and can even flag any frivolous spending that can be easily cut back on. If you find that your outgoings outweigh your incomings, you’ll need to work out a plan to reduce your spending. Simple suggestions include walking instead of taking the car, where possible, taking your lunch to work instead of buying from the café, or reducing your nights out. 

Set up a budget

Once you know your total income after essential outgoings and expenditures, you’ll be able to create a budget. Allow yourself a set amount to spend on non-essentials or luxuries such as eating out once a month, a night at the cinema or an occasional treat. Not factoring this spending into your budget is unrealistic but setting yourself a reasonable and affordable limit will help you stay on track. 

It’s important to consider any big events in your budget such as Christmas, weddings, birthdays or holidays. Planning ahead will help you save and limit any unexpected costs. If you use credit or debit cards for most of your spending, you might find it useful to make note of your transactions throughout the month, so you know how well you’re sticking to your budget. 

Start saving

It’s not easy to save money, especially with high food costs and the increase in bills. However, putting even a small amount away each month will contribute to positive financial health in the long term. 

Start small and set a realistic goal so you don’t become disheartened. Once you’ve paid off any outstanding debts or loans, you can increase your savings amount each month. 

Managing your finances can be stressful, particularly if you’re struggling to keep up with payments or afford everyday essentials. If you’re feeling like you’re not in control of your money, it’s important to seek advice from your bank or from a specialist charity such as Citizens Advice

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However, it is simpler than you might think when it is broken down into smaller steps. Here are some tips that can help you secure your future by managing your personal finances. For more detail about useful resources, there are financial experts who can assist you with this.

1. Understand Your Credit Score

Firstly, one of the most crucial parts of planning your personal finances is understanding the role that your credit score plays. Banks and money lending institutions typically use someone’s credit score to see how likely they are to repay a particular loan before approving their application. 

A higher score indicates that someone is more likely to repay the loan in full within the prescribed time. Because of this, it is worth knowing the ways that you can improve your credit score. This is typically done by paying off your regular bills such as rent and utilities on time. 

Whether that occurs at the start of the month or the end, make sure that you are setting reminders to pay your bills when they are due. This allows you to avoid any outstanding debts that can lead to a poor credit score over time. 

2. Set A Realistic Budget

Similarly, setting a realistic budget is a useful way of keeping track of your spending and figuring out how to save a little money for the future. Many people try to set a strict budget that is difficult to follow, but the best way to secure your future through financial planning is to make gradual changes over time. 

This way, you can create a habit of saving without stressing over meeting certain goals immediately. Consider brainstorming what items you spend money on during a typical month, then decide if each is a want or a need. 

Impulsive purchases can be challenged in this way, and it can also allow you to find more affordable utility providers if the majority of your income is being spent on bills. It could also be worth cancelling certain payments that you don’t use, like a subscription service or gym membership, if you don’t use it. 

Once you have taken a look at all of your options, you can use budgeting resources to assign your regular income to certain items. This allows you to see how much money you will have leftover and holds you accountable to stick to your budget. 

3. Establish Saving Goals

After setting a budget for yourself with realistic allocations of money, it is important to think about your savings. You should try to set aside small amounts to put towards your savings each month if possible. There are a range of different savings accounts available with most banks, and it is worth looking into the different options. 

Setting savings goals for yourself can allow you to keep track of your savings, and consider the end goal. For some, this could be a deposit on their dream home. While others may prefer to keep their savings for emergencies. 

Consider thinking about what is essential to you, and what type of thing you want to start saving for. This can be a great way to encourage better financial habits over time, by working towards your savings goals. 

4. Prioritise

Another thing to keep in mind when you are changing your relationship with money is that you should prioritise. This means putting your long-term financial goals to one side if you are struggling to make ends meet each month. There is no point in putting yourself into debt if it can be avoided, and you should make sure that you can afford your current lifestyle. 

During the budgeting process, something to consider is what is important to you. This should be prioritised if possible, or it could be used to motivate your savings habits. Avoid impulsive purchases by reminding yourself what you are working towards, and your financial goals for the future. 

5. Pay Off Debt

One of the biggest contributors to poor credit scores is outstanding debt. This is because so many people find themselves unable to pay their regular bills and the instalments on an outstanding loan. Consider prioritising your debt repayments if possible, and start working towards a healthier credit score over time. Debt consolidation loans are great for someone who has multiple debts that need to be paid. 

This is because they typically pay off the amount needed for each loan repayment, and help simplify the process by being a single repayment that you need to budget for, rather than multiple. If it is possible, try to pay off any outstanding debt in order to stop your credit score from getting worse over time. 

6. Consider Insurance

Additionally, it could be worth getting insurance for your assets in order to protect yourself and your loved ones. Make sure you are insuring all of your property where possible in order to avoid significant fees in the future. Home insurance helps by providing access to repair fees when needed. For example, if your home gets severely damaged in a storm, and you need to replace the roof urgently. Insurance can help cover some of the fees required, which will prevent you from falling into debt in the long run. 

Summary

When it comes to changing your financial habits, it can be hard to know where to start. Because of this, budgeting and understanding the role that your credit score plays can allow you to create more sustainable habits in the future. 

Consider taking a closer look at your current spending habits, and identify certain items that you can save money on. It is also worth making use of online resources to find the right budgeting tool for you. Saving for the future can allow you to feel closer to your financial goals, like a vacation or wedding.

While this is the norm, the earlier you can start thinking about making a retirement plan, the better off you will be when the time comes to hang up your hat.

Seniors are living longer and longer every year and this can mean that your traditional savings plan may need to be amended. Instead of saving to have a steady income for a decade or so, you now may need to find a way to pay your expenses for a quarter-century or more.  With the right advice from a financial planner, they can help you make decisions about your savings, retirement rollover, and your potential retirement income. Let’s take a closer look at a few reasons why  retirement planning is crucial for your future. 

1. Rising Life Expectancy

In 1990, the average life expectancy was only 75. If you retired at 65, you only had to find a way to pay your expenses for a decade or a bit more. For most workers, that was a manageable amount. In today’s world of sophisticated technology and medical advances, the average lifespan tops out at 82 and is expected to rise. Retirees can now enjoy up to 20 to 30 years of their golden years after they stop working. Being able to live comfortably for a quarter of a century with only your retirement savings may seem like a challenge. Making a retirement savings plan now will help you to grow your investment and have the money you need after you retire. 

2. Less Stress

One of the most common causes of stress-related illnesses is money troubles. When you are constantly worrying about how you will take care of yourself, your spouse, and your home when you retire, you can experience high levels of stress. When you work with a financial advisor to come up with a logical retirement plan, you can relax in the knowledge that your needs will be met in the future. You will be able to kick back and enjoy your golden years if you start your retirement planning now.

3. Financial Obstacles

If the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, there are never any guarantees when it comes to the economy. If you don’t have a solid retirement plan now, there is no way to be sure that you won’t face financial obstacles in the future that could affect your savings. When you construct a reliable retirement plan, you can be assured that you will have the funds you need for retirement regardless of the economic state. 

4. Independence

No one wants to feel like they are a burden. Many seniors are concerned that they will end up relying on their children and other family members without the right retirement plan when they stop working. When you make a solid retirement plan, you will be able to maintain your independence and enjoy your time with your family without having to feel like a burden

Conclusion

Retirement planning should be a priority for everyone that is currently working. The earlier you can start saving for your golden years, the more time you will have to enjoy the time you have spent a lifetime working towards. 

1. Map Out Your Goals

Think about your financial goals, now and in five-year increments. Maybe you want to travel for three months. Or, maybe you want to start a family or buy a new home. Once you write down your goals, you need to prioritise them according to importance. Decide which one of your wants is easiest to achieve and which will take longer. The ones you put at the top of the list are the most important.

If buying a new home in a year is your number one goal, you will need to make a down payment. You could dip into your savings, or you could look into getting a life settlement. A life settlement is when you sell your policy to a third-party buyer. In turn, you receive a portion of the total cash value. The third-party then becomes the owner of the policy. If you’re not sure how the process works, there are guides that go over the best life insurance settlement companies so you can find a reputable company that fits your needs.

2. Put Your Plan In Motion

Once you flesh out your plan, you need to put it in motion. You need to set realistic milestones for each goal and then create a strategy to surpass them. If you’re trying to pay off a high-interest credit card, where can you cut corners in other areas? If you work out at the gym, you could start exercising at home. On average, you could be saving up to $50 dollars a month just by getting in shape at home. You could then put that money onto your credit card to lower the interest rate and pay off the balance. There are plenty of other ways to save money, which include bundling your insurances, shopping for off brands and clipping coupons. You can also buy gently used clothing instead of new clothing. Now, you can buy high-end clothing and accessories for a fraction of the cost online.

3. Create A Budget

Everyone says they have a budget, but how many people actually stick to it? Look at your finances and see which areas you’re having the most trouble with. Create a new budget, which aligns with your goals, and think of strategic ways to stick with it. Note, your budget doesn’t need to be so strict that you can’t have any spending money. You can set up automatic money transfers from your checking account into your savings. That way, you won’t be tempted to overspend. You can also set up your savings account so there’s a limit on how many withdrawals you can make within a month.

4. Reward Yourself

Once you reach your goals, don’t forget to reward yourself. It’s easy to get so caught up in saving that you might forget to treat yourself.

Taking time out to reflect on your money and how much things like housing costs will affect your future is crucial. So take time to read the following, and decide for yourself if hiring a financial planner is the right choice for you.

What Is A Financial Planner?

Financial planners are specialists who provide financial advice to their clients. They can help you with budgeting, savings goals, investing and finding the best way to accomplish those things through life's changes: marriage, divorce, children, and so on. Most of them work as employees of a bank or a firm. 

Regardless of where they work or what services they offer, financial planners all have one thing in common. They provide advice and guidance so clients can reach their highest potential when it comes to money matters. If you need some help in setting and reaching your financial goals, always seek the help of expert financial planners. These people know the ins and outs of the business. It would be the best choice you have if you want help not just with your goals, but your financial problems as well. 

Why Should I Hire A Financial Planner?

It is essential to have a professional help you manage your money so you can grow it. You might not realise that high fees or sub-par investments are draining your savings. But having an expert act as your eyes and ears will keep that from happening.

You might not even know your financial situation well, but a planner does. And they will find ways to make it work for you. They can offer advice on everything from taxes to investments. They will also help you set up plans that are specific to your needs and goals. For sure, hiring a financial planner is not an easy decision. However, you will be glad that you did when your money and investments are better-taken care of. You deserve to have the best, and that is what a planner can do for you.

Benefits Of Hiring Financial Planners

There are countless benefits to hiring a financial planner. In fact, some benefits are so great that you might wonder why someone wouldn't want to hire one in the first place. With a financial planner, you can:

How Do I Find The Right Financial Planner For My Needs?

When hiring a financial planner, try to find one who charges a flat fee for advice. That lowers the risk that he or she will push investments that offer higher commissions instead of recommending ones you need.

If you're charged by the hour, it's okay if your advisor takes more time than expected to help you research investments because you only pay for the advice given. While, if you choose someone at a bank where you already have an account, your chances of being satisfied are even higher. 

You can even get to know the person and judge whether you have a good rapport with him or her. And if you want to, you can also ask for referrals from someone you know since a trusted referral is another effective way to find a company you can work with.

How Much Will It Cost Me?

It's important to understand that you will pay for the advice and guidance of a financial planner, whether by hiring them or paying an annual fee. Some planners charge hourly fees, while others use a flat fee, so it's important to know what you're getting before committing. Generally, you'll pay more for the help of a financial planner if they're not affiliated with your bank. They'll likely charge you around $100 an hour, but you'd be surprised at their ability to provide insights when it comes to your money situation.

Conclusion

It's not easy to find the right professional to assist you with your finances. But if you do thorough research and keep a long-term perspective in mind, a financial planner can provide tremendous value that will help ensure your finances are always on track. 

About Finance Monthly

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