Friday, April 19, 2019

Do I Need Life Insurance to Buy a Home?

Do I Need Life Insurance to Buy a Home?

life insurance

The seemingly endless list of considerations to make when buying a home can make it a daunting experience. With the average price of a house across the U.S. sitting in the $200,000 range, the cost alone can be tough to stomach. Standard mortgages require a down payment of around 20%. That’s $40,000 for a $200,000 property.

Granted, there are a number of programs that can lower this number, but when additional expenses such as legal fees and closing costs enter the picture, most of us will still need close to $20,000 in cash. An increasing number of people are looking into using life insurance as a source of money for the down payment.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the correlation between life insurance and buying a home.

Is it Mandatory to Have Life Insurance When Buying a Home?
Unless your bond originator or bank requires it, you don’t legally need life insurance to buy a home. However, it’s a popular opinion that having life insurance when buying a home is a necessary means of safeguarding your family’s financial future.

Why You Should get Life Insurance
Life insurance is used to cover your debts in the event of your untimely demise, thus preventing hefty bills from falling onto your loved ones. With most policies, your life insurance will pay out a lump sum to cover the outstanding amount that you owe for your home come the time that you’re no longer around to pay for it.

That said, it’s up to you to find the right insurer for this purpose, as life insurance fees and terms tend to vary between different providers. When searching for life insurance and burial insurance, be sure to take a moment to learn more about the best companies out there today, to secure your family’s future the best way possible.

Using Life Insurance to pay for a Home
Some forms of life insurance include a cash reserve that builds up over time. In order to gain access to this money, you’ll either need to do it through a partial surrender of your policy or in the form of a loan. This process is possible with universal, whole, and variable life insurance policies.

Because the value of a life insurance policy belongs to its owner, you’re free to do with it whatever you see fit. There are often certain restrictions when it comes to just how much you can take out in a loan, but you will usually have access to around 90% of the total.

How to use Your Policy to buy a Home
If you want to maintain your life insurance coverage, you’ll have to take out a loan. Naturally, this will incur a certain amount of interest. Alternatively, you can do a partial surrender of your policy, which reduces your death benefit by the amount you take out. In dire situations, you can fully surrender your policy and gain access to the total cash value.

Depending on your financial situation and the type of policy you have, there are a number of approaches you can take here. Take a good look at your finances and decide whether it would be wise to tap into your policy to afford a home or simply keep it to safeguard your family.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

How to Minimize Back Pain on Your Long-Haul Flight

How to Minimize Back Pain on Your Long-Haul Flight


Nobody likes long-haul flights. They can be stuffy, boring, and downright painful for some. Many people suffer from back pain after long hours of being cramped in a small seat in the air, unable to have a real walk around and stretch. Even those who have never suffered from back problems can begin to experience the agony whilst on a long flight. If you are headed on a long-haul flight soon, here are some top tips to minimize any back pain or discomfort during and after your flight, so you can enjoy your vacation or business trip.

Stay Hydrated
This is one of the most important rules for a flight, whether you do experience back pain or not. This also means keeping on top of your water intake for several days before your flight is scheduled. Cabin air is extremely dry and if your body becomes dehydrated, you will be more likely to suffer from joint stiffness, making any back pains worse. If your spinal discs become dehydrated, you are more at risk of a tear as these discs become more vulnerable. Drink plenty of water throughout the flight, which in turn will also keep you moving to and from the bathroom. For those with back pain, this is a win-win situation.

See a Chiropractor
A chiropractor can help you with a myriad of back pain problems. If you are likely to suffer with it when you are on the flight, or you already do suffer from back pain, seeing a chiropractor is beneficial before and after your trip. Chiropractors can aid in re-aligning your musculoskeletal structure, in particular, the spine. They use their hands to do so. If you have never seen a chiropractor before, here is what you can expect from chiropractic appointments and how to book one.

Move About
When you can or feel like you need to, get up and move around. Whether this is to the toilet or just for a quick walk up and down the aisle, the more you move the better. As a rule, you should be moving out of your seat hourly. When you do stand, try to bend yourself back and forwards and stretch out your upper back and shoulder muscles. Even when seated, you can stretch and point your toes to work your calf muscles and bringing your knees up to stretch the buttock muscles. This significantly reduces the risk of a blood clot and can prevent any of your muscles going into spasm.

Sit Correctly
Sitting is actually one of the most strenuous positions for our back as it adds extra stress to the spinal discs. You should take a pillow on board and rest it on your lumbar region, which is the region at your lower back. Rest this between the seat to reduce the risk of you slouching and to retain the back’s natural curve. A neck support pillow is also a good idea, especially if you plan to sleep for any period during the flight. Keeping your knees bent in a right angle also reduces stress on the back.

Keep Medications in Your Hand Luggage
If you know you suffer from back problems on a flight, keep pain medications with you. If you are going to do so, ensure that you do not consume any alcohol before or during the flight, as this will hinder how much affect your medication has. Some medications are not permitted to be taken with alcohol at all. Taking ibuprofen before the flight can aid with the reduction of inflammation and pain. Although it seems odd taking medication before you are in pain, this ensures that you are on top of your pain before it begins. If you need stronger medication, speak to your doctor or pharmacy. Make sure you take only what is stated on the packet, as stronger painkillers can cause withdrawal symptoms.

Don’t Pack Too Heavy
If you have a suitcase with wheels, this is great. If not, you need to pack light enough that you will not cause extra strain on your back, neck or shoulder muscles. If you do suffer from back pain that is severe, ensure your travel partner can lift your suitcase on and off the baggage areas, or ask a member of the airline crew for assistance. Your hand luggage should also be as light as possible to avoid you damaging your back when putting this in the overhead locker of the plane during the flight.

Exercise Regularly
Exercising regularly works the body’s muscles meaning there is less chance of straining your back when you are traveling. There are many benefits of exercising regularly but doing so a week or two before your flight guarantees that those muscles have had time to work. For those who have been inactive from exercise for a long period of time, your back muscles are at a much higher chance of going into spasm whilst you are sitting in your small airplane seat. Stretching before and after exercise is also extremely important to reduce any muscle pain, especially in the weeks leading to your flight.

Ask for a Doctor’s Note
If you have an ongoing medical problem which causes back pain, or you have recently had any form of spinal surgery, try to get a doctor to write you a note to give to the airline. Letting them know in advance may ensure you have a larger seat and more leg room. Many airlines try their best to accommodate customers with medical needs, so if they can they will be happy to help. If you know that a standard seat will not be comfortable enough, perhaps consider saving up a little extra for a business-class seat. It may be worth paying the extra money than having your vacation ruined by back pain.

Flying long distances can be a nightmare, especially if you do suffer from back pain. Whatever the cause of your pain, these tips can help to get you through the flight in as little pain as possible.
Why Learn a Foreign Language? The Benefits of Being Bilingual

Why Learn a Foreign Language? The Benefits of Being Bilingual

bilingual foreign languate

If you’re like most people, then any experience that you have with learning another language was probably in high school. Perhaps you took Spanish or French in school because it was required of you and know a few random phrases – maybe enough to get you by if you visited the country, or perhaps by now, you’ve forgotten almost everything that you’ve learned. But what many people don’t realize is that learning a new language at any point in your life can be extremely beneficial. Just because you didn’t grow up bilingual or have forgotten any language skills you learned at school it doesn’t mean that you can’t become fluent in a language of your choice as an adult. Here are some of the biggest benefits of learning a new language, at any point in your life.

It Helps with Brain Growth:
Research shows that bilingual people tend to be better at attention focusing and multitasking. In daily life, being bilingual means that you need to translate the words in your head; even if this is done subconsciously. As a result, those who speak two or more languages tend to have a greater ability to focus. And, brain scans of bilingual people have found that they have more gray matter in regions of the brain that are linked to executive function. Finally, more research has found that when these pathways develop early in a person’s development, it can ultimately increase their cognitive abilities for life. However, learning a new language can help to improve your cognitive function at any age.

Improve Native Language Abilities:
It’s been demonstrated that people who learn a new language often tend to begin to better understand their own native tongue and perform better when it comes to speaking eloquently and expressing their thoughts. And, studying a second language has often been found to give people a greater appreciation for the written word; something that’s difficult to overestimate the value of when you consider just how much this matters in the age of information.

Boost Empathy:
Truly learning and becoming fluent in another language often requires a person to look closely into a different culture. To really grasp another language, it’s often necessary to gain a deeper understanding of the culture, norms, and ways of those who speak it. And, learning a second language often means that you will need to start seeing the world through the eyes of others, which in turn gives you the chance to see how language shapes the way that other people think. As a result, it is an excellent way to put yourself in another’s shoes, boost your empathy skills, and gain a better understanding of what culture and language mean to another person.

Protection Against Cognitive Decline:
In addition to boosting your cognitive function, learning a second language can also have several positive impacts on long-term brain health. Whilst learning a new language certainly does not make you immune to neurological disorders and conditions, it can certainly help to prevent this. Studies have shown that patients with Alzheimer’s tend to have lower brain atrophy rates if they are fluent in more than one language. And no matter how old you are when you start learning a new language, doing so can actually help to delay the onset of conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s by five years; a significantly better length of time than Alzheimer’s drugs, which can only delay symptoms by up to 12 months. In addition, people who speak two languages tend to enjoy an increased overall cognitive performance throughout their life, with traits such as general higher intelligence, better strategic planning and decision making, delayed gratification skills, and a better ability to pursue long-term goals typically seen more in bilingual people.

Better Employment Opportunities:
It’s not just your brain health that can be positively affected by learning a second language. Around the world, bilingual people tend to have better luck when it comes to finding the career that they want and moving up the ranks. In fact, two-thirds of international executives say that hiring multilingual and bilingual people helps to increase the general innovation and profit of their organization. And, global organizations tend to prefer hiring people who speak multiple languages since compared to monolinguals, they have a greater emotional understanding, a higher probability of comprehension of risks and benefits on an objective level, and increased spatial and verbal abilities.

Social Benefits:
Last but not least, there are many great social benefits which you can gain from learning to speak a second language. Whether you are learning Japanese, Russian or subjunctive French, speaking two languages opens up more of the world to you and allows you to connect with people who it may have been difficult to communicate with otherwise. Speaking two languages automatically makes it easier for you to assimilate into society when working in other parts of the world, studying abroad or simply traveling. And for those who wish to learn a language that is spoken in several countries around the world, the social benefits and opportunities are even larger.

To conclude: no matter how young or old you may be, there will always be a great number of benefits that you can reap from learning a foreign language. Not only does becoming multilingual improve your brain health and function, but it is also an extremely useful skill for finding work around the world and could even catapult you into your dream career. And finally, speaking another language makes it easier for you to meet others and make friends who speak it as their native tongue.

Learning a new language isn’t just for high school! Whether you want to learn a language because you love the country in which it is spoken, are hoping to work in a certain country or simply need something to focus on and work towards, becoming multilingual is a great goal. Do you currently speak or are you learning to speak any other languages? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
How to Make Your Business Marketing Effortless

How to Make Your Business Marketing Effortless

marketing strategies

Marketing is one of the most important components of a successful business. If you aren’t able to master your marketing approach, the odds of succeeding will be stacked against you. But marketing is never easy, and marketing well is even more difficult. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there was a way of marketing your business effortlessly? Well, there is! With the right guidance, you can formulate a marketing strategy that is much easier to oversee and maintain. A coherent marketing strategy is essential if you want to maintain a consistent through-line and message across multiple marketing types.

The following tips can help any business to refine their marketing strategy so that it emphasizes the strengths of your business. This will enable you to formulate and implement a marketing strategy that you can maintain and refine into the future.

Make Marketing Something You Want to Do
The things that you will do the best in business are the things that you are most enthusiastic about. In order to achieve the most with your marketing, you need to implement marketing strategies that you are passionate about and which you want to engage with. Your passion and enthusiasm will spread through your team and will inspire them to help you make it work.

Think about whether there are any ways that you can make marketing more fun and more rewarding for you and your workers. Seek the input of workers at all levels in your business at every stage of the process when devising a marketing strategy. If you can make your marketing campaign a project that your workers have contributed to, they are more likely to raise word of mouth awareness of your business by telling others about it.

Know Your Value
The more accurate your perception of your business’s value, the easier it will be to formulate a marketing idea that you can pitch to your target audience. You need to know why the products or services that you offer are of such value to potential customers. If you aren’t able to articulate this, you will struggle to market your business efficiently.

Take the time to assess your current situation, what your standing is within your chosen industry or market, and what you can do to best illustrate the value that you believe your business offers. A great way of getting this process started is to simply brainstorm your business and the service that it provides, thinking particularly about which aspects are the most marketable.

Scale and Exposure
Exposing as many people as possible to your business or brand is key to effortless marketing. If you can reach enough people with decent marketing, it can completely transform the fortunes of your business. In order for a business to be sustainable, it needs to have a list of regular and reliable clients. However, you should be aiming to reach out beyond existing clients so that an interruption in work from one of them won’t bring your whole business down.

The more people you can expose to your marketing, the better. In fact, just exposing people to the name or logo of your business can be enough to convince them to find out who you are and what you do. Think of innovative and organic ways that you can reach out to as many people as possible. Branded apparel and supplies are one way of achieving this.

But if you are going to take the route of branding various items with your business logo, look beyond the obvious choices. Pens, mouse pads and calculators are all well and good, but yours will be lost in a sea of your competitors. Choose something a little more original and it will have a much stronger impact.

For example, custom challenge coins are a fantastic way of making a statement. Not only are challenge coins a unique item to brand, they are far more memorable to those that see and handle them. You can order custom challenge coins from ChallengeCoins4Less. As well as selling custom challenge coins, they also sell these coins, which are designed to commemorate military service. Look at those coins, and you can clearly see how much detail and variety in color is possible when choosing a design.

Measure Your Success
Marketing campaigns are expensive to pull off. It is therefore always worth measuring precisely just how much of an impact each of your campaigns has had once it has run its course. Monitoring your campaigns when they are live and comparing progress to your expectations will allow you to adjust your strategy accordingly.

You should always be setting yourself specific objectives to aim for and then taking steps to ascertain whether those objectives have been met. Once you have identified the weaknesses in your approach, you are then able to refine it so that your next campaign won’t suffer the same problems. Ultimately, it will become second nature to organize a killer marketing campaign. Always be receptive to feedback that helps you to achieve this goal.

Make it Organic
Organic marketing materials don’t appear to their audience as if they are marketing materials. When we are exposed to what we know to be advertising, we put up psychological defenses and are less receptive to the message of the marketing. On the other hand, when something is marketed to us in an organic way, it is done in a way that we are supposed to be unaware of. This means that people are much more receptive to organic marketing methods than clear advertisements.

If you are going to be working with an outside agency on your marketing strategy, make sure that you partner up with a business that has experience in marketing organically. It is much more difficult than many people realize to make organic marketing truly organic.

If you are able to encourage the right marketing practices and attitudes within your business, you will have a much easier time executing future campaigns to their full effectiveness. Ultimately, you can make good and effective marketing an effortless and automatic process. Monitor all your campaigns to determine and evaluate their success once they have run their course.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Ways to Continue Your Child's Education Outside the Classroom

Ways to Continue Your Child's Education Outside the Classroom

outside education

While school is an important contributor to your child’s education, it isn’t the only place your child can learn. Yet, many parents struggle to come up with ways to teach their children anything outside of the classroom. But there are tons of ways that you can show your child the fun side of education and get them to continue to learn even when they’re not at school. Here are a few ways to continue your child’s education outside the classroom.

Embrace Everyday Education
Recognize the value of answering children’s questions as they arise in daily life. Letting them play sports allows them to learn teamwork while watching a game is an opportunity to explain statistics and history. A visit to the zoo or botanical gardens opens up the door to a discussion on biology.

When you take children to the store, use the opportunity to teach them new words and about the way the world works. Discuss the practical applications of fractions while baking cookies. Ask them what questions they have so that you can answer them, and always encourage them to ask “Why?”. The worst thing you could do is stifle their curiosity. Curious children become curious adults who continue to seek knowledge. Discourage children from being curious, and they’ll become limited.

Take Advantage of Tutoring
Tutoring doesn’t have to be expensive or a hassle. There are plenty of online tutoring services like Thinkster that will allow you to get access to a tutor for a fraction of the price.

Thinkster works on tablets, laptops, and desktop computers, and your kids will be able to work on their math facts or advanced math lessons, no matter where they are, with a dedicated Thinkster Math Tutor. In only a few weeks, your child could see significant improvements in their math scores.

Thinkster programs are recognized for their efficiency. Your child starts off with an assessment test, so they don’t waste time on reviews of material they already know. The baseline determines what they know and what they don’t, and it shows parents how far the child is progressing. You can consult with an academic advisor to answer any questions you have and explain both your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

Take Advantage of the Local Library
You don’t have to spend a fortune on books at the bookstore or online content to keep your children entertained. You can borrow books for free from the library. Reading these books to them and encouraging them to read themselves will give them a lifelong love of learning. Or let them roam free and pick up books on any subject they like the most.

Get a Dose of Culture
Expose your children to a wide variety of cultural enrichment activities as possible. This includes but isn’t limited to visiting museums, watching ballets, attending plays, and going to concerts. This expands your child’s horizons, especially if you do it when it is a fun break from sitting at a desk all day.

If you’re religious, get your kids involved in classes, retreats, and youth group activities. They’ll learn about their faith as well as the spiritual concepts and history behind it. Take your kids on community outings, too, so they can talk to local experts. For example, going to historical sites allows them to see and experience history that seems distant and irrelevant in history books. This is a way to engage in deep, interactive learning on your own time. It also creates memories for a lifetime.

Plug Into the Web Wisely
Don’t give your children unfiltered access to the internet. Instead, teach them how to search for answers to their questions. While you’re at it, explain how to identify credible sources of information that are accurate, timely, and reputable. Use advanced tools to keep them away from unsafe sites. And monitor their usage so they don’t spend too much time in front of a computer screen.

Commit to a Cause
Community engagement is not only a way to expand your child’s horizons but teach them the importance of being responsible citizens. You can engage in a cause that is close to both your hearts. For instance, you could go to an animal shelter close by and give them the opportunity to learn more about animals. They’ll have the chance to interact with community activists and learn about what they do every day. This could even spark them to become activists later on and give back to their community.

Use that iPad for Good
Instead of having them play mindless games all day on their iPad, try to find apps that will teach them something instead. You could install the TED app on their tablet, for instance, which will send notifications every time new talks are uploaded and allow you to build playlists on their favorite subjects.

TED talks usually are very simple and targeted towards novices, and many of them will be simple enough for them to understand. Kids usually love science and cultivating their interest in science early on will reduce the time they spend on time-wasting activities. They will constantly seek more knowledge instead. This could give them a significant edge later when they’ll have to work on STEM-related subjects, and will allow them to grasp complex concepts much more easily.

Another thing you could do is find apps that will allow them to hone their math, language or cognitive skills. There are plenty of apps out there that could help them improve their performance while being fun at the same time. Games like Motion Math: Pizza could teach them things like basic economics by teaching them how to buy ingredients, make pizzas, and manage their own pizzeria. These are the kind of games that will allow them to internalize important knowledge that they’ll be able to apply later on in their lives.

Learning shouldn’t be limited to the classroom. These few tips will help fire up your child’s neurons and teach them to love learning in all its forms now and for the rest of their lives.

Jewels for Success: Which are the Most Powerful Astrological Gems in the World?

Jewels for Success: Which are the Most Powerful Astrological Gems in the World?

astrological gems

Astrology has been in practice for thousands of years, dating back to the earliest civilizations in Asia and America, but certainly not just limited to those two continents. Even though it is only considered to be a pseudoscience today, the popularity of western and Vedic astrology has not declined at all. In fact, the wider availability of the jewels which are supposed to possess certain powers for certain people has actually made them more accessible to the masses than they were at one time.

While the authenticity and the actual effectiveness of astrological stones are still under debate, it is to be understood that an actual astrologer will never claim that a stone will work for everybody, or even if it does, they can never claim that it will have the same impact on everybody. In fact, astrologers go through a complex combination of birthdays, birth years, the position of the celestial bodies during the birth of the person, and various other factors before determining what would be the right gem for the individual. In that sense, what is powerful and positive for one person, might very well be ineffective or may even produce negative results for the other.

This is the reason why a good astrologer will tell you that an extremely powerful gem like the blue sapphire can even be dangerous for you if you do not have a birth chart that suits wearing of such a stone. In that respect, even powerful astrological stones that we are going to discuss next may not be right for you, unless you do the adequate research yourself or seek the help of a professional astrologer.

Blue Sapphire (Neelam)
Penelope Cruz wears a wedding ring from Javier Bardem that consists of a deep blue sapphire which weighs three carats and is surrounded by smaller diamonds to make it look like a flower; a flower that roughly costs $30,000 or more! From an astrological point of view, the combination of the blue sapphire (stone of Saturn) and the diamonds (stone of Venus) are not contradictory, but the ring finger is not an ideal location for the stones.

The index finger or preferably the middle finger is where a blue sapphire should be worn, according to the advice of astrologers. As the blue sapphire, also known in the subcontinent as Neelam, is the most powerful of all Vedic astrological stones in existence, it is imperative that the gemstone is actually deemed to be suitable for the wearer before putting it on.

If you want to buy and wear this magnificent blue gem, consult the experts at Gem Stone Universe first, before spending any money on it. They even have a dedicated page on the powerful nilamstone to educate people about the scientific origin of the stone, its price, the difference in quality, mining locations, astrological benefits, and everything else that one would ever need to know. They are one of the very few IACC and GIA certified online sellers of gemstones in the world, so the information and the stones from Gem Stone Universe can be trusted for authenticity.

Ruby (Chuni)
A brilliant red ruby in a decent size will cost a good deal of money, as they are quite rare. Astrologically, they are linked to the sun and are said to be appropriate for the paternal heads of the family since the sun signifies life force and has been worshipped around the world as a father figure for millions of years. Fame, prominence, respect, intelligence, and power are some of the benefits that astrology associates with a ruby.

Emerald (Panna)
Mercury in astrology is associated with wisdom, clarity of understanding, communication skills, articulation, humor, wealth, and travel to name a few.

As the planet’s representative on earth, astrologers advise wearing of emeralds on the pinkie finger to facilitate business growth and success. Emerald is also a stone that is believed by astrologers around the world to attract wealth, as long as the birth chart supports the wearing of the stone for the individual in question. Given that a high-quality Colombian emerald can set you back by thousands, it is advisable that you consult an astrologer to determine its suitability before buying one for its benefits.

Diamond (Heera)
It is hard to make any list of jewels that doesn’t have a diamond in it, and even a list of astrological gems is not exempt from that rule apparently!

The diamond is what represents the planet Venus on earth and, therefore, if you are a Libra, in particular, it’s the right gemstone for you on most occasions. The benefits to be had here are nothing short of astounding if you believe in astrology and it suits your chart, because they include everything from boosted attraction to the opposite gender and development of the finer senses to unlocking of the riches and creative potential in an individual. The only problem is that true, high-quality diamonds cost a fortune, to begin with!

A natural and rare gemstone that is authentic and of good quality is never going to be cheap, nor will it be as flawless as an artificial piece of glass! This is true for all gems in general and not just astrological stones. Admittedly, there are a few stones in the world that are natural and yet perfect, but unless you are billionaire collector, you will only see them in photos.

Unfortunately, there are multiple scam sites on the internet and offline shops that promise to sell glorious stones and crystals with magical effects, yet they promise to do so at a fraction of the price of what they should be selling for. If you do believe in astrology or just want to give it a try, trust international names like Gem Stone Universe when it comes to buying astrological stones online because while it won’t be cheap, at least you will have a real gem on your hands. Whether it works or not, you will still possess a high-value gemstone in your collection.

8 Practical Ways to Protect Your Business

8 Practical Ways to Protect Your Business

protect your business

The amount of time, energy and passion that you invest in a business can make it one of your most prized possessions. For this reason, you want to safeguard it as well as make sure it’s not seen negatively by the public. If you’re an entrepreneur or aspiring one, then you may be wondering how exactly you can go about doing this. The good news is that there are several ways you can keep your business out of harm’s way and you may be familiar with some. Even if you aren’t, by the time you finish reading this article, you should have an idea of how you can protect your business.

1.) Hire a Good Lawyer
One of the first things you should do when starting a business of any magnitude is to find a good lawyer. They will serve many functions which range from helping you look over paperwork to dealing with any legal challenges that you’re having. When looking for a lawyer, a good first step would be asking for referrals.

It is often easier to start with people who have been referred as the chances of them being reliable are somewhat higher. If you can’t get any useful referrals, try checking online attorney databases to see if there are lawyers that meet your criteria. Ultimately, take your time and look for the person that’s the best fit for your business.

2.) Find Competent PR Professionals
It would also be a good idea to take the time out to find a competent PR professional. You could either hire an individual or an agency to help you get the job done. In case you don’t know much about public relations, it essentially shaping as well as maintaining the image of your business in the eye of the public. It is so important as the wrong perception of your business could be damaging in many ways.

Some of the functions that you can expect a PR professional to carry out include press releases which will be sent to relevant media platforms, organizing community outreach or representing your business in public. They help make sure people see you in the way that you want to be seen.

3.) Get the Right Insurance
One of the most terrifying things about running a business can be the fact that you don’t know what’s going to happen next. While you’re hopefully going to experience many highs, the lows are also inevitable. With that being said, insurance could help protect you in case a customer or client decides to take you to court or there’s an unexpected accident. The safest thing to do may be to get commercial liability insurance that is tailored to your business’ needs. Take the time to find out more about this type of insurance and how it can help you get the coverage that your business needs most.

4.) Invest in Branding
Another must for protecting your business is to invest in branding. Similar to public relations, branding helps to shape the identity of your business. With the right branding, you should ensure a positive perception in the eyes of your target audience. In other words, branding is a way of protecting the identity of your business.

Building a brand requires that you first understand who you are and what you do. Even more important, you want to make sure you understand your values and make sure that they are evident in all of your activities.

In addition to this, how you speak to and address customers and clients is also essential as it impacts your customer service. Based on this information, take the time to evaluate your brand and perhaps do social listening, so you know what others are saying about you. By doing this, you should be able to adjust your branding accordingly.

5.) Choose Business Relations Wisely
Choosing who you do business with could mean the difference between business growth and a disaster. Not everyone has good intentions or will be a good association to have with your company. Before doing business or partnering with anyone, do some background research and check that they have a good track record. If you’re going to be doing business together, don’t forget to get everything in writing in case of future disagreements.

6.) Manage Your Finances Effectively
Financial challenges could quickly put you in a compromising position as a business, so stay on top of them. For instance, falling behind on debt payments or owing taxes could set your business back financially and lead to you having to close your company.

To stay on top of your finances, make sure you have a good accountant. A good business accountant should be certified, have the right experience and help you save money. Ultimately, the more money your business has, the less likely you are to end up in financial ruin.

7.) Protect Your Files
Another way of looking after your business would be to ensure all of your sensitive information is protected. These days, many companies are migrating to the cloud as a way of keeping their data secure as well as organized. Whether you have servers in your company or are using the cloud, limit the number of people that have access to information and don’t forget to change your passwords regularly. Lastly, update your anti-virus, get security software and make sure your staff knows what security measures they should be following.

8.) Be Ethical
Another practical way to protect your business is to be ethical. These days, customers are looking for ethical and socially responsible businesses, so you want to be one of them. When you ethically run your business, it helps improve your brand perception. Remember that if you want your business to look ethical to others, you need to start on the inside so start by creating an ethical business culture. In case you need a reminder, making your products ethically, sticking to your values and giving back to the community are all ways to be ethical.
The Real Cost of Buying a Home

The Real Cost of Buying a Home

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Owning your own home is considered by many to be a rite of passage to adulthood. There are many benefits to owning your own home, but it’s also rather scary. A mortgage often costs less than renting, but there are other considerations to take into account when deciding to buy a new home. Having all the necessary facts is going to make this important decision much easier.

Your mortgage is one of the most predictable payments associated with buying a home. However, that’s not the total amount you’re going to be paying. Here are some of the other costs that often get overlooked.

Closing Costs
Your down payment is the biggest initial cost you’re going to be making, but closing costs are another big surprise you need to allow for. They are onetime fees paid to your lender and other third parties and can add up to several thousand dollars. They include an appraisal and survey fee, wire transfer fee, underwriting and origination fees, document prep fee and discount points. On top of that, you’ll be paying a credit report fee, title insurance, and recording fee.

Real Estate Commission
If a property is being sold through a real estate agent commission has to be paid. Generally, it amounts to around 6%, which is split between the buyer’s and the seller’s agent. If you’re buying, however, you don’t need to worry because commission comes out of the seller’s funds. If you’re selling a property, it’s worth asking for a lower commission before signing with a real estate agent.

Property Taxes
Property taxes are paid to the local government. Tax laws and policies can vary by state and county and they can change from year to year. If you undertake any renovations or the property market changes and your home’s assessed value increases, this can also cause property taxes to rise.

Different Types of Insurance
The types of insurance you’ll have to pay differ depending on the state or region where you’re buying. Homeowners insurance is the most common type you’ll need to pay for. Find out more by clicking on this useful page about home insurance. Hazard insurance is something else you’ll need to consider depending on the risk factors in your area. There is a third type of insurance known as private mortgage insurance, but you’ll only have to pay this if your down payment is less than 20%.

The size of these payments is going to depend on the size of your new home but expect to be paying a couple of hundred dollars at least. Your real estate agent may be able to give you an estimate of the property’s utility costs so you can include them in your budget.

HOA, Co-Op or Condo Fees
If your new home is in a planned development, that includes shared spaces and a homeowners association you’ll have monthly assessment fees to pay on top of your mortgage. These fees help towards the cost of improvements to the complex. These can sometimes be very expensive so don’t forget to include these in your budget.

Buying a property is a serious financial commitment. Now you’ve got a better idea of the cost you’ll be able to work out a more accurate budget and find the right property to suit your needs.