How First-Time Homebuyers Can Save Money

There are many reasons it would be financially advantageous to purchasing a house. You may have recently graduated from college, are a newlywed, expecting your first child, or have accepted a new high-paying job. There are long-term financial advantages and tax benefits to homeownership, but one of the largest roadblocks to purchasing a house is often the down payment. Below is a list of suggestions that you can use to save money towards a down payment on a new house.
• Create a Household Budget – Write out a list of all your monthly expenses. Go through your checkbook and receipts for the past three months and find out exactly how much you are spending per month. Create a budget that you can live with that limits your expenses. Track your spending, this will help you realize what expenses you may be able to eliminate.
• Open a Savings Account – After creating your monthly budget, devote a certain amount or percentage of your monthly income to savings. Your savings should be used only for special purchases or holiday spending to avoid using credit cards or creating new debt.
• Bank Account Fees – Check your bank statements to find out if you are paying a monthly service fee for your checking and/or savings accounts. If you are, it would benefit you to research banking options from other institutions. You may not only eliminate monthly fees, but possibly receive a bonus for opening a new account.
• Credit Cards – If you carry balances on your credit cards, you’re paying an extraordinary amount of interest. Be prudent, focus on paying your credit cards off or consolidate the debt to an installment loan with a lower interest rate.
• Shopping – When going to the store for groceries, clothing, bathroom and household necessities, always write out a list and stick to it. This will help you eliminate impulse buying. Many individuals purchase unneeded items when they shop and regret the purchase later.
• Entertainment Budget – Most people do not have a household budget, therefore they have no idea how much they actually spend in entertainment dollars. Institute a weekly or monthly entertainment budget, based on your past spending habits. Your plan should include money to continue your normal routine, such as: money for lunch, dinner, and/or going out with your friends. If you pack your lunch and eat at home a few more days per week, you will undoubtedly save money.
• Insurance and Mobile Phone – Compare the rates that you are paying for your auto insurance and cell phone to currents offers. If rates have gone down, you may be able to save on both of these expenses.
There are countless ways to eliminate expenses and save money, implementing just a few of these cost-saving measures in your monthly budget will help you save faster than you may have thought possible. There is no magic pill or instant solution to saving money; it will take a variety of changes as well as time to save the money needed for a down payment. As an alternative to saving the down payment for a house, most lenders will allow gifts from family members as well as grants from nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Check with your lender to find out if you qualify for any down payment assistance grants in your area.

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Using Captive Insurance Companies for Savings

Small companies have been copying a method to control insurance costs and reduce taxes that used to be the domain of large businesses: setting up their own insurance companies to provide coverage when they think that outside insurers are charging too much.
Often, they are starting what is called a “captive insurance company” – an insurer founded to write coverage for the company, companies or founders.
Here’s how captive insurers work.
The parent business (your company) creates a captive so that it has a self-funded option for buying insurance, whereby the parent provides the reserves to back the policies. The captive then either retains that risk or pays re-insures to take it. The price for coverage is set by the parent business; reinsurance costs, if any, are a factor.
In the event of a loss, the business pays claims from its captive, or the re-insurer pays the captive.
Captives are overseen by corporate boards and, to keep costs low, are often based in places where there is favorable tax treatment and less onerous regulation – such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, or U.S states like Vermont and South Carolina.
Captives have become very popular risk financing tools that provide maximum flexibility to any risk financing program. And the additional possibility of adding several types of employee benefits is of further strategic value to the owners of captives.
While the employee benefit aspects have not emerged as quickly as had been predicted, there is little doubt that widespread use of captives for employee benefits is just a matter of time. While coverage’s like long term disability and term life insurance typically require Department of Labor approval, other benefit-related coverage’s such as medical stop loss can utilize a captive without the department’s approval.
Additionally, some mid-sized corporate owners also view a captive as an integral part of their asset protection and wealth accumulation plans. The opportunities offered by a captive play a critical role in the strategic planning of many corporations.
A captive insurance company would be an insurance subsidiary that is owned by its parent business (es). There are now nearly 5,000 captive insurers worldwide. Over 80 percent of Fortune 500 Companies take advantage of some sort of captive insurance company arrangement. Now small companies can also.
By sharing a large captive, participants are insured under group policies, which provide for insurance coverage that recognizes superior claims experience in the form of experience-rated refunds of premiums, and other profit-sharing options made available to the insured.
A true captive insurance arrangement is where a parent company or some companies in the same economic family (related parties), pay a subsidiary or another member of the family, established as a licensed type of insurance company, premiums that cover the parent company.
In theory, underwriting profits from the subsidiary are retained by the parent. Single-parent captives allow an organization to cover any risk they wish to fund, and generally eliminate the commission-price component from the premiums. Jurisdictions in the U.S. and in certain parts of the world have adopted a series of laws and regulations that allow small non-life companies, taxed under IRC Section 831(b), or as 831(b) companies.
Try Sharing
There are a number of significant advantages that may be obtained through sharing a large captive with other companies. The most important is that you can significantly decrease the cost of insurance through this arrangement.
The second advantage is that sharing a captive does not require any capital commitment and has very low policy fees. The policy application process is similar to that of any commercial insurance company, is relatively straightforward, and aside from an independent actuarial and underwriting review, bears no additional charges.
By sharing a captive, you only pay a pro rate fee to cover all general and administrative expenses. The cost for administration is very low per insured (historically under 60 basis points annually). By sharing a large captive, loans to its insureds (your company) can be legally made. So you can make a tax deductible contribution, and then take back money tax free. Sharing a large captive requires little or no maintenance by the insured and can be implemented in a fraction of the time required for stand alone captives.
If done correctly, sharing a large captive can yield a small company significant tax and cost savings.
If done incorrectly, the results can be disastrous.
Buyer Beware
Stand alone captives are also likely to draw IRS attention. Another advantage of sharing a captive is that IRS problems are less likely if that path is followed, and they can be entirely eliminated as even a possibility by following the technique of renting a captive, which would involve no ownership interest in the captive on the part of the insured.

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The Number One Estate Planning Mistake to Avoid

The topic of estate planning is misunderstood and wrapped in mystery for most individuals. Easy to understand why. Pop culture has evolved to label estate planning as something only the wealthy need. After all, what images pop into your head when you hear the term estate planning? Rolling estates, mansions and huge bank accounts.
Estate planning at its core is a simple idea. Yes, there are tactics that might seem complicated. However, when you boil down estate planning, it is planning for how the things you own pass on after your death.
What is the number one mistake you can make relating to your estate? Failing to have a plan.
There are many important issues to consider when developing a plan. The least of which is how your assets (your property) will pass on after your death and who will receive them.
The goal of a plan is control. Without a plan, you give up control how your property will be distributed. Without a Will, you shift the decision how your estate will transfer from you to the state.
What can you do to ensure this does not happen? Takes steps today and start a conversation with you and family.
There are professionals who make up a typical estate planning team.
Insurance Agent: An agent might seem an odd place to start. However, your insurance agent is commonly the person who starts the conversation. An agent can also help if products such as life insurance, long-term care or annuities could benefit your plan.
Attorney: An attorney is responsible for developing the legal documents and transfer strategies for your estate. An attorney will draft a will, trust or other estate documents.
Accountant: An accountant aids with potential tax issues. If an individual’s estate is large, there may be tax issues such as federal estate and income taxes. If you plan to give to family or charity, an accountant can help develop a plan that is tax compliant.
Broker: If you own securities, involving your broker in the planning process helps ensure your plan is consistent with your investing strategies.
The process: Once you meet with a professional. They will complete a financial profile. A financial profile lists your assets and offers a snapshot of where you are financially. Next, is discussing how you want your estate to transfer.
Next is involving the other members of the estate planning team. The cost to develop a plan will depend on the level of planning needed. Having a will drafted is the simplest estate plan you can have. A living trust or advanced legal documents will likely increase the cost.
Cost is often the concern that impedes individuals from starting the estate planning process. However, when you consider the cost and complication to your family.
A plan can be complicated or simple. Conversing with a professional can help evaluate potential issues and start the process.
Neither Barry Taylor, Integrated Planning Solutions nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for tax or legal advice. Consult with your legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situation before making any tax or legal related decisions.

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Bad Credit Car Loans Steadily Gaining Popularity Amidst Economic Stagnation

Personal loans are common across the society since the historic times. These can be broadly categorized as secured and unsecured personal loans. It is easier for everyone to avail unsecured personal loans as compared to the secured ones. The sum of money involved in this category of transactions is usually petite, ranging between hardly a few hundred dollars at the most. In order to avail the type of facility, a borrower, usually, does not need to put up any asset as collateral. As such, the individual’s credit score is hardly taken into account while providing the facility. However, in some instances, lenders charge higher interest rates to borrowers with dismal credit scores, on availing unsecured personal loans.
On the other hand, to avail secured personal loans, borrowers need to put up some asset or the other as collateral. As such, rate of interest involved in this range of loans is usually more reasonable as compared to the other variety. Because of the collateral asset, lenders offer secured personal loans at lower interest rates. Thankfully, both the types of loan allow monthly installments to borrowers to repay the money. In a recent development, a range of registered money lending agencies is readily providing loan to people with bad credit. To avail the unique facility, however, one has to own the clear title of a car, truck, van or SUV. The amount of money disbursed as loan is determined by the condition of a vehicle in question.
The range of loans is steadily gaining prominence and is facilitating life for scores of people by resolving their small economic needs. The unique monetary facility is more popularly called bad credit car loans. Stagnant economy is compelling the corporate sector to downsize its workforce. Lay-offs, unemployment and pink slips are rampant across the industrial domains these days. In short, innumerable folks are suffering from low credit score. Conventional lenders refuse to give loans to these people for obvious reasons. Actually, these folks invariably fail to meet the eligibility criteria of the conventional lenders. Thus, it is indeed an uphill task for these people to secure money to combat unforeseen emergencies.
The best part about vehicle equity loans is it allows users to keep and maintain their vehicles during the loan period. Volume of business for the category of lenders is increasing at an exponential pace. An increasing number of folks who need cash on bad credit unhesitatingly approach these unconventional money lenders. Professionals working in these financial establishments maintain impressive level of professionalism and never reveal their clients’ identities to third-parties.
When the loan is repaid on time, a negligible sum is levied as interest. There is no penalty on early repayment of these loans. As there is no credit check, money is handed over fast to borrowers while availing loans with bad credit. In fact, money is handed over hardly within a few hours of filling the loan application. While availing such facility, it is advisable for the borrower to carry a photocopy of the driving license and a few other relevant documents. However, professionals working in these money lending agencies will definitely provide extensive list of documents that borrowers need to furnish well in advance.

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