Protect the Value of Your Home from Market Trends

Owning a home is everyone’s dream.  Owning a house however means you have the sole responsibility to ensure it is in the best condition possible.  This entails taking care of everything from the simple necessary repairs to handling larger issues. It is only in doing this that you can protect your home from depreciating and making it as comfortable and appealing as possible. Consider seeking the help of real estate professionals or even inspectors to find ways in which you can improve the value of your home.

Many people are short of ideas when it comes to increasing the value of their homes.  Some are torn between updating their kitchen, the bathroom, or even investing in a new roof. While working on either of these might seem like a wise idea, you need to identify just the spot/area that needs to be updated. Where you put the money in is more important than how you do it. Here are a few ways in which you can protect your home from the current market trends.

1. Regular Maintenance

Routine maintenance is the one best way to preserve/protect your home’s value. According to the National Association of Realtors, it would be advisable to set aside at least $500 per month for big repairs. Plumbing, electrical, and roofing problems do put a considerable dent on the home’s overall value. For this reason, you need to keep up with minor fixes to ensure these do not get beyond your control. Simple practices such as working on the gutters, weatherproofing, replacing broken shingles and roof tiles, and stopping leakage go a long way in protecting your home’s worth. Furthermore, hiring a cleaning service Houston way, or a cleaning service wherever you are based, to make sure the inside of the home is spotless is a great way to keep the property looking its best.

2. Work on the home’s Curb Appeal

Good aesthetics play a huge role in almost anything. Loose railings, a dirty siding, broken light fixtures, and even an unkempt exterior only show how fast the property is depreciating. Consider applying a fresh lick of paint after every few months, ensure the garden is in the best condition, fix broken fixtures, and most importantly, keep the entire house clean.  Keeping the trees and the lawn in the best shape also shows how caring you are as a homeowner hence protecting the value of your home.

3. Consider Some Upgrades

Old cabinets, outdated appliances, and countertops in both the kitchen and the bathroom can cause a drop in your home’s value.  Replacing any older and inefficient appliances can give your home a value boost. If possible, consider going for energy-efficient appliances for an upgrade. These include dishwashers, refrigerator, light fixtures, and even the heating system. Although you might want to take on a remodeling project for your home, you need to be careful with the areas you choose for an upgrade. This is according to the National Association of Realtors.

4. Neighbors

Vacant homes due to foreclosures can also have a significant impact on the houses within the neighborhood.   For this reason, you need to be watchful of empty homes that fall into disrepair with unkempt lawns, dead or encroaching bushes, as well as bushy flower gardens. You can make it your responsibility to pull out weeds in their yards, as well as clean the compounds to preserve the neighborhood’;s appeal. You could also engage neighbors to help keep the neighborhood clean and protected.

5. Seek Professional Advice

A real estate consultant can help guide you into boosting your home’s value. The best thing with working with a professional is that they can notice even the smallest problems that if repaired, can give your home a significant boost in the market value of your house. Consider calling a real estate sales agent or even a home inspector for help identifying mechanical and structural problems that could be causing your home to lose value. The inspector should be able to make a list of recommendations on possible repairs that could make a difference in the property’s worth, such as those related to roof repairs and plumbing line repairs. For roof related problems, you can get in touch with a company like Team Roofing to get your roof fixed.

A well-maintained house lasts a lot longer and is more valuable than a neglected one. Taking the initiative to ensure everything is in the best condition possible in the house is one way to protect the house’;s value. You won’t need an expert’s eye to see a well-kept house, and one that needs serious work to restore its former glory. That said, it would be advisable to take the necessary measures to ensure the house is in the best condition possible.

Some factors can affect the price and value of your home. These include regulation changes, rising interest rates, and economic patterns that affect/influence a buyer’s decision. While you might not have control over such factors, taking care of what you have control of is all that matters. Working with a professional realtor can help protect your home’s value.

Why Machine Learning is Essential for Retailers

What do Sears, Toys ‘R’ Us, and JC Penney’s have in common?

Not a single one of them was able to make the right adjustments in order to succeed in today’s data-driven retail market.

90% of today’s data worldwide has been gathered only in the past couple of years. In addition, the data made and gathered is only becoming more intricate, therefore, it’s rebuilding the way the retail industry does business.

However, since the amount of information that companies have to evaluate keeps on growing in addition to the fact that they’re competing in markets that are becoming more dynamic, retailers have been searching for ways to deal with their big data issues. Machine learning has come in handy in several areas within retail as it is able to deal with more data than anything else has ever been able to manage before. On top of that, it offers better results more consistently in comparison to humans. Let’s dive in deeper to see how businesses are utilizing machine learning in order to beat out their competition.

Inventory and Supply Chain Planning

When trying to balance inventory maintenance based on the demand, companies used to simply figure it out via trial and error. They had to make a lot of guesses when trying to predict which items will go into style and which ones will fall out of style or when trying to figure out how many new customers would buy items each month, for instance.

Machine learning removes all of that guesswork within supply chain planning as instead, it focuses on optimizing root cause analysis. This provides retailers with a much wider view of the faults in a system that already exists, assists with pinpointing incomplete data, and can steer clear of both human bias and error. With time, machine-learning will be able to optimize supply chain planning even more than it is able to now as it continues to unravel different patterns and relationships. In turn, it also makes it a more reliable source throughout the entire process.


Machine learning within marketing campaigns is not a new concept, however, the magnitude at which it is utilized in marketing has not yet been completely fulfilled by retailers. Today, machine learning allows us to personalize both advertising and promotions to customers by evaluating customer behavior and pinpointing those who are high in value. Machine learning is also able to make marketing campaigns much more effective by being able to figure out when’s the best time to send out emails to consumers or by providing context to retailers about factors that may have been overlooked via traditional analysis like the weather.

In addition, both AI and machine learning have a big impact on how successful omnichannel retail is. Customers are more likely to be on multiple platforms when interacting with a brand instead of just one which is why it is difficult to be consistent with marketing. Machine learning can help pinpoint the platforms that are the best at getting the attention of various kinds of customers while also assisting retailers with figuring out how both customer wants and needs alter with time.

For instance, today, businesses are using machine learning in order to figure out if customers would rather buy items in a store with a cashier or if they would rather do it at self-service checkouts. This kind of data can provide retailers with the information that they need to maintain the tender balance between automation for increased efficiency while steering clear of the negative image that comes from automation based on previous human encounters with a brand.


Optimizing prices within a dynamic market is usually expensive as both a lot of resources and a big IT budget are necessary. Similar to inventory planning, pricing also typically requires both a trial and an error process. Since a lot of data that has to be evaluated in order to alter the price of just a single product, there was a time when price optimization took up way too much time as. In addition, often times, not enough context went hand in hand with the scale of a business’s item portfolio.

Machine learning assists companies with optimizing their prices in several ways. It can use both historical and real-time market data in order to make very accurate price predictions which, similar to supply chain planning, end up much more fine-tuned since relationships between both items and prices are monitored during a much longer time span. In comparison to competitive pricing strategies, machine learning is able to offer a much wider perspective into a business’s product portfolio, letting businesses establish prices that take into consideration pricing relationships such as the halo effect or price cannibalization.

Through machine learning, prices are more accurate and price recommendations are given much faster which helps ensure that businesses are able to keep up with each change in the market. This is how businesses such as Amazon are able to make price adjustments several times a day, boosting both sales and revenue as well.

Machine Learning is Here to Stay

We have barely dipped our toes into how machine learning is shifting the way in which we do retail. However, it is still no secret that if businesses want to be able to remain in competition in the modern world, they have to adopt machine learning into a number of aspects of their business strategy. Machine learning is making revolutionary changes in retail including aspects such as marketing campaigns and pricing. Just as you have witnessed with the giants such as Amazon and Walmart, the success of future retailers is directly correlated with how they utilize machine learning in order to optimize how business is done.

Trump Wants To End Student Loan Forgiveness How Is SL Account Management Already Helping Student Borrowers

Donald Trump’s 2020 budget has caused some waves in the Education Department and for students who need to take out or have taken out student loans. Trump’s budget has slashed Education Department funding and made some major changes to government programs aimed at helping students pay down their debt. Specific programs affected are the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and the elimination of subsidized student debt. With more graduates of post-secondary institutions struggling with crippling amounts of student debt than ever before and a record number of student loans going into default, this news will make it even harder for graduates to get out from under their debt.

Thankfully, companies like SL Account Management are working hard to help as many people as possible with their current student debt. As a private company that assists students with document preparation and determining if they are eligible for any government debt-assistance or forgiveness programs, the SL team has their work cut out for them. The changes proposed to Trump’s budget will phase out the popular programs for loans that were taken out after July 1 2020. Currently, SL Account Management is striving to help as many people benefit from the programs as possible, while they still can.

Trump’s Big Changes

Trump’s big changes include a 10-percent cut in Education department funding, the elimination of the  Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and the removal of subsidized student debt. Established in 2007, under Bush, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program forgives loans for government workers and some nonprofit organizations provided they have been making payments for 10 years. The removal of subsidized debt means that the current benefit to borrowers who are in school or facing economic hardship of not having interest accrue on their loans will end. Ultimately, the goal of these changes is that the government will no longer be responsible for backing up federal loans that students are unable to pay back, meaning taxpayers will not feel those effects trickling down.

SL Account Management

SL Account Management continues to assist students in document preparation and trying to qualify as many people as possible for government debt-relief and assistance programs while they are still in place. SL Account Management provides each and every client with a customized approach to paying down their student debt. They provide a comprehensive one-on-one budgetary consultation to determine how students can pay down their loans while still maintaining a decent standard of living and quality of life. SL Account Management is willing to work harder than ever before to assist people struggling with student debt before Trump’s budgetary changes are rolled out in 2020.

Thanks, in part, to the recent downturns in the American economy, post-secondary graduates are carrying more student debt than ever before. Many turned to getting an education in an attempt to secure future employment for themselves, but what they found after graduation was that they were starting out with large amounts of debt. SL Account Management strives to help people get back on the road to financial freedom and will continue to do so for as long as possible.

Key Benefits Of Custom Software Development For Your Business

If you want to increase the productivity and efficiency of your business, you need to ensure that your software can meet the needs of your business operations and address issues even before they occur. Custom software development involves tailor-made designs and features far better than templates or packaged software.

With custom software, cost-effectiveness, integration, and personalized service play a vital role in your successful business operations. A unique and exclusive software makes your organization stand out and upgraded. In this post, you’ll learn about the important benefits of custom software development to achieve business success.

Personalized Features and Services

When it comes to software development, you don’t want your business to be left behind. While the built-in features of a packaged software can be modified, it only meets your small needs. It’s because packaged software has obvious limitations that can hamper your business growth. Custom software is a dynamic and innovative solution to today’s fast-paced growing businesses. Even if you have a small business, a custom software ensures that you won’t need to worry about minor issues brought about by a uniform software as everyone else does.

Here are the personalized benefits of custom software:

  • Customized features can be tweaked or modified according to the daily operations, needs, and expectations of your business.
  • You can decide on the complexity and intuitiveness of your software depending on the current performance and size of your business.
  • Perform daily tasks easier and faster.

Meet and Adapt Business Scalability

Businesses grow exponentially nowadays with proper planning and management. However, off-the-shelf software is not scalable. It means that you need to train your workforce again to use new software if your current software cannot meet the needs of your business expansion. On the other hand, you don’t have to conduct full training for custom software because you’ll be using the same system and only minimal enhancements and short training are required.

Here are the benefits of a custom software when it comes to business scalability:

  • Custom software can support your business throughout its stages and milestones.
  • Benefit from the innovative features brought about by upgrades, thus providing effective and efficient solutions to client or customer issues.
  • Expect the full trust and confidence of your employees when it comes to handling or managing the software for increased productivity and better customer service. Reduce cost involving acquiring new software because your existing or old package software can’t meet your new requirements for your growing business.

Current System Integration

Multiple software programs are what many businesses need nowadays because of varying requirements and emerging business demands. Just imagine training your staff to use different programs while managing customer service or product sales. It can be a huge hassle. That’s when custom software comes in.

Here are the benefits of system integration:

  • Your software developer can accommodate your workforce’s expertise levels.
  • All changes in app usage or staffing are quickly addressed by creating modules, short course training, and updates.
  • You can adjust your software towards the direction it is heading.
  • Integrate the best features from your current software version to the updated version. For instance, you can download and review product manager resume on your system for integration, so your employees can fill it up and send it to your dashboard for review and approval.

Encourage More Investors for Your Business

Of course, with custom software, expect nothing less but premium features and services. It means that your system is very competitive, so your major competitors won’t leave you behind. A custom software reflects your business reputation, and it is one aspect that investors check. Investors are impressed with businesses that have advanced facilities or state-of-the-art equipment and systems because of higher security and better system support.

Promote Cost-Effectiveness

Software development doesn’t come cheap. While the upfront cost of custom software can be pricier than packaged software, you can save more money in the long run. If you’re on a tight budget, you can take advantage of installment loans from a trusted lending company offering flexible terms and requirements.

Here are good reasons why custom software gives you more savings than traditional templates or off-the-shelf software:

  • Custom-built software doesn’t require constant change.
  • You can use custom software without significant investment for the long-term.
  • No need to worry about additional costs for licenses and extra fees like packaged software.
  • No need to spend on full software training like off-the-shelf software needs.

Get Full Support and Maintenance

Packaged software solutions provide limited support at the expense of your business, compromising your business operations and growth. If you don’t want to find your business in bankruptcy, get full support and maintenance from a trusted and reputable custom-built software developer.

Here are the benefits of working with a good custom software provider:

  • Your customer software is appropriately maintained as long as you desire.
  • Get a reliable, personalized, efficient, and targeted technical support plan.
  • Custom software provides stronger security features and solutions, minimizing system intrusion or cyber attacks.

Gain More Customers and Build Customer Loyalty

Because your employees are familiar and confident working with your business software, the service reflects on the influx of customers availing your products and services. Of course, the domino effect is tremendous, increasing the number of new customers, word-of-mouth of your excellent services, and boosting your sales.

Here are some ways a custom business management software can help you gain new customers and build customer loyalty:

  • Your staff doesn’t need to worry about fixing technical issues because of the full support provided by a good web developer.
  • Your employees can focus on the most crucial aspect of their tasks with minimal or zero disruption for higher productivity and personalized customer service.
  • You can collaborate with your workforce better to discuss the business side of things more often than addressing software issues, which impede the quality of your products and services and your entire business growth.
  • Create compelling and creative marketing strategies, analyze business metrics, and formulate better sales and customer engagement ideas instead of facing system issues every time. 


There are plenty of benefits to investing in custom software. As a business owner, you want to ensure you get everything set right the first time. If you want increased employee productivity, scalability, excellent features, greater security, and cost-effectiveness, getting a custom-built software is a smart decision. In any investment, you usually get what you deserve, and your business deserves the best system for a smoother daily operation and more success.

Easy Tips for Saving Money on Your Next Vacation

The good news is that you don’t have to have a ton of money in order to take a vacation. However, that does mean that you have to think very carefully about how you spend each and every dollar if you want to make the most of your time away from home.

It’s easy to spend way more than you planned for when you’re on vacation, but it’s equally as easy to save gobs of money. That is, as long as you hop in the car, get on the bus, or board that plane prepared.

Here are just a few easy ways you can save big on your next vacation without compromising your experience.

Look for Vacation Packages

Bundling can make things more affordable. It’s why so many travel websites allow you to bundle your plane tickets with rental cars and hotels!

However, you can bundle a lot more than your plane tickets if you want to save money. Many popular vacation destinations offer vacation packages of their own that will help you save.

For example, vacation packages in Williamsburg, VA can include lodging, tickets to area events, tickets to museums, and more. By purchasing them as a bundle, you can save more money than if you bought each one separately.

Make History and Education the Focus

There are a lot of great things you can do while you’re on vacation. In many cases, trips away from home include concerts, shows, and theme parks. There’s no doubt you’ll have fun if you make these things the focus of your trip, but you’re also likely to spend a lot of money.

Instead, make history and education the focus of your trip. Museums are wonderful places to visit when you’re on vacation. You can learn about local history, and they are especially great for children. The best part is, they cost a lot less than other attractions. Some are even free!

Don’t think museums have to be stuffy either. Many areas offer tours of historical landmarks, interactive museums, and outdoor walking tours that are affordable and fun.

Spend Less on Food

Creating a budget and sticking to it is important when it comes to traveling. One area where people spend more money than they would like is food.

If you’re looking for ways to save money on vacation, one of the best ways to do it is to learn how to eat on a budget. Ways to do that include:

  • Taking advantage of free breakfast
  • Making sandwiches in your hotel room for dinner
  • Dining at fancy restaurants for lunch, when menu items are cheaper
  • Avoiding restaurants that are marketed to tourists and eating locally instead
  • Stocking your room with snacks from the grocery store to avoid the vending machine

Pack Light, but Know Exactly What to Pack

Packing light can be a lot more convenient, but it turns out it can save you a lot of money too. For example, if you’re traveling by plane, most seats allow you to bring one bag on board for free. Checked bags cost extra. By getting everything in your carry-on, you can avoid that baggage fee.

Knowing what to pack is just as important as packing light. For example, don’t say you’ll get your toiletries when you arrive. You’ll end up spending precious time shopping for deodorant instead of enjoying your vacation. Not to mention, they are likely to be more expensive at your destination. Pack these items instead.

Choose How You’re Going to Get Around Wisely

There are a lot of US cities that are great for travelers without cars, and there are even more places in Europe where a car isn’t necessary. However, there are plenty of places where a car does seem necessary, and your own vehicle is always convenient.

You can save a lot of money by choosing how you get around at your destination carefully. A car may be convenient, but that doesn’t mean you need to rent one. It doesn’t mean you have to pay a lot to hail a cab or get an Uber either! Most cities have some form of affordable public transportation, while others are pedestrian-friendly. You can also consider renting a bicycle!

Going on vacation shouldn’t mean you have to drain your bank account to have a lot of fun. There are plenty of ways to save, and all that money can really add up. With these tips, you’ll save as much as possible so you can start planning your next vacation sooner rather than later!

How You Can Choose the Best Merchant Services for Your Small Business

When you run a small business, deciding which merchant services you want to use can take considerable time and effort. It might not always be clear which options would be best, and the type of services you use can have a direct effect on whether your payment methods are successful or not. By determining which traits you want your merchant service provider to have, you can make a choice that affects client relationships positively.

Here are some methods for choosing the best merchant services options for your business.

Do they offer real-time reporting?

Technology has made it easier than ever to keep track of which payments were made when. Real-time reporting allows you to access all the information related to your clients and payment data, so you can keep track of incoming and outgoing transactions. You can also narrow down results by time frame, which can make it much simpler to put together invoices and to see if sales have increased for your product or service. If you are collecting customer data, it can be helpful to have it all in one web-based system so you can spend less time on accounting and more time reaching clients.

Do they offer support?

Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with a phone tree rather than a real person when you have billing questions, and your merchant services should be able to provide your customers with actionable information. This might mean that they include one-on-one training or a stocked resource center that can allow a customer to ask questions about your payment system. It can be important to have a full understanding of how payments are made, and your merchant services provider should give you the tools to complete transactions successfully.

Do they provide next-day funding?

As more companies are using payment methods such as PayPal or Venmo, customers now expect their money to go to their bank accounts as quickly as possible. The merchant service you choose to use should also offer this as an option so you can remain competitive with other companies. It is possible that some merchant services charge a fee for next-day deposits, but it is also possible that your business can avoid these, as well. This feature can help to strengthen your relationships with clients and also make it simpler for you to keep track of payments.

Do they provide integration?

If you are going for simplicity for your business’s processes, then it can be important for you to consider what integration programs you might want to use. The right merchant services provider should be able to streamline your entire sales process from beginning to end, while also allowing you to see which areas need improvement. If you find that your system is riddled with duplicate data entry or manual errors, then it can be all the more crucial to think about implementing automation.

In conclusion

Merchant services can help you to create an easier, more direct way to engage with customers. Choosing the right ones can also allow you to develop better results with additional support, next-day funding, and integration.

5 Tips for Getting an Unsecured Loan

An unsecured loan is a loan that is approved without any collateral attached. The lender takes on a lot more risk with this type of loan and because of that, there are certain terms you might have to agree too before the cash is paid out to you. One of the biggest pitfalls of unsecured personal loans is that they often come with a high interest rate attached.

When you are in dire straits or faced with unaffordable or unexpected expenses, a personal loan might be the only option for you. Before a bank or lending institution can approve an unsecured loan, they need some sort of reassurance that you can pay it back. To determine this, several factors are taken into consideration including (but not limited to), your credit score and the outcome of your affordability assessment (your debt-to-income ratio).

You know that a personal unsecured loan is the best option for you, but how do you ensure that your application is approved, especially if you have no collateral to offer? That’s the tricky part and we have 5 tips to share with you, to improve your chances of getting the cash loan you need.

1. Pay your bills on time.

This might not seem like an immediate fix, and it’s not. By paying your bills on time, you will develop a good credit record and this is something that banks and lenders look at. If you show that you can be responsible and pay your accounts on time, every month, your application will be viewed more favourably. Having a good credit score also often means you will be offered a lower interest rate.

2. Show you have a stable income.

Lenders want to know that you are earning enough to pay the installment each month. For this reason, you should include as much detail regarding your income as possible. Don’t just provide your payslip as proof. If you earn any extra money with a part time job or through a side hustle, make sure that you provide those details too.

3. Share the load with a creditworthy friend.

If you have a creditworthy partner, friend, or family member who is willing to co-sign on a personal loan with you, your application will be viewed more favourably. The co-signatory will be confirming that they will pay back the loan amount if you are unable to come up with the payments.

4. Apply with the right lenders.

Not all lenders are the same. Some might turn down your application, while others will give your application and financial status a broader overview. Research which lenders are the most sympathetic while still operating in strict accordance to laws and regulations in the industry. It’s strongly recommended that you first apply for instant cash loans with, if you want the best possible deal and a quick turnaround time on your application.

5. Be honest!

During an affordability assessment you will be asked to make a note of all of your expenses and income. If you fib on this assessment, you could be caught out quite easily when the loan company checks your bank statements or other supporting documentation. Be as honest as possible and don’t expect to loan more than you can realistically afford to repay.

Follow these 5 simple tips to improve your chances of getting an unsecured cash loan as quickly as possible. 

How Certain Factors Influences Your Vehicle Insurance Claims

Probably, there is much that you don’t know about insurance premiums. If you step out to go shopping for a favourable insurance premium, it’s essential that you learn everything an insurance premium entails. There are two factors that affect the cost of your premium. They include raising your deductibles or lowering the amounts of coverage.

It’s challenging to realize that even the overall rate of your car insurance premium is somehow affected by other different factors. However, some of these factors can be controlled while others can’t. Getting to know what affects your rate can assist you to make a steady decision when you plan to acquire an insurance premium. Additionally, you will be aware of exactly what step to take to cut the cost of all the expenses.

Demographic factors.

Such factors include your age, gender, marital status, credit score and your geographical location. All these factors affect your insurance premium in different ways. Let’s take a look at some of these factors in a summary.

Marital status.

Couples are said to be involved in fewer accidents compared to single people. This means that getting married especially for men can lower the insurance premium rates. The rate at which your premium will decrease will also depend on your previous driving history. If it was pathetic, definitely you will have to dig deep. If you are a man whose driving record is clean and has never been involved in an accident, then your premium rates can be cut by half.

Credit score.

Most insurance companies consider your credit score and give it a thought before they finally determine your rate. If you are wondering, there is no specific point where your credit score will start to affect your rate. However, lower scores will translate to higher insurance premiums.

Gender and Age.

Statistically, younger men incur higher rates compared to young women. There is an increase in the number of teenage men that get involved in accidents compared to young girls. Generally, older men have a better reputation for careful driving compared to older women.

However, some evidence compiled suggests that older women are involved in less minor accidents compared to older men. Despite the statistic, the difference in premium is not that drastic.

The place you live in.

Many traffic accidents transpire close to people’s homes. Therefore, the area of your residence will significantly affect your insurance premium. An area that is dense with cars and the population is massive translates to a higher risk of accidents, injuries, theft and collisions.

In some areas, repairing your vehicle is costly compared to other areas. Additionally, some areas are faced with high rates of theft and burglary. Also, in most urban cities, there is an increased number of unemployed persons. This means that there is a high number of uninsured drivers. Most of these drivers can’t afford to ensure their vehicles.


Auto insurance organizations may make correlations between a person’s profession and the risk of an accident. This way they will adjust your premium consequently if they see there are chances of you getting involved in an accident.

A good example is delivery drivers and journalists. These professionals are always on the road travelling to different places. This means that their risk of getting involved in an accident is high. Compared to pilots who only drive between the airport and their home, so they don’t spend much time on the road.

Paramedics, police officers and nuns are always given thumbs up as they are considered responsible and more careful while on the road. Insurance companies view them to be more cautious compared to average drivers.

Factors that are car –related.

The car model that you drive affects your premium rates. Some cars are likely to be stolen. They are costly to repair and even lack safety features that work to prevent the occupant from accidents.

Safety rating.

A vehicle that possesses a high degree of safety features means that there are reduced reasons for having to pay for a passenger’s medical bills. Owning such a vehicle will cost you less when it comes to insurance rates. Possessing a car with less safety rating will mean that you will have to pay more for your insurance.

The size of the vehicle.

Large vehicles are assumed to be safer compared to smaller vehicles. Large vehicles rarely get involved in accidents. This means that larger vehicles with adorable safety ratings are required to pay less when it comes to insurance premiums.

On the other hand, smaller cars, i.e. sports cars are required to pay extra costs compared to larger vehicles. Such car owners are involved in high speeds which mostly result in fatal accidents. It’s for this reason that most insurance companies take caution.

The age of the car.

Car repairs are similar. The cost of repairing an old car is almost the same as that of a new one. However, in the event that an older car is involved in an accident, the expense of carrying out the repairs might be higher than the vehicles worth. In such an event, the owner will likely discard the vehicle and request to be compensated with a new one instead of repairing.

The cost of replacing a new car is elevated. It’s more costly compared to replacing an old car. A newer car has a higher coverage premium. What you should know is that paying an insurance premium is a burden that you have to bear for owning a car. Therefore, it’s up to you to do all it takes to have a lower rate that will be beneficial to you.

Should You File for Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy is a major decision. It damages your credit and seriously impedes your chances of getting a loan. Yet, it might be your best option. If you’ve gone through all of your debt-relief options and still feel as though you’re buried, there’s not much that you can do.

Ultimately, bankruptcy is your chance to start over. It’s your second chance. The path won’t be easy but if you’re smart you can create a strong financial future for yourself.

Reasons to File

It might be easier to keep your head in the sand, but it’d healthier to face your problems. One of the most common reasons to file for bankruptcy is medical debt. When it comes to your health, you can’t pull punches. It doesn’t matter if you have great insurance or if you’re uninsured, you have to get medical treatment.

Unfortunately, health problems can interfere with your ability to work. This makes it even harder to keep up with your bills. If you’re lucky, your boss will be understanding and you’ll be able to hold on to your position.

If you’re not, you’ll lose your job.

There are other reasons why you might not be able to repay your debts. These include your home is being foreclosed, you’re living entirely on credit, and you’re being sued by your creditors.

You should carefully review your situation before you decide to file bankruptcy, even if you’re sure it’s what you want to do. You want to make sure that all other options are exhausted before you commit to this step.


Okay. You’re in a rough financial position. Do you have any options besides bankruptcy? It depends on the state of your case and how dire things have truly become. However, it’s worth it to at least consider if there’s something else you can do.

You can try tightening your budget. No more trips to the movie theater, no more coffee during your morning commute. Cut your spending to the absolute minimum. You might have to make more serious financial adjustments as well, like downsizing your home and selling your car.

If slashing your budget isn’t enough to do the trick, you can try picking up extra work. Getting a second or third job isn’t fun but it could get you out of your difficulties. A solution is to become a rideshare driver. Then you don’t have to worry about scheduling conflicts.

A strategy that could work for you is to negotiate with your creditors. They’ll often accept a payment plan. Just make sure that you don’t agree to something you can’t stick to. Otherwise, you’ll end up in the exact same spot.

Be wary of credit counselors that promise amazing things. A good one acts as an advocate on your behalf in dealings with your creditors. A bad one charges you a lot of money and doesn’t do anything at all.

Do You Qualify?

Everyone can’t file bankruptcy. You have to meet certain standards. There are two types of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. They each have their own specific rules.

You can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you can’t afford to pay your bills. You’re completely swamped by your living expenses and have no way to repay your debts.

You also have to earn less than a set amount. The court will determine if your position is as dire as you claim.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for people who have a job and are earning income. They must have less than $394,725 of unsecured debts and less than $1,184,200 of secured debt.

Contact an Attorney

If you seriously think that bankruptcy is your best option, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney. He or she can explain your options and help you achieve your goal. An attorney might be able to help you discharge your debt as well.

Going through a financial upheaval is incredibly difficult. It can mess with your stress level as you’re eaten up with worries about money. However, bankruptcy isn’t the end of the world. You can completely recover.

In order for that to happen, you need to be smart with your finances. You’ll have to submit to a strict financial plan. It won’t be a lot of fun but it will slowly improve your credit.

You can speak with a professional to determine if filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you. If it is, it’s better to get started as soon as possible.

The average UK debt stands at an astonishing £15,400

According to the Trade Unions Congress (TUC), UK homes now owe an average of £15,385 to places such as banks, credit card companies and other lenders. They have also said that debts for households in the UK have reached an all-time high. Furthermore, the TUC have stated that due to years of wage stagnation and austerity measures in place, household debt has increased rapidly as a result of households being forced into raising the amount that they borrow.

According to the TUC, in the 3rd quarter of the past year, the amount of money that was owed by households in Britain had risen by £428 billion. It was stated that roughly each household owed around £886 pounds than they did in the previous 12 months. The statistics released by the TUC include student loans but not outstanding mortgage debts.

It was also recorded that levels of unsecured debt as a share of incomes of households is at the highest level that it has ever been at, around 30.4% including short term loans, personal loans and credit cards. The TUC have also stated that the amounts owed by debtors is significantly higher than the £286 billion peak in 2008 before the effects of the financial crisis came into play.

This highlights the role of using lower cost alternatives such as borrowing from family and friends, credit unions or where possible, using payday loans comparison websites which have helped customers save on average £120 per loan.

Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, has warned that household debt is at “levels of crisis.” She believes that the many years of wage stagnation and austerity measures have left many families in vulnerable situations. O’Grady also said that she thinks the government is “skating on thin ice” by relying on debts accumulated by households to stimulate economic growth and she stated that a strong economy needs people to be spending their wages rather than credit cards and loans.

It is expected that today graduates who leave University, are not only leaving with a degree but also 50,000 pounds in debt. Although, the students are not subject to making repayments on their loans until they earn over £25,000 pounds. This has been recently changed from £21,000.

Sacred Guide To Choosing The Right Term Life Insurance

While planning to buy insurance, you have to think carefully about your families needs, their lifestyle, your current age, your budget, your gender, your current health, extraordinary and unforeseen expenses such as mortgage balloon payments, medical emergencies and the costs of sending your colour kids to college.

There is simply a lot to think about when assessing your insurance needs, and it’s often not easy to do so until you put it all down on paper. Buying any form of life insurance is a decision, which may affect you and your family for 30 years or more into the future and you certainly don’t want to just wing it. Below are several considerations to think about carefully when deciding upon the amount your family may need to live comfortably in the unfortunate situation where you may pass away.

Your age

Quite obviously, if you buy your term policy at age 25 and you are a healthy non-smoker, you’ll pay a lot less than if you are age 50 and have high blood pressure or other warning signs of congenital disease in the future.

Your gender

Women simply live longer than men, so you may need to stretch the amount of insurance your spouse and her children, if any, are expected to need by an extra 10 or 15 years if the insurance is purchased to protect your wife.

Your lifestyle

Here is often where the rubber meets the road. Assessing realistically what type of lifestyle the surviving spouse will have in the future. Do you live in a palatial home, regularly take exotic ski vacations or, as is often the case, do you live an excellent lifestyle but only because both you and your spouse work? It’s not often easy to talk about how your lifestyle would change if one of you passed away but it’s a necessary factor in choosing life insurance.

Budget vs lifestyle

Buying term life insurance is akin to buying a new pair of shoes. One size, colour, and style of shoe do not fit all. Another consideration is budget vs lifestyle. Are your finances stretched so that even a modest insurance premium seems to be a pinch? Imagine then the upheaval your spouse would undergo if you vastly underinsured or even skipped your life insurance needs entirely?

Your health

Assessing your health or the health of your spouse can also become a “come to Jesus moment.” Do you or your spouse smoke or are heavy drinkers? Do breast cancer, prostate cancer or strokes and heart attacks run in your family genetics? Do you have any dangerous hobbies such as paragliding, skiing, or do one or both of you ride to work on a motorcycle? These are all critical elements to help self-assess the risk of dying earlier in your life.

Changing family needs

Another thing to assess is the changing needs of your family. Did you just give birth to a child or adopt. Did you recently purchase a home and want to be sure that the house is paid for in the unfortunate result of you are passing? Did it only recently occur to you that your son or daughter will attend university and modern colleges are much more expensive than you thought? There are dozens of conditions that cause one to go reexamine their life insurance needs, so even if you have life insurance, periodically look at it with fresh eyes to see if your insurance needs an update.

Is my work coverage enough?

Many people work for companies that offer life insurance at a competitive group rate. So they sign up for it at age 23 or 24 and that’s the first and last time they look at it. And while having insurance through work is great, it’s quite frequently no longer enough for a worker who has since gotten married, had children, and he or his spouse has undergone a worsening health situation. As mentioned before, be sure to reexamine and reevaluate any life insurance policy you have frequently.

Simple Dollar’s Life Insurance Tips

Besides affordability, savvy insurance shoppers would be wise to consult an independent insurance agency regarding the time of payout in case of the passing of your loved one as well as an honest assessment of their insurability. Some insurance companies can take two or three years to pay out rather than doing so immediately, and others make any health risks either completely restrictive, or they make the insurance so unaffordable it’s simply a losing proposition. If you have any type of health risks, you want an honest assessment by a reputable insurance company.

A One-Stop Guide To Productive Invoice Financing

For those who may not know, invoice financing can be simply described as the financing of unpaid invoices which is to be paid within a short period of time. And what makes it very important is the fact that you won’t have to wait for it to be approved like you normally would when it comes to securing a loan from a bank or any other lending institutions.

So, apart from being fast as far as approval is concerned, there are other reasons why you need to consider invoice financing as part of your day to day business practices:


Invoice Financing Promotes Business Growth

If you happen to be the sole owner of a startup and would love for your business to grow at an exponential rate, then one of the ways you hark this is through invoice financing. And how is this even possible you might ask? Well, it’s quite easy, to be honest.

For a business to grow on a steady, upward trend, it needs some good cash flow. And one way of having good cash flow is through invoice financing. With this kind of cash flow, it would be a tad easier for you to pay off all your suppliers and have everything operating smoothly.

You’ll also avoid the stress that comes with not having enough money to run your business and thus have enough time to operate optimally. Needless to say, this will end up increasing your productivity in the long run.


Only Make Payments When You Can

The main reason why you should consider practising invoice financing is that more often than not, there usually isn’t any pressure to pay back. This because it’s only payable when your clients have cleared the tab.

And so with the pressure of creditors knocking at your door after every couple of days gone, you can easily focus on what really matters, and that’s growing your business.

Apart from being spared from the stress that comes with fixed-term payments, you’ll always have the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the cash flow in your business since, well, you don’t have to make any payments until the clients clear it for you. Trust me, it doesn’t get any cooler than this!


You’ll Be More Comfortable in Taking Bigger Risks

Another reason why most startups are afraid to take bigger risks is simply that they don’t have the monetary resource of doing so. and as you know what the dictum says, ‘bigger risks equal bigger rewards’.

But thanks to invoice financing options, you can be encouraged to take that risk which, if backed up with the right kind of hard work, will most certainly end up in paying off big-time.


Invoice Financing Is Way Convenient

Long gone are the days when you had to leave your office and queue at a bank just so you can apply for a loan, which is highly likely to be rejected because you are a struggling startup. But with invoice financing, you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your office.

This is because you can do all the application online and have the money wired to your bank account. If you do this right, you can have your application approved in a matter of hours which is a far cry from the normal loans that might even take weeks or worse, months.


Eliminate The Likelihood of Accumulating Bad Debts

Nothing damages your business more than accumulating bad debts. Heck, even a single bad debt on your resume can scare off both the prospective clients as well as lenders. And that’ll be the beginning of your end as an entrepreneur.

But with invoice financing, the likelihood of accumulating bad debts is completely taken out of the equation. For instance, you’ll have the chance to have the balance cleared as soon as the clients make the necessary payments.

Also as mentioned earlier, it is quite important for you to take short term loans since you can really be sure about what will happen in the long run because fate takes twists and not all twists are good ones. It’s therefore safe for you to always be prepared.



After going through all the above mentioned financial benefits that are attached to invoice finance, it shouldn’t be that much of a problem securing one whenever the need arises. But if this ever happens, it would be a great idea for you to take your time and carry out in-depth research.

The last thing you want to do is getting a lender who doesn’t have your best interests at heart. And once you’ve found a great lender, then your next order of business should be choosing to finance the invoice with the highest urgency.

The others which aren’t on top of your list of priorities can wait for the right time since failure to finance them on time would do little to nothing as far as affecting your business is concerned.

The Best Merchant Card Machines for Small Businesses in the UK

In today’s complicated and developing business environment merchant card machines can help give your business that badly needed boost. For those who are wondering how these payment terminals achieve this, read on to find out more about how your business can profit with a PDQ machine.

Regardless of the size of your business, statistics have shown that merchant card machines can help increase your customer base by as much as 70 percent. Business has become more dynamic than ever before, and if businesses don’t upgrade to the usage of these machines, they fail to benefit from these transactions.

Let’s face it, this is a consumer’s market, and customers need ease of transactions, and large cash transactions are way too inconvenient. Here, we’ve outlined everything you need to accept card payments, including the best card machine options for small businesses in the UK:

How do I Accept Card Payments in My Small Business?

If you want to accept card payments, you’ll not only need a payment terminal – there’re other things you need to sort out first.


  • Merchant Account


The merchant account is a protected account where money from clients sits while the payment is approved. It’ll be provided by your payment service provider or bank and is a requirement for receiving card payments.


  • Payment Gateway


The payment gateway is the part of the chain that authorizes the payment. Your payment service provider or bank provides this together with your merchant account.


  • Card Machine


Lastly, you need the payment terminal. There’s a range of PDQ machine options for small businesses on the market, from inexpensive budget options to feature-heavy full point-of-sale systems.

The following is a roundup of the best merchant card machines for small business in the UK:

Top 5 Merchant Card Machines

Are you on the hunt for an affordable way to start accepting card payments? Then have a look at the following 5 merchant card machines:


  • iZettle Reader


iZettle is a well-liked card machine option for small businesses in the UK. This card reader is sleek, small, and is one of the most inexpensive options on the market.


  • Battery life of up to eight hours
  • Accepts magnetic stripe, contactless and chip, and pin payments
  • 12-month warranty
  • Money deposited within 1-2 business days
  • Connects through Bluetooth with your tablet or smartphone
  • Free POS App
  • It’s incredibly fast.
  • You can send receipt through Email or SMS


  • PayPal Here


Though not as competitively rated as the iZettle payment terminal, it does benefit from integration with PayPal, one of the best online payment methods. If you already have a PayPal account set up for your business, this payment terminal might be a good option.


  • Accept contactless and card payments with no monthly fees
  • Payments reach your PayPal almost instantly
  • Works with Android Pay and Apple Pay
  • A UK-based customer support team
  • No fixed contract
  • The machine is cheap


  • SumUp


Although SumUp may be less recognizable than the two previous options, it’s the most economical app-based card machine in the UK. SumUp is the best alternative to iZettle for businesses, but their current transaction fees are slightly higher.


  • Lowest fixed fee: 1.69% per transaction
  • Very simple payment app
  • Accept all credit and debit cards
  • No fixed monthly costs
  • 100% online application with no paperwork and no contract
  • Allows Bluetooth connection and is compatible with Android and iOS phones and tablets


  • Square


This PDQ machine is the smallest, most lightweight card reader on this list. It’s literally a square-shaped plastic payment terminal that is white all over, but the technology makes it just as reliable as bigger card readers.


  • The most comprehensive free app
  • Keyed-in payments possible
  • Accepts contactless cards, chip and PIN cards, and other mobile payments
  • Accept American Express, MasterCard and Visa
  • Comes with a free point-of-sale app
  • Can also be used to sell by phone, online and collect payments via invoices


  • WorldPay


WorldPay is the UK’s biggest card processing company and also offers an assortment of other PDQ machines and merchant services for both online and offline payment processing.


  • Compatible with all iOS and Android devices
  • 24/7phone support
  • Fees depend on turnover and more
  • Accept payments over the phone or face-to-face
  • Issues receipts via SMS or email
  • Keypad comes with a 12-month warranty

What is the Cheapest Card Reader for Small Businesses in the UK?

The lowest priced card reader in the UK, in terms of upfront cost, is the iZettle reader which goes for £19 + VAT. It also offers very competitive card transaction fees (1.75% flat fee), but not the absolute lowest. To get that you either have to go SumUp (1.69% flat fee) or PayPal Here (as low as 1.00%).

Which is the Best Card Reader for Small Businesses in the UK?

While all of the 5 PDQ machines highlighted above are great and allow your small business to accept card payments, the iZettle card reader is perhaps the best choice. Not only is it the well recognized, but at just £19 + VAT it’s very cheap to try out. And they offer transparent pricing and among the most affordable fees.

Final Verdict


  • IZettle: Ideal if you just need a card reader.
  • Square: Ideal if you need more than just a payment terminal.
  • SumUp: perfect for getting started.
  • PayPal Here: Best if you need online integration with PayPal.
  • WorldPay: Best suited for businesses that need to accept phone payments or those who want to work with a recognized brand.

There is clearly a lot to process when it boils down to payment processing and card readers. Pat yourself on the back for making it this far; hopefully, you’re more confident about your knowledge of merchant card machines.

Ensure you’ve understood what each company charges for different transactions and what may be the ideal option for your business. Also, don’t ignore things like customer service repute. It’s a very competitive market, and you can make sure you get a payment terminal that can best help your small business flourish.