Category: Legal Branding

Legal Branding

Equity Release Schemes For The Elderly

The average life expectancy of people across the globe has increased over the last few decades thanks to modern medicine and nutrition. That means being old does not mean living on pills and resting the whole day. People are healthier, agile and active and post-retirement they look to accomplish things they could not during their working days. They are taking up new sports, going on international vacations and much more. But these involve considerable expense which their retirement savings may not be able to afford. 

What is Equity Release?

Equity release schemes are products that help the homeowner over the age of 55 years to use the money (equity) tied up to their homes to come up with income for their needs without having to relocate. Many elderly homeowners are looking to release tax-free cash from their assets through equity release, and the money borrowed can be taken as a lump sum or in installments or a combination of both.  There are mainly two types of equity release options:

  • Lifetime mortgage
  • Home reversion

Lifetime mortgage

In this type of scheme the loan is secured on your home provided you have the ownership and this amount need not be rapid till the end of the mortgage term or till the property is sold or the borrower dies or moves to a care home. This option is further categorized into: 

  • An interest roll-up mortgage: The interest gets added to the principal amount and the entire amount has to be paid at the end of the mortgage term or when the house is sold. The loan can be availed as a lump-sum or as a regular payment. 
  • Interest-paying mortgage: The interest does not roll-up on the money borrowed as the payments are made on a monthly or ad-hoc basis. The principal loan is recovered when the house is sold or the mortgage term ends. The loan can be taken as a lump sum, and some options allow you to pay off the capital too before the end of the term. 

Home reversion

In this type of scheme, the complete or a part of the home is sold to a reversion company. That company will in return provide payment in lumpsum or in installments. A lease will be granted to the homeowners so that they can remain in the home for the rest of their lives, a more detailed synopsis can be seen here on how the scheme works.  After the company sells the property post the death of the owner or when moved to permanent care, the reversion company gets the proceeds depending on the share of the property sold. 

Who can get an equity revision scheme?

There are a few conditions to be eligible for this scheme:

  • For a lifetime mortgage, the borrower should be 55 years of age or more.
  • For a home reversion plan, the borrower should be 65 years or older. 
  • The property you are using for equity revision should be your main residence and should be in good condition
  • It is not suitable if you have dependants
  • If there is an earlier loan on the property, the value of equity release will be based on the current market value of your home and the outstanding loan amount. 

If you decide to go for an equity revision scheme consult a specialist to understand if it is right for you. 

Digital BrandingLegal BrandingPersonal Branding

9 Rules to Create an Awesome Business Website

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • 9 Rules to create an awesome business website
  1. Define your website’s purpose
  2. Pick an easy-to-remember domain
  3. Get an eye-catching logo
  4. Make your website mobile-friendly
  5. Keep the pages uncluttered
  6. Keep it easy to navigate
  7. Place your contact details above the fold
  8. Have a clean & compelling CTA
  9. Keep your website’s design simple
  • The final word

Introduction

In today’s fast-changing business ecosystem, an online presence is a must for any business — from brick-to-mortar. No matter whether you’re a seasoned business owner, if you have not created an effective website yet in this changing environment, you may lose significant business opportunities.

So no matter whether you’re just getting off or an established business owner having no online presence, building a website is inevitable. As per a recent study published by Bazaarvoice, online research greatly impacts the in-store shopping decisions. The report, The Robo Economy demonstrates that about 82 percent of smartphone users consult their phones on shopping they’re going to make in-store, while around 45 percent read reviews before they purchase.

Considering the latest shopping trends, having a business website to attract buyers is crucial to growing your business. But what are the fundamentals of creating one such website? For many business owners, creating a website seems daunting. They think that creating a website needs extraordinary skills and cutting-edge tools and technologies. But it’s not true. You’ll need to know just a few rules to create a powerful business website.

Here are the top 9 rules to create an awesome business website:

1. Define your website’s purpose

Before you go ahead with the website development, it’s important to identify the purpose of your website. What do want to achieve?

You must clearly understand what your USP (unique selling point) is and what is your plan to come across. Merely knowing your industry and determining the content strategy is not enough.

Once your fundament purpose is defined, your focus should shift towards determining the actions that you want from your visitors to take after they land on your site. Is the website just for information, or to sell products/services, or to get signups?

The answers to those questions will significantly give you an overall idea of how your website design should be.

2. Pick an easy-to-remember domain

Selecting a domain for your website is tricky. Your domain or web address should be so easy and sticky that anyone after seeing it can remember for a longer period. Don’t include any number as it can confuse surfers and dashes. Also, such web addresses are not SEO-friendly.

Pick a dot com domain as most people are familiar with this extension.

3. Get an eye-catching logo

Images and symbols are the most effective way of communicating your message. A logo, which is often called the face of the company, is crucial to convince your customers. People will make a perception of your company based on your logo. In fact, a logo should be one of the most essential branding investments. You must not create your logo design casually.

Apart, you should also take care of other graphic design elements of your website. If you’re not sure which graphic design and logo fit your business website, hire a professional graphic designer to get them done.

4. Make your website mobile-friendly

The number of Smartphone users worldwide is growing rapidly. As per the Statista, Generation Z shoppers use a Smartphone while making an in-store purchase. They use smartphones for comparing products’ features, prices, and reviews. Therefore, it becomes imperative to have a smartly designed mobile responsive website for your business if you plan to run a successful business venture.

5. Keep the pages uncluttered

Studies have suggested that website visitors love to read clear, precise and short information. A website having too much and irrelevant information, it simply diverts visitors’ mind which leads to increased bounce rate. Give ample blank space on your web pages to breathe in. Also, whitespace increases the readability of your copy. Make sure that text and graphics on your web page are in good proportion and present a clean page.

Brainstorm if your website really needs social widgets like Tweeter feed etc. If the widget content doesn’t meet your purpose, remove it right away to make your page clutter-free.

6. Keep it easy to navigate

Creating a different website by using attractive Flash presentations may look tempting, but it might be a little difficult for your customers to quickly find what they are looking for. Therefore, it’s always advised to take the medium route when it comes to your site navigation. You should use drop-down lists with clear headings which present on every page of your website, incorporate a site map and the search bar at the top right-hand side so that it can be easily traced.

7. Place your contact details above the fold

What’s the benefit of having a website if no one knows how to get in touch with you? Of course, such a website is of no use. In fact, a website must include a “Contact Us” tab on your home page. Make sure that the contact us page contains information such as your address, phone number / mobile number and email address so that your potential customers can easily reach you out should there be any business related query.

Also, put social media links, either at the header or footer, if you use social media to connect with clients.

8. Have a clean & compelling CTA

Once the visitors have found something interesting on your website, you would like them to take an action — buy a product/service, call, sign up or download. Make sure that all of your pages have relevant call-to-action buttons/links that are clear. Also, the area around the CTAs must be clutter-free. If possible, keep them above the fold so that visitors do not have to scroll down to find the call to action.

9. Keep your website’s design simple

Avoid using fonts, colors and animated gifs which you think can distract visitors from the focus point. Keep the paragraphs short and informative, the ideal length of a paragraph is less than six sentences. Also, use bullet points that draw readers’ attention thus increasing readability.

The final word

Having a website for every business is crucial in the present day shopping environment where most shoppers search online before they finally reach a buying decision. This article aims at guiding new entrepreneurs and established business owners with no online presence alike to create an awesome business website. I hope these 9 simple rules will guide you through the process.

Cheers!

About the author

Campbell Joef is a graphic designer and blogger associated with Designhill.com , a custom designs marketplace, I generally write on topics custom clothing, concerning design and education logo, ecommerce, start-ups, small business.

Legal BrandingPersonal Branding

Importance of ID Badges in Company Branding

The use of ID badges in all companies regardless of how big, small, or what they do is highly recommended. Any company that is not using them is missing an opportunity to take its brand to higher marketing levels. These badges have a significant impact in brand creation and promotion. Beginners have a better opportunity to compete with big brands if their employees and visitors are wearing branded ID badges.

Preparing the Right ID Badge for Branding

It all starts by preparing the ID badge that your business deserves. The procedure requires innovative minds and a reputable design and printing expert.

The journey starts with the preparation of the company logo. The company theme colors should be maintained, but they should be vibrant and clear. A visible logo that strikes a balance between size and visibility is perfect.

You should utilize both sides of the ID badge when you want to brand your company. While the main face of these promotional badges should have the name of the employee and logo, the backside can have less important information like a bar code to access the doors. This will leave the front face for the logo and perhaps the company slogan.

Many people ignore the ID badge strap, but this is another opportunity to promote your brand. Although it should not be too wide, medium-width straps can also be printed with the company name and logo for more promotion.

The last consideration to make is to ensure that the ID badge is durable. Both the design and the material used play a significant role in this. Thus, working closely with reputable experts will be a benefit to this project.

Why ID Badges are Important in a Company

As mentioned, the primary goal is to increase brand recognition. Yes, any visitor or person who interacts with your employees will note your newly designed logo, slogan, message, or any other information. They can remember the name of the company once they see it on the badge. But this badge goes way beyond this.

  • Improves employee confidence – A good ID badge displays the identity and sometimes the title of the employee. As they work, they feel that they are an important part of the company. Therefore, they will serve the company with a high level of confidence. This creates an excellent brand ambassador in the long run.
  • Better customer relations – Both customers and employees relate well when there is an identity. Many customers feel better when they know the name of the employee who is serving them. Because the badge increases employee confidence, the level of customer satisfaction increases as well.

Conclusion

All companies should have an ID badge for all employees. They are an excellent brand promotional tool that serves many other purposes as well. As seen from the above insights, it is easy to create a useful ID badge design if you use reputable designers. When the project is completed, you will definitely enjoy the fruits that will come forth.

Legal Branding

5 Factors Affecting the Success of Your Small Business

Being a business owner sure does sound nice. Not only that you get to be your own boss but there’s also a potentially unlimited income that we all dream of. Contrary to what many people believe, there’s much more to running a business than coming up with a good product idea. There are many factors that contribute to how successful your small business will be and being aware of them is a huge plus. With that said, let’s take a look at five factors affecting the success of your small business.

Goals

Ask any entrepreneur out there and they’ll tell you that setting business goals is a must when running an organization. It’s just that without a list of clearly-defined goals, you and your team members simply won’t know what to strive for in your operations. Not to mention that by not setting goals, you actually make it more difficult for you and your employees to stay motivated. If you don’t have one already, make sure you come up with a list of realistic goals for your business and revisit it every now and then.

Marketing

Another thing no business can survive without is marketing. Obviously, your goal is to attract as many customers as you can and maximize your profit. In order to do this, you first have to know more about your customers and develop the right marketing strategy for your business. Luckily, small businesses can now promote their products breaking the bank. For example, you can set up social media pages for your business and use them to interact with people on the web. Plus, there are traditional marketing channels such as radio commercials and promotional products.

Finances

There’s no need to say that money is the most important thing in any business. If your company isn’t making money, there’s no point in operating. Dealing with business finances isn’t easy and it’ll probably take you some time to get a hang of it. Just have in mind that keeping your personal and business finances is recommended as it makes doing your taxes much easier. Another smart thing for business owners to do is invest things earnings in things such as forex. Connect with experts at Ever Forex and you’ll be able to make just enough to help your business move forward.

Business relationships

Knowing the right people can do your business a huge favor. There are so many small businesses out there and by connecting with other entrepreneurs, you open up new opportunities for your business. For example, you and another company can start a buddy marketing system where you promote each other’s products for free. One of the best ways to meet the right people is to attend networking events and be on social media platforms such as LinkedIn.

Employees

Chances are you’ve already heard people say that your employees are your most valuable asset. They’re right. Without your staff members, the company wouldn’t be able to operate and you’d be forced to shut down. Some entrepreneurs believe they can do everything themselves but they soon realize that wearing all the hats is just impossible. Bringing in the right people, on the other hand, is quite easy and it allows you to focus all your time and energy on your core operations. Be careful when conducting interviews and do everything that’s in your power to keep your employees happy.

Over to you

The life of a business owner isn’t as easy as some people would have you believe. Only by keeping a close eye on each of these factors do you get to see your business become relevant in the industry and start competing with large corporations.

Legal BrandingLocal Branding

10 Tips To Accelerate The Growth Of Your Business

Building traffic to your site is a necessary part of doing business that can be achieved by accomplishing one task at a time. Very rarely does a website become an instant hit and go from no visitors to 50k overnight.

Take advantage of traffic in the organic listings with a ranking on the first page of search results. 70-80% of people focus on organic listings because they believe they are more inclined to find credible information than the paid listings.

In fact, organic traffic represents a 5.66% more times the opportunity than a paid advertisement. 

Push your site to the top of the SERP’s by incorporating the following tips and strategies that will give your website more ranking ability to drive more traffic.

  1. Perform regular maintenance
  2. Make your site faster
  3. Improve mobile-friendliness
  4. Assign your keywords
  5. Establish search intent
  6. Link to and from internal pages
  7. Use alternate forms of media
  8. Optimize for SERP features
  9. Improve your credibility
  10. Build an audience

Perform regular maintenance

Establish a regular routine for when you run a site audit to avoid any errors that may contribute to a drop in ranking. As time goes on, every website will begin to generate errors-especially if there is content being added regularly. Errors could be anything from indexing issues to duplicate content.

An SEO consultant will run a site audit before the start of an SEO campaign. This keeps the data on the new project accurate and relevant. Eliminate any errors that arise before the campaign starts so there is no interference with how the page is being ranked.

Here are a couple of tools you can use to create a report on the errors your site is generating:

Make your site faster

Page speed is an on-going battle and should be a regular item on your to-do list. There is always something you can do to make your site faster. Google has openly stated that page speed is a ranking factor they use so staying below the industry average (three seconds) is one way to give your website a competitive edge.

Run a page speed test on any of the following sites to get a score on the speed of your site and the details for what exactly is slowing your site down. You can use any one of the following tools:

There might be items in your report that are complicated to fix however there are changes you will be able to make to improve the speed of your site. 

For example, the size of images is a major issue that slows down a lot of sites. Using a tool of your choice you can replace your images with smaller versions to speed up how fast they load.

Here a few tools to use:

For the other items on your report, you may see things like inline and minify CSS and JavaScript. These may present more problems if you’re not savvy in speaking those languages. There are plugins and CDN (content delivery network) solutions that can help to do most of the heavy lifting for those issues. 

Try using W3 Cache plugin, as it’s the most widely used for many of the issues that slow down the load time (minifies HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) This plugin can also be integrated with your CDN.

Cloudflare is a popular choice in CDN’s and they offer a free version that is effective in improving your page speed, security, and overall website performance.

Improve mobile-friendliness

Canonical tested one million websites for mobile-friendliness and found that 24% of the website failed the test. This statistic shows the opportunity to outperform competitors in mobile-friendliness.

Image source: https://canonicalized.com/mobile-friendly-study/

Although 99% of websites made today are made for mobile devices, there are sometimes structural elements that should be addressed to make your site mobile-friendly. Test your site out on Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to get a score for the mobile-friendliness of your website.

There may be small adjustments to make that would improve the user experience and make your site more competitive. 

Common issues on responsive sites include buttons being too close together or script running too close to the edges of the screen. Issues like these are small adjustments for your developer and will contribute to your competitiveness.

Assign your keywords

Every piece of content that is created for a website should start with extensive keyword research. This is to determine the best target keyword to optimize for as well as the keyword cluster to include on your page.

If two or more pages are optimized for the same keyword, it leads to keyword cannibalization. This will restrict rankings when search engines see two or more pages competing with each other.

Optimize your pages for a target keyword that includes the keyword synonyms associated with your topic. Make sure each page is optimized for a different keyword cluster in order to give it the most competitive edge.  

Establish search intent

Semantic search has forced the need for deeper levels of research in order for a website to appear in a top-ranked position. Search engines are ranking pages that can best answer a query based on the content they’ve provided.   

Your content must be able to satisfy the user who searches your keyword. If the content on your page leads a user to bounce from your site and continue looking elsewhere they obviously were not satisfied with what you’re providing.

The ability to satisfy search intent is a major ranking criterion that is measured through the content provided and the engagement statistics it generates. Dwell time, click-through rate and bounce rate are all measures of how much a user liked what your site offered.

Get to the source of search intent by finding exactly what users typing in your keyword want to read about. You may be offering the product they ultimately will buy but finding what content they engage in reading about your product will boost the interest people have in your content. 

Search forums and social media groups to see the pressing issues and problems people face so you can write about the solutions to those problems in your content.

Link to and from internal pages

Using internal links will enhance the optimization of your pages and spread link equity to give your pages more authority.

Use keyword anchor text links to signal what the page is about and lead users to related content that they will find helpful or interesting. 

Signal the importance of a page to your site can be emphasized by the number of links pointing to it from other pages within your site. Create the hierarchy of pages within your site by linking to the most important pages the most times.

Use alternate forms of media

Increased competition and a growing awareness of SEO has placed even more emphasis on producing original content that stands out from the competition. Use alternate forms of media to make your content stand out and rank higher in the search results.

People retain 65% of the information from articles with images as opposed to 10% without images. Videos are shared 12X more on social media than links and text posts combined. Podcasts are also taking off with more Americans listening more frequently (up 32% on a monthly basis) than ever before. 

Use as many variations of media when it comes to differentiating your content from your competition. Use what your competitors are using AND what they’re not using to outperform their pages in every way possible.

Optimize for SERP features

For the first time ever, in 2019 Google searches have produced more than 50% zero-click searches. That means that more than half of the searches that are made on Google end up on a Google property with no click at all made to any websites.

The emergence of featured snippets, local packs, knowledge cards are all sucking away the clicks that can be made to any organic listings. If you aren’t optimized for the SERP feature that appears for your keyword, you’re losing out on targeted traffic.

One of the highest converting sources of traffic is from localized searches. 46% of all searches have local intent making local SEO a lucrative addition to driving traffic to your site.

Improve your credibility

Backlinks are still one of the largest ranking factors search engines use to determine the credibility and authority of your website. Ahrefs studied almost a billion pages and concluded that more backlinks equals a higher ranking.

Choose from a variety of methods to build links to your page. The more links you build the more authority your page receives. Get your links from credible sites within the same niche. Keep in mind that websites with higher DA will have a bigger impact on your ranking and improve your site’s authority.

Build an audience

One of the best ways to instantly get eyes on your content is to post to your social media network. If you don’t have one it’s never too late to build one.

Social signals are a ranking factor so it definitely helps to have people sharing your page, however, the real value is in the traffic that flows to your page. Increased traffic brings more potential for new clients and a higher likelihood of your page being linked to by another website.

Continue to stay active in the social media site that is best suited to your industry. If you are producing good content, your audience will build over time and become an incredible asset for traffic generation.

Conclusion

These strategies are among the most influential ranking signals that contribute to pushing your site up in the rankings. Accomplishing each strategy effectively will move the needle and get your site to the first page of results, generate more traffic and fuel the growth of your company.

Christian Carere is an SEO consultant and the owner of Digital Ducats Inc. Christian specializes in SEO services custom-designed to improve traffic and lead generation.

Legal BrandingLocal BrandingPersonal Branding

7 Tips for Becoming a Successful Brand Manager

A career in marketing is one of the most lucrative ideas that an aspiring professional should have in the business world. Why? Well, because there are more enterprises out there than ever before and even one-person startups often need consultation services from renowned brand managers. Still, how does one become a brand manager or, even more importantly, how does one become successful and gains renown in this field? Well, here are the top seven tips for becoming a successful brand manager.

1. Get some formal education

The first thing you need to do in order to be taken seriously in this field or even get a chance is to get some form of formal education. At the very least, you need a Bachelor’s degree in a field that’s relevant to branding or marketing. So, business, administration, or science are your safest bets. Science is particularly effective, seeing as how an efficient brand manager spends so much time analyzing and interpreting harvested data. Also, make sure that the university that you go to has all the right reputation and accreditation. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle. 

2. Develop a necessary skillset

As always, a degree can only get you so far. In order to really make it in the field, you need to possess the right skillset. When it comes to being a brand manager, you need to have great analytical skills and attention to detail. Also, you need to possess a thirst for knowledge and self-improvement, seeing as how trends evolve and new emerge on a daily basis. Then, you need to know how to do the right budgeting and be resourceful with the budget you have. Lastly, you need to be creative and possess the right team working (even leadership) skills. With all of this under your belt, you just can’t fail.

3. Get some experience in the field

The next thing you need to understand is that no one has ever started as a brand manager. Before that, you need some experience in the field, in the form of an entry-level job or at least an internship at the esteemed branding agency. Then, you need a letter of recommendation (or a couple of them) as well as a professional portfolio. Any major project that you’ve collaborated on needs to be listed. Even more importantly, you need to understand that you’re not really doing this for the portfolio. You’re doing it for experience, so try to learn something from each of these projects.

4. Get tech-savvy

Due to the fact that you’ll mostly work in a digital environment (via collaboration tool) and employ services of those from the same branch, it’s incredibly important that you get tech-savvy as quickly as possible. Your smartphone is your office and the more specialized tools you get to use, the greater your efficiency will be. Even your payments need to become smarter, which is why you might want to apply for  a payroll card. With so many freelancers and telecommuters on your retainer, managing all of their wages becomes so much easier this way.

5. Focus on networking

One of the most important things in the field of brand management is definitely networking. Why? Well, because you can’t manage a brand on your own. You need content writers, web designers, analyst specialists, social media managers, and more. Even if you do some of these things (for smaller projects) on your own, you still may need someone to ask for advice when going gets tough. In other words, start mingling with professionals from your industry.

6. Keep growing as a professional

The field of branding, marketing, and brand management in general, is the one that evolves quite rapidly. This means that you’ll have to follow journals, do independent research, and keep attending seminars, trade shows, and keep taking courses on new trends. Also, regardless of how long you spend in the field, you can always use it with a bit of mentoring from someone a tad more seasoned than you. This is why networking is so important and should never be neglected. Furthermore, every single one of these courses and seminars that you get crossed off your checklist should be listed on your resume and included in your portfolio.

7. Build a personal brand

Previously, we’ve talked about a formal education, experience in the field, and seminars that you need to attend in order to grow as a professional. Well, wrapping all of this up in a unique nice-looking package can be even more important. What you need to bear in mind is the fact that building a personal brand takes time and patience. First of all, you need to make your own website, start a blog (this is paramount), and start producing some niche-relevant content. This establishes you as an authority within the field. You can also leverage your social media influence by being active on your social media profiles. Needless to say, LinkedIn always takes precedence.

Conclusion

In the end, one of the things you need to consider is actually talking to a brand manager and inquiring about their experience in the field. Ask them to tell you the truth about what it’s like, seeing as how it’s not an easy career path to tread upon. Only when you’re 100 percent certain should you proceed with some of these steps.

Legal Branding

5 Essential Reasons to Invest in Real Estate

Owning real estate is always an excellent and exciting investment strategy. Of course, there are different types of investments, so it is vital to know your ambitions and reasons behind investing. Based on that, you can flow into the investing adventure and make the right call. Here are five essential reasons why investing in real estate is beneficial.

You’ll earn passive income as long as you live

There is no better thing in the financial world than a passive income. Making a substantial amount of money each month while doing (almost) nothing is more than attractive. However, every real estate investment is different. For example, some people find it challenging to own and maintain a property on the opposite side of the country. In that case, you can consider using a property manager like ICC Property Management or some of the modern software solutions that make things a lot easier. Also, it is necessary to attend investment property seminars and learn more details before making your first investment.

Real estate value increases over time

The longer you hold onto your real estate, the more money you will make over the years. Even when it seems that things are going in the wrong way, you should wait for uncertain times to pass. Remember, prices will always return to normal or even jump higher. If it ever happens to you, it is essential not to panic, and patiently wait for things to settle down. Also, real estate investing can provide a renewable source of capital. Re-financing options are excellent when property values increase, and mortgage financing decreases.

Portfolio diversification

Every smart investor will strive to reduce potential risks by allocating funds to different types of assets. Also, every expert in this field will tell you the same thing – not putting all the eggs in one basket is a wise thing to do. The variation of your assets will increase the value of your portfolio over time and reduce the overall risk level at the same time. Adding real estate investments to your collection is always beneficial because it helps you offset the volatility of other riskier assets. And finally, when you have investments in different regions or states, you will be exposed to different economic cycles. Why is it good? Because you can capitalize on the market benefits once you decide to sell a particular property.

Tax advantages and benefits

It is vital to understand that the value of your real estate investment is sheltered from taxes until you sell your property. In other words, if your property increases in value over the years, that capital gain ($20,000, for example) will be protected from tax until selling. Such benefit compounds if you own multiple properties. Also, there will always be several tax deductions when investing in real estate. Usually, the cost of operating your property can be deducted from your income. That includes property taxes, repairs, maintenance, mortgage interests, and other similar expenses. However, fees are a specific matter, so it is always wise to talk to professional tax accountants before making decisions.

Potential wealth creation

Investors’ ambitions are different. Some people are willing to invest more, and consequently, to expose themselves to higher risks. On the other hand, other investors like to be safe and invest only in one or two properties. But, in the world of business, the high risk usually results in high rewards. Therefore, multiple strategical real estate investments can, over time, become vehicles for wealth creation. Increased equity and wealth are coming when investment properties increase. At the same time, the corresponding mortgage financing will be reduced through regular mortgage payments. However, to create wealth over the years, you have to be smart about your investment, but a bit daring as well since the risk is unavoidable.

Keep in mind that investing means serious, strategical spending money, and not a type of gambling. Hence, sometimes, it is better to talk to professionals and more experienced people before you decide to make your real estate investment.

Legal Branding

5 Tips on How to Get an Excellent Credit Score

A credit score is an analysis of your credit; it represents your creditworthiness. It relates to how likely you’re to repay your debts. 

Having a good credit score is beneficial in numerous ways, including lowering your interest rates on loans, and it’s a key factor that lenders consider when assessing your funding requests.

There’re numerous models of calculating credit scores, but Fico, one of the leading scoring agencies, puts an excellent credit score anywhere at 800-850.

In the article below, we shall highlight the top five tips for improving your credit score. 

However, understand that the journey of improving your credit score is not a sprint but rather a marathon. It will take time, and you need to be patient.

Always Pay on Time

First things first, always keep your debts in the green, and this shows the creditors that you’re responsible for your debt.

Experian states that payment history heavily influences your credit score.  It usually forms the basis and the most influential factor of VantageScore and Fico.

Remember that credit score is a reflection of your ability to repay your loan timely. From the creditor’s perspective, if you have an established history of timely payment, it’s a good indicator that you can handle your future debts responsibly.

Therefore, you would want to stay at the top of your payment and avoid issues such as late payments, defaults, repossession, or third party collections.

Anything that may indicate a non-performance of a loan, such as filing bankruptcy, is going to dent your credit score severely. 

While at it, it’s worth noting that staying on top of your payment not only applies to the conventional lenders, but also other entities such as bills, including utilities, rent, and cell phone services.

Optimize Credit Utility Ratio

Creditors often compare your credit utilization rate when determining your credit score.

Credit utilization refers to the amount of credit card balance compared to the credit limit.

Generally, the scoring agency recommends that your credit utilization stays below 30%.

There’re numerous methods that users can employ to shrink the balances owed while at the same time maintaining or increasing the amount of credit.

Here are some of the common methods of improving the credit utilization rate listed by Fundera;

  • Paying more than the monthly minimum;  this helps to reduce the card balances
  • Asking for a higher credit limit
  • Leaving your card open after paying them off

Leave Old Debts On Your Report

I know it’s tempting that once you’re through with the student loan or even mortgage, you might get impatient and want to rid the loan from your reports.

But as long as your payments were timely and complete, no need to scrape them off.

In any case, they may have a positive impact on your credit score.

See, many of the lenders will usually go back in history to see your credit metrics and loan performance. And if you have an account with a long history and a solid track record of paying your loans promptly, it shows you’re responsible.

Regularly Monitor Your Credit

Human is to error, and at times, there might be inaccuracies in your credit report.

Regardless of whether they’re unintentional, they can derail your journey to a great credit score.

So, you must be always up to date with your current financial status.

Regular credit monitoring is necessary, and if you catch any inaccuracy on your credit report, you can file a dispute to the scoring agencies, and they will rectify.

Regular monitoring of your credit not only helps you to see all your financial accounts under a single roof but reviewing them may also be an incredible way of spotting inaccuracies or even instances of security theft.

Take Advantage Of Score-Boosting Programs

Experian and Fico are the leading scoring agencies in the market.

These two agencies have programs that allow consumers with thin credit profiles to boost themselves.

The Experian Boost program, for instance, will allow you to incorporate online banking data, utility payment, or even communication to your report.

While these programs will not improve your credit rating in leaps and bounds, it will still have a positive effect on your overall score.

Conclusion

Raising your credit score is easier than you think.

While the mentioned tips are by no means conclusive, following them religiously will see your credit rating improve in no time.

Legal Branding

Safeguard Your Business Against IRS: Here’s How

Getting in trouble with the IRS is the last thing that you would want to do. For this reason, it is always advisable to be regular with your tax returns and payments. A major concern for taxpayers is criminal charges by the IRS. If you are going through investigation or expect a potential audit coming up, you need to be aware of the situations when the authorities may file criminal charges against you.

Though this may sound scary, remember that you will not get implicated unless you have intentionally done something seriously wrong. Honest mistakes, on the other hand, are not illegal and you will probably not go to jail for them. The key lies in being proactive and knowledgeable so that you can get help when you require it for preventing such a situation. Here are some facts that you should know about criminal charges by the IRS against the taxpayers.

Tax fraud can implicate you

Deliberately cheating on your tax returns is a crime and will definitely not be taken lightly by the IRS. If you misrepresent your annual income on the return to avoid paying taxes, you are doing a tax fraud. Once the IRS is able to prove that you did the fraud intentionally, they will go ahead and prosecute you for tax fraud.  The burden of proof in such cases lies in the tax authorities, which is the reason that the IRS would rather avoid such cases. But if you are found guilty of tax fraud, be ready for jail time and large fines as well.

Tax evasion can also lead to criminal proceedings

Tax evasion is essentially a subset of tax fraud and carries similar penalties because it is also intentional. Evasion involves misrepresenting the true state of your affairs to the authorities just to reduce the amount of tax that you need to pay. Obviously, this will not be a mistake and you will know when you are intentionally claiming an income lesser than the actual. Similarly, overstating your deductions significantly is a form of evasion.  Even making large and questionable donations to charities for claiming deductions comes under the scope of evasion. Such situations can also cause criminal charges by the IRS.

There are certain red flags that the IRS will look for

When it comes to initiating a criminal investigation, the IRS will consider certain red flags that indicate fraud or evasion. Experts at Travis W. Watkins Tax Resolution & Accounting Firm have a checklist of the indicators of wrongdoings that the IRS may bear while considering criminal charges against a taxpayer. Here are the ones that may put you under the lens:

  • Consistently underreporting your income
  • Destroying your records deliberately
  • Maintaining inadequate or shady accounting records
  • Concealing your assets intentionally
  • Dealing exclusively in cash
  • Illegal activities
  • Fictitious deductions
  • Omission or understatement of substantial amounts of money
  • Refusing to cooperate with an examiner or auditor
  • The irrational explanation for the behavior

Unintentional mistakes will not implicate you

While the IRS will definitely not spare you for fraud and evasion, they will not implicate you for unintentional mistakes. Being negligent with your tax returns and payments is also not illegal. When you do it without wrong intentions, you are not lying about your income or concealing it deliberately. These are genuine mistakes and the authorities are trained and experienced enough to make out the difference. You should not be concerned about criminal proceedings in such situations because they will probably not happen. At the same time, you should make your best efforts to avoid such mistakes. Hiring a tax professional to handle your returns and payments is the best approach in this context.

Prosecution by the IRS is less common than you imagine

If the IRS approaches you with a grave matter such as audit, evasion or fraud, you should take it seriously. Rather than having a panic attack, you should seek help from a tax attorney and respond properly. Scary as a criminal case by the IRS may sound, it is less common than you imagine. Statistics indicate that it is very rare for a taxpayer to be investigated for fraud. Further, the rate of prosecution in such criminal proceedings is also low. Despite this, you should still be genuine and honest with your returns and taxes to avoid the situation in the first place. If you are still worried about an impending criminal investigation or charges by the IRS, you should see a tax lawyer sooner rather than later.

Legal Branding

How To Make Sure You Get The Right Bail Bondsman?

The thing that you need to do immediately when someone from your family or friends get arrested is that get the person released on bail. The nature of the case and the current state laws around it determine the bond amount. If you know a trusted bail bondsman in the city, such as Castle Bail Service Columbus, you can expect the bail bond process to go smoothly. The person can come out of jail as soon as the company pays the bond. However, to ensure everything goes in the right order, you have to pay attention to a few things.

Bail bond process

As you may know, accuse has to pay some money as bail to get rid of the imprisonment temporarily. It is a form of guarantee that the person will visit the court at a scheduled date and time as required. The magistrate decides the amount, which the accused can pay himself or ask his dear ones to deposit. In this process, they may take the help of a bail bondsman. A bail bond company mediates between the government and the accused as it assumes the responsibility that the person will attend the court hearing. The company charges a fee for the service. If the accused doesn’t appear in court, the bonds company has to clear the amount to the government.

Usually, these companies charge 10% of the total bail amount from clients. Anyway, you should know how much the firm would take before you hire it. You will need to sign an agreement, too, and pay back the rest of the amount as per the negotiation.

Online search

You can find a reliable bail bonds company online. Make sure to look at the reviews, if possible. What others are saying about the service can reveal if you should opt for it or not. When you go through a couple of them, do pay attention to their background and experience. The companies should be trustworthy and reputable. Else, you can talk to your lawyer also for a reference. Since they have to deal with them frequently, you can get a useful contact for your needs quickly.

However, make sure you don’t believe anyone blindly. Check the status of the license the company holds. Sometimes, the charges of misconduct or legal action from a client can result in restriction or revocation of their license. So, be sure to find out if the concerned bail bondsman is facing any such issue. Plus, be specific about how much the company would charge and what they need to post bail.

Contract

Signing agreement is mandatory. Before you seal a deal, read all the terms and conditions carefully. For example, if you have convinced the bondman about partial payment of the fee along with monthly installments, then it should find mention in the papers. Plus, it should also declare the interest rate (if any) charged by the company.  Then, these companies can ask for collateral, where you may have to pledge your home or some other asset. Any terms or conditions around it should also feature in the documents. And, yes, don’t forget to collect invoices.

Since honest bail bonds companies understand the pain of the defendant and are conscious about their reputation, you would not have to worry about their services.