Posts by Laney Jericho

Choosing A Checking Account With The Right Features

A good checking account can help you streamline your spending and make personal transactions easier. Each account has its own features and perks, and here are some of the most useful checking account options. 

Monthly Fees

The monthly fee for checking accounts isn’t always a bad thing. Some premium checking accounts offer you advanced features like overdraft protection and free transfers, which can save you money if you frequently need use these features. Some banks will waive the monthly fee if you keep a minimum amount in the checking account. 

Minimum Balance Requirements

Checking accounts vary greatly in the amount that’s required to waive a monthly service fee. For more full-featured accounts, the minimum balance could be several thousand dollars. For a smaller account, there may be a $500 minimum or no minimum at all. Note that you’re allowed to go below this minimum in the account, but you may have to pay extra service fees. 

ATM Fees

Some personal checking accounts will waive ATM fees for premium account holders. This can come in handy if you travel a lot. Some banks even reimburse international ATM fees. 

Transaction Fees

It’s important to read the fine details of your account. Some banks will charge per transaction, such as a small fee for cashing checks or sending funds. You can often avoid these fees by choosing a premium account. 

Online Access

If you are an on-the-go checking account user, take a tour of the bank’s mobile site and online presence before signing up for an account. Some checking accounts offer great mobile features, such as smartphone apps that allow you to deposit checks on the fly. 

Link to Savings Account

One helpful checking account feature is a link to the personal savings account. Some banks will allow you to use the savings account as overdraft protection. 

Choosing the Best Account

Each checking account will probably have a combination of these benefits, but may lack some of the others. So which account is the best? It will all depend on your spending habits and the amount of cash flow that you expect to have. Before you sit down with the bank, identify the top 3-5 traits that your ideal spending account would have, and make sure that the policy covers your bases. As long as you are open in communicating with your customer service representatives, most banks will be able to help you find an account that has the features that you need. 

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4 Myths About Payday Loans

When you are in need of emergency cash, a payday loan can be the solution to your problem. Unfortunately, some people shy away from payday loans because of false rumors about what happens when you get a loan. To help you make a sound decision, here are some of the most common falsehoods and the truth about payday loans.

1. Payday Loans Are Expensive

Some people falsely believe that if they take out a payday loan, they could end up paying back exorbitant amounts before the debt is satisfied. This is not true. Payday loans are considered to be short-term, small loans that usually do not extend beyond a couple of weeks to a month. Once the loan is paid back, no other fees are taken from the lender and he or she is usually free to borrow again.

2. Payday Loans Have Hidden Fees

Payday lenders are subject to the same laws and regulations as other lenders. The lenders are required to fully disclose all of the possible fees you could face prior to you signing the agreement. Payday lenders are also required to provide the fees in an easy-to-understand format so that there are no questions regarding what is owed. If you do not agree to the fees, you have the right to not sign the agreement. Some lenders even offer you the option to cancel the agreement within 24 hours of signing it.

3. Payday Loans Will Impact Your Credit Score

An earmark of payday lenders is that they do not perform credit checks before approving the loan. In most cases, simply being employed and providing proof of residence is enough to secure a loan. The only time a loan could possibly impact your credit score is if you do not pay it back. Just as with normal lenders, payday lenders have the option of reporting non-payment to a credit reporting bureau. As long as the loan is paid, there is nothing to report.

4. Lenders Only Loan Funds to People Who Cannot Afford It

Payday lenders are in business to earn money, just like other lenders. By only loaning money to people who cannot afford to pay it back, the lenders would place themselves in a bad position financially. Lenders have markers that must be met by potential customers before a loan can be approved. How much a person earns and the frequency with which he or she is paid is considered before a loan is approved.

The best way to separate the truth from fiction when it comes to payday lenders is to contact one and discuss your concerns. The lender can then help you get started on your own loan so that you can get back on your feet. 

To learn more, visit a website like http://www.money4youpaydayloans.com

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Can You Qualify For Worker’s Compensation As An Independent Contractor?

No one expects to be injured on the job, but it happens to millions of Americans each year. According to recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported over 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2013.

You may know where you stand as a salaried or wage-earning employee in regards to worker’s compensation, but what if you happen to be an independent contractor? The following explains the eligibility complications surrounding independent contractors.

The Short Answer

Various state labor laws require employers to cover their salaried or wage-earning employees under worker’s compensation insurance. However, the same isn’t required of employers when it comes to independent contractors. In short, independent contractors aren’t eligible for worker’s compensation unless employers specifically request that they be covered under their worker’s comp insurance coverage.

How Come?

Unlike salaried or wage-earning employees, independent contractors are not under the direct employ or even supervision of the companies they work for. Instead, independent contractors usually receive a lump-sum payment for their services upon completion of a project or a specific term of service. This status also means that the employers are not responsible for deducting state and federal taxes from any earnings received by independent contractors.

Since independent contractors aren’t directly employed by the companies they’re working with, they’re not able to benefit from the worker’s comp protections that salaried and wage-earning employees enjoy. In addition, many of the laws designed to protect employees’ rights may not extend to independent contractors unless specifically noted otherwise. Any disputes that arise between employers and independent contractors must be settled in court, as opposed to state labor agencies.

Exceptions to the Rule

One way that independent contractors can benefit from workers compensation is if they’re not really independent contractors at all. Such a situation can arise from an employer designating what really should be a salaried or wage-earning employee as an independent contractor in order to avoid taxes and other additional expenses.

There are strict guidelines that govern whether someone can be deemed an independent contractor:

  • They provide services based on a written or unwritten contract, with the contractor paid per completed task.
  • They fully control how services are rendered, free of any supervision or direction by the company they’re contracted with.
  • They typically provide their own equipment in order to complete a specific job, and are also responsible for calculating and deducting their own state and local taxes. Independent contractors typically have their incomes reported by IRS form 1099, instead of form W-2 (for wage and salaried workers).

If none of the above applies to you, but your employer still designates you as an independent contractor, you may want to seek legal advice from an attorney specializing in workplace issues. You’ll also want to report the matter to your local labor board, as your employer could face civil penalties for purposefully denying fair wages. For more information about workers compensation, visit McMullen & Ochs PLLC.

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Investing In Precious Metals 101: Recession-Proofing Your Portfolio

Investment is a scary topic in a precarious economic climate, which certainly describes a large portion of the world in the years following the financial crises of 2007 and 2008. If you’re a fledgling investor who can’t afford to lose everything to a fluctuating market, and are willing to forgo some immediate returns to achieve that, then the answer may be in precious metals.

Why buy gold and other precious metals?

A lot of finance experts will tell you to buy gold for your portfolio, but many don’t explain why. The truth is that there are always people looking to buy and sell gold, so it and other precious metals always have value. As history proves — 1920s Germany, anyone? — that’s not always the case for currency. If the dollar lost all value today, you could still sell gold in exchange for a currency that’s still strong.

Know what you’re buying

There are a few ways to buy precious metals, which include buying the actual, physical metal and buying precious metal stocks. In physical gold, you have the option of bullion, scrap gold, or little collectible bars or unofficial coins. Collectible metals usually cost quite a bit more, but can be bought in smaller amounts and have a decorative appearance, which appeals to a lot of buyers. Bullion is cheaper by weight, but usually requires a far more substantial investment. Scrap gold varies widely in price, but also in purity. If you know how to decipher jewelers’ marks and are willing to deal with a little extra work, this could be a way to accrue value relatively quickly. Scrap dealers also provide an easy way to sell gold or other precious metals if you need to convert your metal to cash quickly.

Finally, metal stocks function exactly like other stocks – you pay someone to buy and store the metals for you. “Stock” is a catch-all term here; the precious metal market includes futures, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bonds and even mining stocks. There are usually broker fees attached, and you have to be really careful and make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting. Often, these stocks don’t translate to an actual weight of gold or other precious metal.

Fit metals into an overall investment plan

As with any investment, precious metals aren’t meant to be the only thing in your portfolio. In fact, they’re not even intended to make any money – they do in a failing economy, but the real goal is to simply protect value. Putting assets into cash-based investments, such as traditional securities, is a way to get fast returns in the form of interest or dividends. The assets in precious metals, however, are intended as a true “buy and hold”; they’re your insurance against a true currency crash that could see your other investments go to zero.

Discuss your investment goals with a financial professional before diving in. Every situation is different, and these professionals can help you formulate an investment plan that works for your individual needs.

For more information, check out companies such as Rocky Mountain Coin Inc.

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3 Reasons To Consider Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is a tedious process. You have to keep track of everything, from taking clients out to lunch to buying pens to stock the secretary’s desk. One way to lessen the hassle is to hire a bookkeeping professional from an independent company. Even though this would require sharing some of your company’s financial information with a person outside of the company, there are numerable benefits to outsourcing your bookkeeping. 

1. You Pay Exactly What You Need

If you hire a bookkeeper onto your staff, you will have to pay that person wages and benefits. This bookkeeper will be extraordinarily busy during tax season but will have downtime during the rest of the year. This means that you are paying for time when your employee isn’t working because there is no way to actually guess when financial services will be needed. By hiring an outsourced bookkeeper, you will only be paying for the bookkeeping services that you need. You won’t be paying for that individual’s downtime and will therefore save your company a great deal of money in the long run.

2. Automatic Double Checking

If you hire a bookkeeper on staff, you may only have the money for that one employee, rather than a team of bookkeepers. When bookkeeping services are needed, they need to be absolutely perfect. When you outsource your bookkeeping services, you can rest assured that anyone who is doing your bookkeeping will have a manager or team of people checking their work. This can save you tax audits and other costly mistakes that you may not be able to avoid with a single bookkeeper on staff.

3. Able to Access High Quality Bookkeeping Software Without Necessarily Having to Pay for It

Because the job of bookkeeping companies is to make sure that any accounts that they keep are perfect, well-organized, and easy to understand, they will be willing to invest in high quality, expensive bookkeeping software. You may not be willing to invest the hundreds of dollars into the software and into training employees to use it. By using a bookkeeping company, you will have access to this software and all of the advantages that it provides, such as easy to understand graphs and tax services, without having to directly pay for it. The cost of the software that the company uses will be split among all of the bookkeeping company’s clients.

For more information on the services that a bookkeeping company can provide, contact a local service like James Gioia & Company PC directly.

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