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When do I need a federal Tax ID?

Most people think that their Social Security numbers are the most important bit of identifying information that they have. It’s easy to see why: without an SSN, you will find it difficult to do most things in the United States – many college applications even require a SSN to process. Did you know that there is an equivalent for your business? An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is like a Social Security Number, but for businesses. Let’s take a look at when you need to apply for a federal tax ID and how to go about doing so.

Apply For A Federal Tax ID

If you plan to open up a line of credit or a bank account for your business, then you will need to apply for a federal tax ID. That’s because you will need to supply it in order to complete many things related to your business, including filing taxes and opening up a credit card. Now, you might be a bit concerned at the thought of obtaining a California EIN number, however do not worry. The process is quite simple. All you need to do is find a service like IRS-EIN that makes the application a breeze to complete. Many of their customers even receive their EIN the same day they send in their application!

Check Tax ID Number Status

If you already have a California EIN number, then you might find yourself in a situation where you need to check tax ID number status. You can do this in a variety of ways. Calling your bank or the IRS, for example, will often yield the number. Do not forget to look at old tax returns, too, as you would have been required to provide it in order to file taxes.

Do you need to apply for a federal tax ID? Contact IRS-EIN-Tax-ID today and let them help you through the process!

 

How to Reduce Your Study Costs

Are you looking for ways to get a qualification and still have enough money to survive? If so, there are many ways you can do this. Below are some of the best ways you can reduce the financial costs associated with studying.

Don’t Settle for the First Course You See

It’s vital to research the course you intend to take. Unfortunately, many students settle for the first course they think they want to do, which can be a huge mistake. Spending time finding out what your options are could result in you finding a course that has more affordable tuition fees, is closer to home and has the potential to save you money in many other ways.

Take an Online Course

The internet has changed the way millions of people learn and develop new skills. It also makes it much easier to work from any location, including your own home. This can drastically reduce the amount of money you have to spend on travel, parking, accommodation and the daily items you need to purchase if you are studying in a traditional college or university. For instance, if you decide to enroll in an online master of science in analytics course, you could complete the course without having to leave your home.

Earn While You Learn

Many students are not earning money while they are taking an MSA program online. This can eat into your savings, so you should consider working in a part-time job or become a freelancer, so that you have more money in your pocket each week.

Choose the Right Location to Study In

If you decide to enroll in a traditional classroom-based course, the location of the college or university will determine how costly your course becomes. For most people, studying close to home has many financial benefits. However, in other situations, it may be a prudent decision to study abroad. Some countries don’t charge tuition fees and the cost of living in many foreign countries is also lower.

Start Budgeting as Soon as Possible

Many people go through college without ever worrying about how much it costs until it’s too late.  It’s never too early to create a budget and keep a close eye on your finances. If you do this from the start, you will be less dependent on other people and you won’t have to rely so much on taking out student loans and other loans.

 

Buy Course Materials and Equipment Second Hand

Many of the learning materials and equipment required for various courses are expensive to buy new. However, large numbers of previous students have probably invested in the same items in the past, so it’s worth your while finding out if you can buy the materials and equipment you need for your course second-hand.

Obtaining a new qualification opens up many more opportunities. However, while you are studying, college life can become a financial burden. Following the advice above will reduce this burden and allow you to study effectively and avoid getting into debt.

Rules to Protect your Passwords from being Hacked

Did you know that almost 75% of Americans have, at one point or another and a life, been the victims of an Internet crime? In 2012 alone over 9 million people were the victims of some type of identity theft and, on social media website Facebook,  every day over 600,000 accounts are hacked!

With those scary statistics in mind we put together a blog today to help you protect your passwords from being hacked. Lots of advice and great information is to follow and, if you use it, you will reduce the chances that some dirt bag son of a #$@*& is able to get access into your online accounts. Enjoy.

Rule 1:A password that’s easy to remember is also a password that’s easy to hack. Yes, remembering long and complicated passwords is a chore, especially when you are combining letters and numbers that are case sensitive. That being said, it’s vitally important that you avoid using some of the more popular, and extremely easy to hack, passwords that include the numbers 1234, the word “password”, your children’s names and even birthdays.

Rule 2: Use different passwords on different sites. In most cases your email will be used to help reset passwords on other sites so definitely make sure that your email password is a tough not to crack. If someone is able to hack that one, they’ll basically have access to practically every account you own. In other words, it’s vital to create new passwords for each new account and make sure that your email password is  a tough one to crack.

Rule 3: Use passwords that are longer and thus stronger. If you use a pass word that’s 14 characters or more it’s almost impossible for a hacker to crack it and less than 24 hours, meaning that it’s a great deterrent. If you want to go a little bit shorter you can use a 10 character password that contains a combination of numbers, symbols and upper as well as lower case letters. The best long passwords are completely random and the more random they are, the less likely that a hacker will be able to figure them out.

Rule 4: Don’t answer security questions completely accurately. While this seems a bit contrary, answering security questions on websites correctly is like giving a thief the keys to your house. Fact is, the answers to most of these questions can easily be found using Google, including the type of car you drive, your mother’s maiden name or the street you grew up on. Most of these  questions have a limited number of answers as well, like your favorite color or your favorite football team. If you are forced to answer these questions you may consider answering them all the same, but incorrectly, and of course make sure you remember what you wrote. Difficult? A little. Vital to protect your online accounts? Definitely.

Rule 5: Change your passwords regularly. Changing your passwords is like changing sneakers if you are an avid jogger; it’s necessary if you don’t want to blow out your Achilles tendon or have a hacker blowout your online accounts. A good idea is to change them every 3 months or so.

Rule 6: Use an online password manager. We realize that keeping track of complicated passwords is a bit of it chore. Today however there are password managers like Dashlane and Passpack (among others) that will protect all of your passwords and give you one master password only to remember. They will also auto-log you when you visit any of your sites so that you don’t have to go searching for your password or remember it every time you log on. It’s one of the best ways to make sure that you keep track of your passwords and not  get brain freeze.

And there you have them, A half dozen excellent tips that will help you to guard your online accounts and keep them safe from hackers, slackers and safe-crackers everywhere. I have passwords on sites ranging from my online banking down to my bingo account on http://bingo.paddypower.com/games, so security is absolutely vital. If this blog scared you a little that’s a good thing because most people don’t do anything unless they are motivated by a little fear. If we did scare you but it keeps you from losing a lot of money you’ll thank us later, so you’re welcome.

An Ex-Smoker’s Million

There are so many reasons to quit smoking. Although you might have heard of a healthier alternative to smoking, which is vaping and is becoming the new trend now due to health benefits, you can go give this a try.  Check this Twitter profile to learn more about vaporizers for sale.

Aside from the highly increased risk of lung cancer, throat cancer, heart problems and circulation problems, there’s the premature aging to consider and the fact that it impairs your senses of smell and taste. Plus, there’s the socially awkward stigma of smelling like smoke.

Now the Investor’s Chronicle has offered up yet another reason to quit smoking; the chance of making nearly a million.

Paul Claireaux, researching on behalf of the Investor’s Chronicle, calculated that a 20-year-old smoker of 20 cigarettes a day could put saved cash into a tax-efficient pension; he or she would have raked in close to a million by retirement.

In fact, by putting the £7.50 a day savings into a SIPP, the ex-smoker would have a pension pot of £530,000 by the age of 55. Continuing the saving till the age of 65 would garner £953,865 by the age of 65.

The calculation relies on the assumption that a 20-year-old smoker invests the money into a pension which has a 60% employer contribution. The government then tops it up by 20%, assuming the ex-smoker is a lower rate tax payer.

Higher rate tax payers get a 40% government top up, which obviously would garner a larger sum by the time of retirement.

According to the article, smoking 10 cigarettes a day after retirement will require a pension pot of about £36,000.

After retirement, however, smokers receive high annuities thanks to their reduced life expectancy.

Today, the benefits of quitting smoking are common knowledge between smokers and non-smokers alike. Those who can’t kick the habit are increasingly turning to alternatives. With health services offering free support for quitters and patches and gum on prescription, cigarette companies seem to be fighting a losing battle. Plus, across the world ‘plain’ packaging is being enforced on packets, emblazoned with horrific images of throat cancer or deceased smokers.

E-cigarettes offer nicotine and the feeling of using a cigarette without all the associated health risks. Plus, they’re good for around 30 cigarettes so could save you money. You can work out how much you can save on the calculator below.

 

 

Conflict Mediation is the Answer

It seems that legal disputes are a dime a dozen these days.  There are the typical slip and fall accidents at your local shopping mall, or a celebrity getting into an ill-advised brawl at a nightclub, or perhaps you crashing into another car that was parked at a stop light.  At least one person, if not both people, is at fault for causing the accident, but unfortunately the resolution is never as easy as placing the blame.

Consider that you are driving behind a vehicle that suddenly slams on their breaks to stop at a red light.  This sudden stop then causes you to abruptly run into the back of their car.  Whose fault is the accident?  This answer can actually vary by location.  In my state, if you rear end a car the circumstances don’t matter, you are at fault regardless.  Some other states view this differently, and a number of factors can shift the blame to the other party.  Even though the traffic violation itself is determined by the law, any civil suits often are not.

A civil suit involves two or more parties, where one is suing the other for some form of wrong doing, and in some cases the latter party is countersuing.  It’s often been said that the only winners in a lawsuit are the lawyers.  The more I think of this old adage the more it rings true.  Lawyers can be a costly bunch, and often times the lawsuit doesn’t go as you expected.  You may be the defendant that finds themselves on the wrong side of the judgment, owing both the damages and the legal fees for both parties.  Whereas, you could be the plaintiff and find yourself out the damages altogether because a jury rules against you, or at the very least a 30% reduction in the awarded amount due to legal fees.

Sometimes it’s just best not to gamble with the outcome of a courtroom or jury selection, and to mediate into an agreement.  Companies like Global Mediation (which can be found at http://www.globalmediation.co.uk/) offer unique money saving services that allow two parties that are in disagreement to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement.  This takes the guess work, uncertainty, and hassle out of a lawsuit.  They even provide education and training that will allow you to facilitate these disagreements on your own.  The best part is that their services are relevant across all arenas, both personal and business.

How to Borrow Without the Sorrow

Keeping control over your finances can be difficult, especially in these economically challenging times. There will inevitably be a point in your life where you may need to borrow money to make important payments, so being properly educated and equipped to make the right call is therefore hugely important.  Here is some advice for those considering borrowing money.

Avoid wasting assets

You should try to avoid borrowing money to buy things that will not produce any income or worse, drain your income. Wasting assets can be anything from holidays to a new car; they are an unnecessary cost that should never be borrowed for to attain.

If it is hugely important that you do borrow money to buy a new car (for business purposes for example) it’s equally important that you borrow sensibly in order to buy it, making sure that the way you borrow leaves you with the most manageable debt to repay.

Use a credit card

There are a number of 0% interest credit cards out there that can help you make payments. 0% interest cards will normally give you 12 months of 0% interest on all your transactions or balance transfers as long as you meet your minimum monthly payments. Provided that you can pay them off, ideally at the end of every month. these cards are a great way to cover the costs of your day-to-day spending.

Making sensible use of a card will give you more flexibility, meaning you can deal with large bills that come out of the blue. On top of that, if you are responsible and quick to pay off your card debt, you can beef up your credit rating.

To reinforce the point, credit cards, managed well, can be beneficial. But fail to pay them off before the initial low interest rate ends, or fail to make repayments, and they can see your debt spiral.

There are a number of different credit card options, suitable for different financial needs, so be sure to compare credit cards to find the right solution for you.

Don’t borrow from friends and family

It can often seem like the best and most convenient way of borrowing money, but borrowing from friends and family is normally a bad idea. Unless the loan is agreed in a fully professional manner, it can lead to many disagreements and possible ending of friendships. Taking loans from proper institutions forces you to take your finances seriously and make payments on time.

Never risk your home

Losing your home because of missed loan payments can heart breaking. You should avoid any form of loan that is secured against your home; you will be surprised how many loans include this in the small print, so do your research! You should only be taking out loans against your property to pay for improvements or extensions to your property because they can add value.

The Basics Of Good Personal Finance Management

Personal finance isn’t simply about money. Indeed, basic logic and reason play large roles. Wisely managing your finances is a behavior that must be learned, often times, the hard way. Consider this advice and start to make positive changes to the way you handle your finances and you are going to discover that you are starting to lead a less stressful and happier life.

Generally avoiding debt can be the best way to be in control of your personal finances. Loans are unavoidable for the big purchases in your life, like autos and houses. But, in your everyday life, you should avoid paying with credit at all costs.

If the time isn’t right then do not sell. If you are making a good profit on your stocks, hold on to them for the time being. If certain stocks are doing poorly, decide if you want to sell them.

Be vigilant for mail from credit card companies that inform you about changes to your account. You have a legal right to be informed of changes 45 days in advance. Read the new terms of agreement and changes the company is going to make. This will help you decide if you wish to continue being their customer. If you do not like the changes, resolve to paying off the account and closing it.

Use cash or debit cards for small purchases. Don’t break out the credit card at every opportunity. Credit card companies have minimums on purchases nowadays, so to avoid that, make sure to carry a debit card and cash on you.

If you can, try putting some cash in your IRA, or Individual Retirement Account. Doing so will allow you to build your future finances. Those interested can open up IRAs with a brokerage firm, mutual fund company, bank, or credit union. Regularly contributing to your IRA will allow you to enjoy a financially secure retirement.

Paying your bills early each month will make keeping your finances in order fairly simple. If you pay bills early, you will then know how much cash you will be left with. This will also give you peace of mind when an unexpected financial situation arises, as you will not need to worry about the imminent bills.

An ideal emergency fund should have at least the equivalent of what you make in three months. Put the first 10% of your paycheck in a savings account with a high yield.

The most effective method for avoiding debt is spending less money than you earn. You must cut back on your spending, save some money and pay off your loan and credit card debts. Go out to eat and part less to save some greenbacks. Another option is to pack a lunch for work instead of eating out. If restoring your credit is important to you, you will need to follow through and lower your overall spending.

It is in your best interest to keep track of important deadlines and dates for filing income taxes. If you are anticipating a refund, then file as soon as possible. It’s better to file closer to the due date of April 15 if you owe money to the government.

Personal finance varies with each different individual, so it is up to you to know how to manage the finances in your own home. Hopefully, you’re now well-equipped in better managing your finances and you can use the knowledge that you’ve learned here. Post reminders of the things you’ve learned in your home, wallet or desk. The faster you put these tips to good use, the sooner you can enjoy the results!

Why You Need to Consider Making a Will

Nobody relishes the thought of dying, especially when it could be unexpected.  But that doesn’t change reality, and unfortunately anything is possible.  Now, I am an unmarried man, for the next month anyways.  I never really put any thought into whether or not it would benefit me to make a will.  I always just filled out the direct beneficiary forms on the paperwork for my benefits.  However, now that I am going to be getting married soon it is only right to start considering different possibilities.  After all, it isn’t long until I’ll have children to worry about as well.

A will is little more than a document stating the transfer of your property upon your death.  It could be as simple as leaving all of your worldly possessions to your loved one.  Or it could be a more complicated scenario that involves dividing up your assets (and sometimes liabilities) amongst several different family members.  Whatever the case, a will is a necessary evil, but it needn’t be an expensive one.  Granted you can create your own will, but I wouldn’t advise as such.  One simple legal mistake and the validity of the will can be taken into question.  Instead you need to shop around for reputable legal counsel that will aid and assist in generating a sound will.  Also, like most other services today, there are online legal services that will help you generate a solid and secure will for a fraction of the cost of hiring an actual attorney.

What to Know When Buying Furniture

It’s been over two years since I purchased my home.  I figured after the hefty down payment and associated closing costs that all of my big ticket items were out of the way.  That couldn’t have been further from the truth.  I came from several years of renting apartments and houses with several different friends.  Each of us brought our own bedroom furniture, and a compilation of used tables, chairs, and couches that didn’t come close to matching each other.  Once I bought my house I realized just how empty it all was.  I went from sharing 1600 square feet of living space with three guys, to having over 2300 square feet all to myself.  Heck, my bedroom furniture didn’t even take up much of the master bedroom.  I knew it was time to start loading up on new furniture, but the sum total of all the furniture I’ve accumulated probably outweighed the down payment itself.

While I normally like to purchase items online, furniture is the one thing I need to see and feel.  Not to mention the cost of shipping, and then the pain of assembling the furniture is outside my range of knowledge.  I started off by purchasing living room furniture.  After all, this was going to be used just about every day.  I needed a sofa, couch, end tables, coffee table, and most importantly, a large screen television.  I made sure I was extra economical and went to a discounted furniture store and shopped their clearance section.  In the end, I wound up with very nice leather furniture for a fraction of the regular price.  I was quite happy with my deal from this store, and I stuck with them through some other furniture purchases.  I actually purchased my bed from this store as well.  That time around I was a bit more seasoned and learned that buying furniture is much like buying a car, you can always haggle regardless of the sticker price.  This actually led me to my final furniture buying lesson, don’t buy a mattress from a furniture store, you’ll get ripped off every time!  Mattresses are severely marked up at brick and mortar stores, you need to find a specialty discount retailer…preferably a mattress surplus warehouse.  I ended up visiting one of these stores that had a Groupon available, and picked up a good deal at a fraction of the price.

Some Myths on Personal Finance

The best way to increase your financial stability is by doing a thorough evaluation of your savings and spending. This way you will be able to find out how you may save on your existing earning so that you may have better funding in your account. Here, are some of the common myths that you get to learn along with the rational basis or even lack of it in them.

Myth 1# Investing in stocks and mutual funds is truly necessary

Most people will inform you to invest in stocks and mutual funds. However, if you have to invest do so after appropriate assessment of your financial position. Every other person may feel a different way to invest, and there is no reason why one must only invest in mutual funds or stocks. One can make steady interests from saving accounts also by maintaining a stable balance.

Myth 2# Investing in property is better than taking on lees

Another popular myth that is passed on from one to another is that it is better buying a property instead of renting one. Often there are many cases where it is more advantageous to buy a house, but in case you are not particularly keen on your credit do not try to buy a house. The equated monthly instalments will be substantially higher than what you may actually spend on renting the same property. Again, you may obtain interests if you had invested the same amount in your account in some other place.

Myth 3# Closing credit card accounts will save money

Closing credit card accounts is yet another factor that you may do, but think about stuff like paying off the dues in regular intervals instead of in one shot. You can choose not to use your credit card instead of closing your credit card account. Moreover, you can use the card in emergency and this way you will learn to use the credit card judiciously.  

Myth 4# You cannot get a loan if you have poor credit or debit details

This is an absolute myth, and there is actually no rational reasoning in it. There are loans that are specifically made for people with poor scores. Many people take personal loans to reduce the burden of finance. This helps the person to remove personal debts and pay against only one loan.

Myth 5: I am too young or too old for retire plans

Most people ignore their retirement plans because they think they are too young, but youth is the best time to take a retirement policy.

This is the time to take action now, and if needed you can take the help of your financial adviser.

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