If you own a small business, then you will almost certainly know that, if you employ a workforce or operate vehicles within your business, you need to carry employer’s liability insurance and motor vehicle insurance. Beyond this, there is no legal requirement to have any other form of business insurance. However, there are very few small businesses that could survive even a relatively small uninsured loss, and so most carry at least some form of minimal additional cheap business insurance.
For most small businesses the biggest risk is that of damage to, or the loss of, business buildings, equipment and stock, and so most often, when insurance cover is purchased, it is property insurance. What many small business owners are not aware of, however, is property insurance may need to cover up to eight separate risks to your business.
1. Buildings. Business buildings should be covered for a wide range of damage caused by everything from fire and lightning, to floods and earthquakes. In all cases you should insure for the cost of rebuilding, in the event of total loss, and your policy should cover all of the associated rebuilding costs, including such things as clearing the site before rebuilding work can start.
If you lease your business premises, then you should make sure that the owner carries the necessary insurance because, although the buildings are his responsibility, it is your business that will be affected if damage occurs.
If you run your business out of your own home, then check that your home insurance policy covers your business use of the property.
2. Contents. Many small businesses have both equipment and stock that need to be insured against theft and damage. In the case of stock, this will normally be insured simply at its cost price, and you should be careful to ensure that your policy covers such things as seasonal variations in stock levels. Business equipment can either be insured on an indemnity basis, with allowance being made for such things as wear and tear, or your policy can be arranged to provide you with new replacement equipment in all cases of loss or damage.
3. Business Interruption. Loss of, or damage to, your business premises, or equipment, can result in an interruption to normal trading, with a subsequent drop in both income and profit. It can also result in additional expenditure, where it is necessary to outsource some tasks to ensure that you can keep hold of your customers.
Most small businesses fail to adequately insure against business interruption, and it is worth noting that 8 out of 10 businesses that suffer major loss or damage, without adequate insurance, fail within a period of 18 months.
4. Terrorism. While it will not apply to all businesses, if you are operating in an area that makes you susceptible to terrorist attack, then additional cover can be added to your buildings and contents insurance for all terrorist risks, including the risks from nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological contamination. It should be noted that this cover does not normally extend to computer viruses, whether damage occurs deliberately or as the result of a hoax.
5. Engineering. If your business is classed as being within the engineering sector, you can arrange for machinery to be insured, for repair or reinstatement, as a separate part of your policy. This is to ensure that you do not fall foul of your insurer, as a result of arguments concerning the state of repair of damaged equipment that is required by law to undergo regular inspection.
6. Goods in Transit. Cover should be added to your policy if you regularly ship goods, either in your own vehicles, or using a carrier. Special cover should also be arranged if you are moving cash.
7. Glass. If your business premises have an unusually large amount of glass in their construction, either internally or externally, it may be to your advantage to consider adding specific cover for this to your policy.
8. Frozen Food. Should your business involve the storage or transportation of frozen food, then you can insure against the cost of replacing food items, following the breakdown of a refrigeration unit or, in certain cases, the failure of the public electricity supply.
Property of one sort or other forms an important part of most businesses, and the financial loss to the business in the event of the loss of, or damage to, such things as buildings, equipment and stock can be devastating. Small business insurance does not have to cost an arm and a leg and, even a simple and cheap business insurance policy can make the difference between your business surviving or going under when misfortune hits.
If you want to get a good return on your investment while minimizing your risk of losses, you may want to consider fixed rate bonds. Many investors choose these bonds because they get a guaranteed return on their investment and there is little chance of them losing any of their money in the process. Here are some of the most common reasons for investors to choose fixed rate bonds for their investment of choice.
One of the most frequently cited reason for choosing a fixed rate bond is the guaranteed return offered by these bonds. A specific interest rate is promised in return for purchasing the bond and holding it for a set amount of time, after which time the bond amount and interest is payable to the bond holder. The bondholder knows exactly how much the bond will be worth at the end of the term as soon as they purchase the bond. There are not many other investments available that has the same claim.
Very Little Risk
There is very little risk associated with fixed rate bonds. These bonds are subject to a fixed rate of interest for the entire life of the bond term and will not decrease in value between the time it is purchased and the time it matures. This is very different from purchasing stocks, where there is always a chance that the stock will decrease in value before it can be sold.
Attractive Interest Rates
The interest rates offered for fixed rate bonds are often much higher than the investor would have received for a traditional savings account. Because the bonds must be held for a certain period of time before the bond matures, the issuing agent offers an attractive interest rate to entice the bondholder to tie up their funds for the required amount of time. Different bond terms will have different interest rates associated with them, so do your research and choose carefully to ensure that you are getting the best bonds for your financial needs.
Various Bond Terms
Many bond issuers have a variety of bond terms available for investors to choose from. The terms can range from as short as one month to as long as five years with the interest rate for the bond increasing with the length of the bond term. It is important that the funds used for the bond be dedicated to the bond for the entire length of time to earn the promised return. Cashing in the bond before the end of the term could subject the bondholder to penalty fees and a significant loss in the amount of interest earned.
New college graduates are entering one of the worst job markets in generations. Many graduates are having trouble finding any job at all and the ones that do find jobs are often working outside of their field of study or making much less than they thought they would be making after graduation. To these individuals, paying off their student loan debt can seem like an impossible task that they will never be able to accomplish. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to make paying student loan debt more manageable and less stressful.
Determine How Much You Really Owe
Many students rely on a combination of federal loans, personal loans, grants, and scholarships to fund their college education. Because money is obtained from several different sources, it can be difficult to determine exactly how much you owe. Some students vastly underestimate the amount that must be repaid and face a painful shock once they graduate and must begin repaying the loans. By keeping an accurate accounting of the amount that you owe and understanding what that means for your monthly repayment schedule, you will be better prepared to tackle repayment head on and eventually eliminate your student loan debt.
Examine Your Repayment Options
Many types of tuition assistance loans have a variety of repayment options available that can help you make your payments more affordable. These alternative options can help you avoid becoming delinquent on your payments or defaulting on your loans, two actions that can have serious consequences for your credit score. Income based repayment programs cap your payments at a percentage of your current income. While this can extend your payment time and subject you to more interest over the long run, your immediate payments are more affordable and your risk of default will be reduced.
Communicate With Your Lender
If there is a reason that you cannot make your student loan payments, talk to your lender to see if there are any other options available that could be beneficial to both you and the lender. Some lenders have forbearance options available, where you do not have to make payments for a certain period of time to allow you to get your finances back on track, such as after the loss of a job. You may also be able to get your payments deferred if you are unemployed, are in graduate school, or are on active duty for the military. Depending on your situation, there may be a reasonable option available that can make it easier for you to avoid going into default on your student loans.
Saving money for a secure retirement should be a primary goal for every working person, but many are not saving the amount that they will need for their retirement years. Because retirement is often seen as something that will occur in the far off future, many other priorities are often put ahead of saving for retirement and retirement savings are treated like an afterthought. Fortunately, no matter how old you are, there are ways to get your retirement savings back on track. Here are some methods you can use to save more money for your retirement years.
Participate In Your Employer’s 401(k) Plan
Most employers offer their employees the chance to participate in a 401(k) retirement plan that is administered and monitored by the company. Although many people opt out of this system, you shouldn’t. Participating in an employer’s 401(k) plan allows you to save for retirement automatically each pay period as a predetermined amount of money is deducted from your paycheck and deposited into the retirement account. The deposits that go into the account are tax deferred, meaning that you will only pay taxes on the money if it is withdrawn before you reach retirement age. Some employers also offer matching funds up to a certain percentage of the employee’s salary, helping the balance of the account grow even more quickly.
Increase Your Contributions
Many people choose to defer less than 5% of their income towards retirement savings because they want to have more money to pay for the things that they need now instead of saving the money for the future. While this is better than saving nothing, you could be doing much better. The federal government has issued maximum contribution limits for tax-deferred accounts to insure that wealthy individuals do not take advantage of the accounts to shield their money from taxes, but these limits also provide you with a good target to aim for when making your retirement fund contributions. Try to get as close to the maximum contribution amount that you can to ensure you will have enough money for a comfortable retirement.
Be An Active Participant
There are generally a number of different options available when making choices regarding your retirement accounts. If you do not actively participate in making these choices, you may find that you are missing out on money you could have earned. The default choices that will be made for your retirement account if you do not participate in the choosing are often the safest, but least lucrative, options available. Consider all of the options available and choose the ones with the right amount of risk and benefit for your current station in life.