Seven Financial Planning Tips for Single Parents

I appreciate the efforts and hard work single parents provide to raise their young children and do whatever it takes to get them ready for a bright and promising future. I lost my father at the young age and was raised by my mother. As I witnessed with my own mother, most of the single parents strive to accommodate their children to achieve success despite all the challenges and curve balls life throws at them.

Here are seven financial planning tips for all the brave and selfless single parents.

  1. Choose a guardian.

It is important to choose the right individual to look after your young children if something happens to you. As part of your estate planning, you should name the guardian of your children and executor for your will. Someone at about your age is preferred since an older person may pre-decease you, an executor should be well organized and have some basic knowledge about personal finance.

  1. Save for emergencies.

There are always rainy days. You need to start saving in a systematic way. First build your emergency fund before investing or spending on your favorite holiday gift and other items. As a rule of thumb, your cash fund should be about three to five times of your monthly expenses. If you spend on average $3,000 per month for rent, mortgage, groceries, clothing, utilities and other basic staples, then you should have $9,000 to $15,000 set aside in a money market or savings account in your bank. In case you are fired or laid off, this fund should help you continue your life style until you find a new job.

  1. Get health insurance.

With the constant rise in medical costs, anyone without health insurance faces an uphill battle against medical expenses. According to a report published in the American Journal of Medicine, in 2007 medical expenses contribute to more than 62 percent of individual bankruptcy filings (1).

Divorce, the death of a spouse, or losing your job is the primary cause for losing health insurance. Learn more about Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and shop for insurance plans for benefits and costs at your state’s marketplace or at HealthCare.gov.

  1. Get life insurance.

Depending on your finance, life insurance should be among your top priority in financial planning. The minimum coverage and policy you should consider is to see children to finish high school. To determine your life insurance needs you should identify what it should pay when you are gone. It could range from living expenses, paying off a mortgage, college education and anything else you like your child to have in your absence.

A term policy is the least expensive policy you can purchase at a younger age. The rates do escalate as you get older. It is best to lock in a longer term at the youngest age possible.

  1. Get disability insurance.

Your income is the main source for achieving your financial goals and living your dreams. A disability policy insures your income. It may surprise you to learn according to Social Security Administration studies show just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reading age 67 (2). Furthermore, According to Council for Disability Awareness ‘s 2012 Long-Term Disability Claims Review 90% of disability is due to sickness; a prolong sickness could cause you lose your income (3).

Disability policies could be short term or long-term. A long-term disability may pay 50% to 70% of your salary up to age 65 or 67. They could have different waiting periods starting at 30 days or longer before the benefits are triggered. Furthermore, they could include a definition of disability referred to as “own occupation” where the policy will pay a monthly benefit until a limiting age if you are unable to perform the duties of your own occupation. There can be more restrictive definitions of disability such as “any occupation”. It is best to discuss this with a disability income professional.

  1. Save for retirement

Your employer may offer 401(k) or any other employer sponsored retirement plan. Generally, you can contribute up to $17,500 to a 401(k), 403(b) or the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan in 2014. If you are 50 or older, your contribution is increased by an additional $5,500 to 401(k) in 2014, or a total of $23,000.

You can open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) that allows you to save tax deferred for retirement. You can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA in 2014, which increases to $6,500 if you are age 50 or older. However, if you have a workplace retirement plan, the tax deduction for traditional IRA contributions is phased out for individuals with modified adjusted gross incomes between $60,000 and $70,000 in 2014.

Find any means to save for your retirement.

  1. Get Long Term Care Insurance

If you encounter a prolonged illness or disability, you may inflict your children and loved ones with the burden of your daily care. Among a wide array of services, a long-term care (LTC) policy is designed to cover the costs of nursing home care, an assisted living facility or at-home assistance.

How to Write a Business Plan For an Online Business

Developing and writing a comprehensive business plan is the key to a company’s success or failure. It serves as an invaluable blueprint providing insight into what works, what doesn’t and why. It also helps plan for the unexpected. In fact, successful companies keep ahead of the curve by regularly updating their plans in order to maintain a competitive edge.

The following Six Tips will help you craft some of the most important aspects of your company’s business plan. Enjoy the process. If you don’t get excited about it, you may be venturing into the wrong business!

Tip No. 1 – The Mission Statement: A Company’s Blueprint for Success

A well-conceived and thought out mission statement defines a company’s core values, attributes and objectives. It serves as a blueprint and positioning within the marketplace. An architect would never build a structure without a plan. Following suit, define the structural elements that serve as your company’s foundation.

Tip No. 2 – Give Customers What They Want or Think They Need

Get to know your customer. How do they access information on the web? Define how your business is positioned to give them what they want. Understand your target audience. Develop a unique strategy in line with your company brand that will attract and excite customers.

Tip No. 3 – Market Research: Know Your Universe

Getting a grasp on the marketplace and researching the competition to determine what works (or what doesn’t) is paramount. How are similar or related services priced and marketed? Figure out how you can get an edge on the competition. Develop a realistic public relations and marketing plan that will set you apart from the crowd without breaking the bank. If you don’t understand how public relations and marketing work on the worldwide web, get some professional advice. Many consultants work on an hourly fee basis. Getting educated will help you save money!

Tip No. 4 – Accept the Risks by Planning for the Bumps in the Road

The Internet is a huge landscape. Starting a new web-based business is like being a spec of sand on a global beach of competitors. It’s important you understand the risks involved. Plotting out a strategic plan, clearly targeting objectives and identifying budgets and safe hatches can help you minimize and maneuver around your risks vs. going into panic mode and making bad decisions.

Tip No. 5 – Keep it Unique

There are many cookie-cutter business plans available as templates. They should be used for just that – a template. You may want to research a number of them. Mix and match elements that best suit your objectives and goals. If you’ve done your homework (by following Tips 1-4 above), you will be best equipped to define a plan that reflects the personality and brand of your business.

Tip No. 6 – Get a Second Opinion

After you’ve written your plan, show it to a trusted, professional source (or sources) for their input. Discuss it with your accountant, your business attorney and/or a professional business consultant. A fresh, professional perspective can catch any problems or inconsistencies before you present to a potential investor or venture out on to the ever-changing landscape of the worldwide web.

Take control of your company’s future now by creating a plan that showcases your company’s unique brand, makes an impact, maximizes potential and minimizes risks. It will give you the confidence it takes to be a winner!

3 Top Tips to Utilize As You Develop Your Business Plan

Your business plan should be an action guide on how you plan to run your business. It should be written in a concise manner that will enable any banker or investor to completely understand your business concept. Your plan does not have to be 30 pages long to get your point across. It can be as short a few pages as long as long as it details your concept and the plan to launch it. Here are three top tips to use as you develop your plan:

Tip #1: Using Your #1 Free Resource: Your local library

Your library should have resources available to assist you with the development of your business plan. Most libraries have online sites now and many enable you access to valuable research databases if you have a library card. Some libraries even give you access to expensive business plan software as long as you use your library card for access. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars! Depending on the software, they usually have the option to download the template into Excel or Word for editing purposes.

Tip #2: Brainstorming Questions to Ask as you Develop Your Plan

As you develop your plan, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who represents your customer base?
  • Who is your competition?
  • What products or services do you plan to sell?
  • Where will you be located?
  • How will you approach marketing for your business?
  • When will you start or launch your business?
  • How will you get financing for your business?
  • What type of entity will you be?

Answering these questions initially will start the foundation of your business plan. These questions require thought and research and your local library can give you assistance in this area.

Tip #3: Using A Great Development Research Tool: Reference USA

A great resource to use to get information on your type of business would be Reference USA. Access to this database is offered at many libraries as long as you have a library card. This database can answer questions regarding your customer demographics, competition statistics, sales data, etc. You can even use this data when you are developing your marketing portion of your business plan.

Business Planning Tips And Strategies

When it comes to proper business planning there is no such thing as too much information.

It is important to carefully seek out all the information you will need in order to enjoy the greatest chance at a successful and profitable business.

Find A Business Opportunity That Is Suited To Your Own Unique Interest And Talents

One of the most important aspects of proper business planning is to find a business opportunity that is suited to your own unique interests and talents.

Finding a business opportunity that is meets your own passions and interests is one of the best ways to enhance both the success of the business and your own personal enjoyment.

Those business owners who are able to turn a much loved hobby into a thriving business can enjoy not only financial success but a great deal of personal fulfillment as well.

Create A Solid Business Plan

No matter what type of business you decide to open, however, it is important to carefully plan for that business. It is important, for instance, to create a solid business plan that details the nature of the business and how it plans to succeed.

This business plan will be an essential document as you seek startup financing and ongoing lending opportunities, so be sure to give this important document the consideration it deserves.

Find A Mentor From Whom You Can Learn From

Another part of good business planning is to find a mentor from whom you can learn. In the world of business, finding a mentor is one of the most important things any new businessperson can do.

A mentor can help to guide you and your new business toward profitability. Running a business is not easy, and it is important to carefully consider both the opportunities and the challenges of making such a move.

Even considering its challenges, running a business of your own can be one of the most important moves toward financial independence and financial freedom.

Great Business Plan Tips For an Entrepreneur

Great potential entrepreneurs should start with a great business plan which will lead to adequate funding as well as better guidance to their team. These tips will help to create that great business plan.

Seek Expert Help

In the world of business plans there are those that are prepared by professionals to the entrepreneur’s specifications and there are those that are created from scratch by the entrepreneurs themselves. The first category have the advantage of being carefully reviewed by experts, containing deeper and more detailed research, and having strategies that have been tweaked and improved. Furthermore, experts, such as business plan consultants, know what funders are looking for in a business plan and can pass that expertise on to you. Although it is always possible to create your own business plan that holds up, you will be fighting an uphill battle against professionally prepared plans, so it is in your best interest to join the pack.

Think (Hard) Before Writing

The first time that you consider how your marketing or operations will work should not be when you sit down and put pencil to paper on that section of the plan. Your marketing, operations, and other business activities should all stem from a unified strategy and the competitive advantage you seek to create. You should craft these elements and receive feedback on them well before the time comes to write. The writing itself should be a simple process after the detailed preparation you have done.

Use a Flexible Financial Model

If you create your own Excel financial model you may find that, once you have developed the financial statements, it is painstaking to make simple changes to the underlying assumptions because of the way it is set up. If you are not extremely experienced with Excel formulas this is a distinct possibility. Instead of creating the financial model from scratch, find an appropriate and customizable financial model, whether from a business plan template or another source, which will allow you to play with different numbers. The financial model should allow you to make simple changes and see the effects automatically populate through the linked income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. The software exists to do this and you are wasting valuable time if you do not seek it out and use it.