7 Invaluable Benefits of a Financial Planner

If you are serious about managing your money and accumulating wealth, the benefits of a financial planner can take all the stress and burden away from doing it yourself.

Sure, you could feel competent at investing and money management, but do you really have the time to go in-depth? 

Yet, opting to work with a financial planner won’t suit everyone. There are pros and cons when using a financial planner or adviser, but we do think the benefits we’re going to discuss are well worth considering.

So let’s check out seven benefits of a financial planner.

1. Full-Time Professionalism

The first and obvious benefit of choosing to work with a financial planner is that they are full-time professionals, making investment decisions day in day out.

They will have a wealth of knowledge and plenty of tips about where to invest money. Plus, they can prove to you with past clients the sort of returns they achieve. 

With all their training and know-how, it would be hard to compete with what they are capable of in terms of investing and managing your money wisely year on year. 

Keep in mind, however, just because someone is a qualified and experienced financial adviser, it still doesn’t give you any solid guarantees that you won’t lose money. Going with a financial adviser is always a risk.

But typically, a financial planner will run you through different investment options with varying calculations of risk attached to them. Ultimately, you will be the decision-maker in the process. Your financial planner just handles the more technical aspects of your investments, as well as offering tips and advice.

2. Tax Advice

When anyone invests their money and makes capital gains on their wealth, tax is always an issue. In some cases, taxes can destroy the point of investing as they can simply erode away your gains to a pittance.

A financial planner should be experienced enough to know how to navigate the tax realm in your favor. They will tend to let you know various options you can choose to help reduce your tax burden, and they’ll be up-to-date on new regulations and changes in the law.

3. Objectivity

One key benefit of a financial planner is that they are likely to be a lot more objective than yourself when investing your money. 

This benefit is strongly linked to the professionalism of a financial planner. They are just doing their job investing your money – they don’t have emotional attachments as you may have. 

When emotions get in the way of investing, you’re treading on a pathway to ruin. Objectivity is essential to make wise investment decisions, and a financial planner will give you that.

They can either consult with you about investment decisions they’d like to take for you and explain them clearly.

4. Partnership

A financial planner doesn’t just get the keys to your car to drive off alone into the sunset. They will be available to discuss things with you and keep you updated on what’s going on with your hard-earned cash.

A financial planner is someone you can collaborate with, they’ll listen to you, and they’ll try their best to understand your wants and needs.

As well, the communication aspect of your partnership can be extremely beneficial. By speaking out ideas and strategies allowed, they can become more obviously viable, or conversely, something to avoid.

Plus, there are plenty of tips out there that will help you monitor your financial adviser. 

5. Proactivity

This benefit is linked in a sense to the points of objectivity and professionalism.

A financial planner will be poised and ready to anticipate almost every eventuality that could happen in the markets and with your money. They don’t let their emotions get the better of them, which is easier for them since they are trained professionals.

They will also seek out new investment ideas that you might be aware of and get you tied up in some lucrative opportunities ahead of the curve.

Furthermore, they can implement any ideas that you may have with speed, which you might not be capable of doing yourself.

6. Organization

For many of us with busy schedules and limited time, managing the flow, saving, and investment of our money can become overwhelming.

It may be that you’re losing money that can be easily kept if your finances and payments are restructured in a more organized and logical manner. 

Having control over your finances can relieve a lot of stress, and it could even be the case that you save more money by actually paying for the services of a financial planner. 

It’s funny how they don’t properly teach us the ins and outs of taking care of money and investing at school. Now you have the opportunity to see your financial planner, not only as a money manager but a teacher of investing and finance too. 

7. Relaxation and Free Time

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have all your financial worries set aside and dealt with by someone you can trust?

Most of us have enough on our plates already with work, family, and other commitments. Choosing a financial planner’s expertise will surely give you the peace of mind you deserve and some much-needed relaxation. 

The Benefits of a Financial Planner

We’ve just mentioned only seven benefits of a financial planner. There are loads more benefits to take advantage of if you decide to take the leap and regain control of your finances.

It will be like starting off on a new journey into the unknown at first, but once you get your bearings and develop a rapport with your financial planner, we think you’ll be surprised at the positive changes that will occur.

Please check out our blog for more financial advice and wisdom.

8 Tips for Improving Your Credit Score Rating

Your credit score can have a major impact on what you can and can’t achieve in your life. In these modern times, your credit score rating can determine whether or not you get a car loan, a mortgage, an apartment, or even a job.

If you’ve got a less than perfect credit score, you don’t have to fret. While rebuilding your credit won’t happen overnight, you can take steps that will help increase your score over time.

Are you wondering what you can do to boost your score so it stops limiting you?

Let’s take a look at eight tips for improving your credit score rating.

1. Reduce Your Credit Utilization Ratio

There are a number of different factors that determine what your credit score is. 30% of your score reflects your credit utilization ratio. This ratio signifies the total amount of credit you have access to and how much of that credit you are using.

Basically, if your total credit limit is $10,000 and you have charged $2000 to your credit cards, you have a 20% credit utilization ratio.

In general, it is recommended to not use more than 30% of your credit card limit. Some experts even suggest keeping your utilization ratio under 10%.

Are you trying to learn more about credit in general? Check out the different types of credit here.

2. Fix Any Credit Report Errors

Occasionally, credit report errors can occur that can hurt your credit score. This means that even if you are doing everything right, you should review your credit report periodically.

If you do find any errors on your credit report, you will need to contact the credit bureau and file a dispute.

3. Request an Increase to Your Credit Limit

It is a good idea to periodically request a credit limit increase. Different credit card companies will have methods for this process, but it is usually a quick and easy thing. In fact, most companies will allow you to request an increase online.

The reason that this can help to improve your credit score rating is that it lowers your utilization rate.

There are a couple of things that you will want to keep in mind when you do this, though. For one, don’t request an increase on a new credit card, as many companies won’t give increased credit limits for new cards.

Secondly, you want to make sure your request does not require a hard inquiry on your credit report. Relatively small increases can typically be approved automatically. If the company asks for more information, declined the request, as they will likely do a hard inquiry which can negatively impact your credit score.

4. Make Your Payments on Time

The most influential factor that determines your credit score is your payment history. This means that it should be your highest priority to make your payments on time.

One of the best ways to ensure that you are never missing payments is by setting up automatic bill payments. This way, the money is withdrawn from your bank account on a specific day every month to ensure that you never have late payments.

5. Be an Authorized User on Someone Else’s Credit Card

Do you have a family member that has a higher credit score and you? If so, they can add you as an authorized user to their credit card. This can help to boost your credit score if they have made on-time payments, have a low credit utilization ratio, and the account history is long.

6. Use “Dormant” Credit Cards Every Once in a While

Over time, as you build your credit history, you will be able to qualify for cards that have better interest rates and better rewards. However, it is not usually a good idea to close your first credit card. Instead, make occasional purchases with that in order to keep it active.

If you completely stop using a credit card, the bank might close the card or reduce the credit limit. If you receive a credit line decrease than your credit utilization ratio will also go down.

It can also hurt your score to close an old credit card account. The only reason you might want to close an old credit card that you no longer you as if it has an annual fee. Even so, though, you might be able to downgrade the card to want without an annual fee without closing the account.

7. Diversify Your Accounts

It can be beneficial to your credit score to have a number of different credit accounts. Of course, you should only borrow money when it is necessary. However, it can demonstrate to lenders that you can manage credit responsibly when you have a variety of credit accounts.

This might mean having a home mortgage, a credit card, and a car loan.

8. Negotiate With Creditors With Whom You Have Outstanding Debts

Paying off debt will help to lower your credit utilization ratio. However, if you have been missing payments than your credit score can be negatively affected. You can often negotiate with credit card companies to have the negative hit removed from your credit report in exchange for paying off your debt in full.

If you go this route, remember to get the agreement in writing.

These Steps Can Help Increase Your Credit Score Rating

Boosting your credit score rating takes time, organization, and commitment. That being said, you can help to increase your number over time in a way that can offer serious benefits to many aspects of your life.

Are you looking for more resources to help you navigate the complicated world of finances? If so, check out the rest of our blog for more informative articles!

Self-Employment Tax Tips: 6 Important Things to Know

Are you dreading tax time and don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), it takes small business three weeks every year in order to comply with tax rules. You’ll find that preparing ahead of time by doing research and budgeting will help you pay self-employment taxes easily without the stress. The confusion comes from how much you have to pay depending on different percentages of your earnings. We’re here to help cut down on the time and smooth away some of the confusion. Read on for our top six self-employment tax tips so you’ll know how to do taxes correctly once the time comes! 

1. Budget for Taxes

If you were working on a side-hustle and didn’t earn over £1000 throughout the year, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to tell the HMRC that you’re self-employed. You also don’t have to pay taxes for the first £12,500 you earned. 

If you make more than this, however, it’s important that you plan ahead and budget for taxes. According to UK tax laws, you’ll need to pay 20% for income between £12,500 and £50,000. This bumps up to 40% for income between £50,001 and £150,000. 

Lastly, it increases to 45% for income of over £150,000. This also includes your income if you rent out properties. 

We recommend setting some money aside in a separate savings account every time you’re paid. This will help you keep track of what you owe and also help you remember that not all the money you earn is yours–even if it feels like it! 

2. National Insurance

It’s also important that you budget for the National Insurance payments that need to be made. If your profits from self-employment are greater than £6,475, you have the pay a rate of £3.05 a week for Class 2 National Insurance. This is paid through direct debit to HMRC. 

If you’re making between £9,500 and £50,270, you’ll also need to pay 9% of your income for Class 4 National Insurance as well. For profits greater than £50,270, you’ll have to pay 2% of your profits. What you have to pay for National Insurance will also show up in your Self Assessment tax return. 

3. Payments on Account

Even if you budget ahead of time, you may find that the HMRC is asking for a task bill that’s higher than you predicted. One reason could be because they’re asking to collect taxes that are due in the current year as well. They calculate this based on your earnings from the last year. 

You’ll need to make your payments on account in two instalments: before midnight on 31 January and 31 July. Budgeting ahead of time will help for your first payment, as this is where you’ll find that for your first year, you’ll need to pay 1.5x more. 

4. Claiming Mileage

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to pay based on your entire profits. You can claim expenses that you used for business in order to cut down on what you owe come tax time. If you use a vehicle for business, this is one of the easiest ways to claim some expenses. 

Here are the mileage rates that you need to remember: 

  • For the first 10,000 miles in the tax year, 45p per mile
  • 25p per mile above 10,000 miles
  • 24p per mile for motorbikes 
  • 20p per mile for bikes 

The easiest way to keep track of these miles is to use an app that can automatically log your route and do the mileage calculations for you throughout the year. Many of them allow you to name and categorize your trips.

If you take frequent trips to the same location, you can even have the app automatically categorize the trip based on the route so that you don’t have to always manually input the information. 

5. Claiming Home as Office

If you work from home frequently, it’s also important that you also make note of this on your Self Assessment. If you’re a sole trader or partnership, the easiest way to do this is through the simplified expenses rules.

Depending on the hours you work from home, you’ll be able to claim a flat rate. For instance, if you work for 25 to 50 hours, you’ll be able to claim £10 per month. If you work 101 or more hours, you’ll be able to claim £26 per month. 

6. Find a Bookkeeper and Accountant

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to suffer through taxes alone. As your business begins to grow, there’s no shame in finding the help of a bookkeeper as well as an accountant. A bookkeeper will help keep all of your records organized and up-to-date so that they’re easier to compile during tax time. 

An accountant can help you through the process of doing your taxes. Even better, throughout the year they can help you make smart business decisions. They’ll analyze the data and help you find ways to maximize profits and minimize expenses. 

Self-Employment Tax Tips: Preparing Ahead of Time

When it comes to self-employment tax tips, our best piece of advice is to begin preparing as soon as you begin your small business. Keep track of your income and expenses so that you can predict how much you need to pay and how much you can deduct.

Then, create a separate savings account so that you can funnel a percentage of your earnings away. That way, you won’t become attached to the income you earn that still belongs to the government. 

There’s also no shame in asking for help–bookkeepers and accountants are professionals that work with small and large businesses each day. They’ll help you explain the tax rules and procedures better as well as provide ways to keep your income organized. Even if you’re not looking for tax advice, accountants can help you make better business decisions. 

Ready to stay in-the-know when it comes to financial news for SMEs? Take a look at our finance archives to stay on top of the latest developments throughout the world! 

Budgeting for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide

Creating a budget is one of the best things you can do for your financial health. Budgets are like road maps giving you direction. To help you manage it all, we’ve rounded up the ultimate budgeting for beginners guide.

We’ll go over how to make a budget, where to start, and budgeting tips to help keep you on track. Here’s your go-to guide to creating a budget. 

Where to Start

When creating a budget, you’ll want to start with your goals. Your goals could be anything from building up your emergency fund to saving for a home. Thinking about your goals will help you better understand where you should put your money.

If your goal is to retire early, for example, a good portion of your budget will go towards retirement savings. If your goal is to pay down debt, you’ll focus your efforts on reducing your credit card bills.

One helpful tip is to set small, attainable goals that will help you reach your larger goal. Let’s say your end goal is to pay off your debt.

Start with the low-hanging fruit and pay off your smallest or highest interest debt first. Paying off a small credit card, for example, will leave you with a few hundred extra pounds each month to pay off a larger card.

Write Out Your Income and Expenses

After you’ve set your goals, you’ll want to write out your income and expenses. You can’t make a plan for what’s coming out if you don’t really know what’s coming in. Write out any income sources you have.

Next, you’ll need to write out all your expenses. Separate your fixed expenses as well. Fixed expenses are expenses you have to have or pay such as rent and electricity.

Non-essential expenses include gym memberships, music subscriptions, and the money you spend on clothes. These are all expenses you can trim if the money in your budget becomes tight.

Check your bank statements for anything you may have missed. Go back a few months so you can see anything that’s paid quarterly. The more detailed you are, the more accurate your budget will be.

Where to Make Cuts

Once you see how much you have coming in versus what you’re spending, it’s time to make some cuts. Be realistic here. If you cut too much, you won’t be able to stick to your new budget.

Look at anything that’s non-essential. If it isn’t being used, cancel it. You may be surprised by all the subscription services you have that you aren’t using.

If you have three group fitness class memberships, for example. Choose your favourite and stick to one.

If you’re spending more than you’re bringing in, cutting items will help you get back on track. Keep your goals in mind here. If it isn’t helping you reach your goals, cut it.

Making a Budget

To start writing out your budget, begin with your fixed expenses. Rent, student loan, and your car payment are examples of fixed expenses. You need to pay for these each month.

Next, look at your utility payments, cell phone, and grocery bills. Groceries are one you can be flexible with if you need to. If you’re eating out for three meals a day, cut this down and increase your grocery budget to save money.

When you’re assigning items a budget, be realistic. If you’re used to spending £500 a week on groceries for a family of six, start by cutting that down to £300. If you try to live off £50, you’ll probably end up ordering takeaway and blowing your budget.

The next part of your budget should include reaching your goals. Remember to work on small goals to help you reach your larger one.

Carve off any disposable income towards reaching your goals. If these aren’t included in your goals, make room for saving for emergencies as well as retirement.

What to Use

Your budget can go on anything from a piece of paper to an online app. A spreadsheet that you can access online and from your phone is also helpful. You want to be able to see your budget whenever you need to.

There are a number of helpful budgeting apps as well. These often synch with your bank accounts, so your income and spending are tracked.

Cutting Down Fixed Expenses

Fixed expenses are harder to cut down. Rent, for example, has to be paid. If rent is too expensive, this is where getting a flatmate is helpful. You can split the rent, utilities, and even some groceries. You two can also share a car.

If you live in an area that’s walkable, you can also sell your car. You’ll use less petrol, save on car payments, and insurance.

The more you save and pay down, the less fixed expenses you’ll have. With budgeting, you can go from paying three credit cards to one.

Have Weekly or Monthly Meetings With Yourself

Once your budget is in place, you’ll want to make sure you’re staying on track. Host weekly or monthly meetings with yourself to make sure you’re staying on budget. It’s so rewarding to see yourself meeting your goals.

If a goal is to pay down debt. Pull up all your accounts online and check on your progress. When you see that debt number go down, put that money towards your emergency fund or another goal.

Budgeting for Beginners

Budgeting for beginners starts with accountability. You need to hold yourself accountable for your spending.

The only way a budget works is if you keep it realistic and set small, attainable goals. For more money advice, check out the finance section.

6 Types of Private Equity

We live in an unstable financial world. This has meant that those seeking to invest are desperate to know where they can find a safe bet. As a result, interest in the different types of private equity (PE) has gone up.

Private equity is an investment made by funds who are not listed on the public stock exchange. Companies use the funds for a range of different things but the end goal is the same for any investor, a return on investment. 

So how many different types of private equity are there?

Let us show you and after reading you will see that there isn’t an area of business that doesn’t benefit from the various types of private equity.

Venture Capital 

Made famous with the tech boom of the late ’90s, venture capital funds invest in start-up, emerging, or small businesses. This is done with the hope of a return on investment should the company become successful. 

There is a clear risk in doing this as these companies don’t have a solid track record of turning a profit. However, the potential sizable windfall has made them very lucrative. 

Young companies on the market for the support of venture capital fall into two categories.

Early-stage funds focus on looking for budding enterprises with extremely capable leaders looking for capital to develop technologies etc. Later stage funds for emerging businesses that may have already exhibited a profitable business plan and may be looking to expand or step into new markets.

Examples: Whatsapp and Facebook started life being funded by VC’s. 

Leveraged Buy-Out

A leveraged buy-out is when a PE fund uses part of its capital as well as borrowed funds to acquire a controlling stake in a company. 

Operating similarly to a mortgage, capital is raised (up to 90% through loans) and the existing debt is offset by any profits gained by the company purchased plus any existing assets that they may have. 

The goal of any PF fund who performs a leveraged buyout is to stimulate the profitability of the newly acquired business. To do this they will reduce expenses or change their financial strategy via financial engineering. 

Mature, profitable businesses are prime candidates for LBOs due to the high levels of debt that are involved.

Examples: Heathrow Airport, Manchester United and Hilton Hotels are some famous examples that have been involved in LBO’s in recent history. 

Growth Capital 

At times a company may wish to expand or step into new markets in a way that they feel will be profitable long term. To do so however they need the money that they don’t have. In this case, a PE firm can choose to invest to stimulate this growth, which is the basis for Growth Capital.

Companies in this position are usually stable and financially secure. This means that although similar to VC, investors take minority stakes and leave the day to day running of operations to the business.

Growth capital funds are willing to invest in businesses that they see as reliable and profitable, even if at times the company in question doesn’t have a long track record. This means that they sit in the middle of VC’s who look for new blood and LBO’s who need a sure bet. 

Examples: Deliveroo is seeking to benefit from $180 billion received due to growth capital.    

Real Estate 

Investing in real estate is perhaps one of the most well-established types of private equity. This is likely due to the constant and steady cash flow investors enjoy over time as well as the potential of high returns. 

Commercial real estate is where most of the investment goes. This includes such things as office blocks, shopping centres, multi-family apartment buildings. Other areas such as land are also included however this is more speculative and therefore seen as more of a risk. 

Investing in real estate on this scale in the past has only been open to high net with individuals or institutional investors. The reason? The large amounts needed to contribute.

Examples: Blackrock is the biggest private equity firm in this sector with properties as diverse as the MGM Grand and Bellagio in Las Vegas to Center Parks in the UK.

Infrastructure

Investing in infrastructure involves three main areas of investment, utilities, social and transportation. 

Utilities include investing in the energy sector, water distribution and telecommunications. Social investments involve education facilities and hospitals and transportation can include toll roads, rail and airports. 

Why are these types of private equity desirable? 

Well as they are providing essential services, even though there is not much room for potential growth, it is a low-risk investment. This means you as an investor can rely upon steady and stable returns.

Additionally, infrastructure funds allow more flexibility in where your money lies, meaning it is better protected in an often volatile market.

Examples: Check out a good example of how this is being done during the current pandemic conditions in Nepal.

Distressed Private Equity

More and more on the news, we hear of companies facing hard times being bailed out at the last minute by private investors. 

These types of private equity are known as distressed private equity. 

Getting involved in distressed private equity will require a wide range of skills on the behalf of the private equity fund involved. Not only the standard business acumen is necessary but an understanding of bankruptcy laws and capital and credit structure among other areas of expertise may be called upon.

So why would someone choose to invest in a company going through major difficulties?

Mainly because the purchase value becomes so low that they can make a massive profit from turning fortunes around. Any future sale or even going public can make distressed private equity extremely lucrative. 

Examples: The trainer brand Converse filed for bankruptcy at the turn of the millennium and was saved by Footwear Aquisition Inc for $117.5 million. They later sold it to Nike in 2003 for $305 million.

Clarity on the Different Types of Private Equity

Deciding where to invest your money, is one of the decisions in life that can have the most ramifications for you or your clients future. 

For that reason, we hope that this deep dive into the different types of private equity has left you with a clear idea about the available options. 

If you would like further advice or you have a question that needs answering don’t hesitate to contact us!

Hedge Fund vs. Private Equity: Everything You Need To Know

Despite coronavirus-related struggles in other industries, UK asset management funds are thriving. Total assets under management hit £8.5 trillion at the end of 2019, up 10% from the year prior.

There’s never been a better time to place your money with an investment fund. But when it comes to a hedge fund vs private equity, which one should you choose?

Today, we’re helping you out with this guide to understanding hedge funds and private equity firms. Ready to learn more? Then you better keep reading because this one’s for you.

What Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds Share in Common

Hedge funds and private equity funds are different. But they share in common their target investor, type of business partnership, and revenue streams. 

Check out the biggest commonalities between hedge funds and private equity funds below.

The Target Investor

Hedge funds and private equity funds have the same target investor. They both prefer high net worth individuals. Usually, that means investors must have $250k or more to invest. 

The Partnership Structure

Hedge fund companies and private equity firms tend to have the same business structure. Namely, they’re both limited partnerships (LPs). LPs consist of a general partner(s) (also known as managing partner(s)) and limited partners.

The general partner(s) run the day-to-day aspects of the business and have full liability for any debts accumulated. The limited partner(s) has a contracted limited liability for any debts and doesn’t partake in day-to-day operations.

The Profit Scheme

Hedge funds and private equity funds have the same profit scheme for partners. Both types of funds pay general partners a contracted management fee. Plus, they pay each partner a pre-determined percentage of annual profits.

Management fees tend to equal approximately 2% of the value of the asset under management. For example, a private equity fund manager might make 2% off the sale of one of his portfolio companies.

PE and hedge funds base performance fees on profits. For example, a hedge fund manager might receive 20% of gross profits after the sale of stock.

What Is a Hedge Fund?

Hedge funds are institutions that make investments with money pooled from high-net-worth individuals. Because they trade on borrowed funds, hedge funds are risky. This is especially true during times of economic downturn. 

Hedge funds tend to be less regulated than similar investment institutions. This has to do, in part, with the fact that hedge funds don’t work with smaller investors. You must be an accredited investor to invest in a hedge fund.

Keep reading for three additional factors that explain the hedge fund vs private equity distinction.

Hedge Funds Goals

A hedge fund’s goal is to make as much money in as short of a time as possible. This is called a short or short-term investment strategy. 

Note that the short-term nature of hedge funds’ investments means investors can cash out any time. 

Hedge Funds Investment Strategies

Because they’re short-term investors, hedge funds tend to only invest in strongly liquid products. These products can easily and quickly be turned around for a profit, which the hedge fund can then invest in new assets. 

Hedge funds are less picky when it comes to the specific type of investment they’ll make. Stocks (take a look at this S&P 500 heat map), futures contracts, currencies, derivatives, and bonds are all fair game for hedge funds. 

Hedge Funds Investment Structures

Hedge funds feature an open-ended investment structure. This means investors can not only take profit whenever they want, but they can also add more money into the fund whenever they want. 

This is due to the short-term nature of hedge fund investments.

What Is Private Equity?

Like hedge funds, private equity (PE) funds accumulate wealth from high-net-worth individuals. Firms then invest that money into privately held companies. This makes PE investments far more stable than hedge fund assets.

A PE fund can be made up of a pension fund, which is a company’s retirement fund. More commonly, it’s an actual PE firm. Accredited investors fund PE firms in a similar fashion to hedge funds. 

Here are three more factors that differentiate PE from hedge funds. 

Private Equity Firms Goals

A private equity fund’s goal is to curate an investment portfolio with the potential for profits in the next 4–7 years. This is called long or long-term investing.

As you can imagine, long-term investing makes it trickier to cash out. Most PE firms require investors to commit to 3–5 years at the least. Some firms require investors to agree to invest for 7–10 years before realizing profits. 

Private Equity Firms Investment Strategies

Private equity firms invest in private companies directly using one of two strategies. The first strategy is to purchase the company outright. This can be done either through a leveraged buyout (LBO) or a venture capital investment.

A less common strategy is to purchase controlling interest via a public company’s shares. When a private equity fund does this, it’s usually because investors plan to de-list the public company from the stock exchange.

Once a private equity fund acquires a company, it hands that account over to its fund managers. The fund managers monitor the company over time to ensure the investment will pay off in the long run. 

Private Equity Firms Investment Structures

Private equity funds use closed-ended investment structures. In the same way that investors can’t take profits for 3–10 years, they can’t add new money to the investment either. 

This is due to the long-term nature of private equity investment strategies. 

Hedge Fund vs Private Equity: The Bottom Line

When it comes to the difference between a hedge fund vs private equity firm, the biggest thing to consider is the investment strategy. 

If you want quick returns now, a hedge fund’s short-term investing strategy is for you. Meanwhile, investors in it for the long hall may benefit from investing with a private equity firm. 

Looking for more financial advice from Capital Finance International? Check out our finance blog posts right now!

Investing in Your Child’s Future: Expert Tips on How to Start Saving for College

Are you looking to prepare your child for a future of academic success? While not all children will choose college after they’re finished with school, there are over 2 million students in higher education programs in the United Kingdom alone. This means that it isn’t unlikely that your child will become one of them.

But how do you afford higher education? With the costs of colleges rising by the year and student loans setting students up for financial distress, it’s a good idea to start saving for college as soon as possible.

It’s a daunting idea, but we want to help give you some direction. Keep reading for a few tips on how you can start setting your child up for academic success by learning how to save for college ahead of time.

Start Early

This is the most crucial advice that we can give you when it comes to preparing your child for college. You need to start as early as possible. 

Higher education is expensive. While it’s possible to put aside enough money as your child enters their teen years, it’s much more difficult, especially for families who are in lower income brackets. 

This means that you should start while your child is still young, preferably in their infancy or toddler years if you’re able. Some parents choose to start before the child is born.

The longer you have to save, the more money you can accumulate with fewer adjustments to your day-to-day spending. This is even more important if you have multiple children who all plan on going to University. 

The rest of our tips apply regardless of how early you choose to start saving, but they’ll be more helpful if you start with plenty of time to save.

Create a Budget

Every household, regardless of the intention to go to college, should have a budget to adhere to. This makes saving easier.

First, calculate the income of your household. If your children have jobs, only include their income if they contribute to household necessities. 

Make a list of all of your bills and spending that can’t be avoided or changed. These include internet, taxes, utilities, and the costs associated with your home such as rent or mortgage. Take these out of your income. 

After this, consider your grocery bill. How much do you spend every month, and where can you cut down? Also, consider other areas in which you may be able to cut back, whether they’re necessities or not.

How much do you spend on gym fees or leisure activities? What about shopping? 

With all of these things, you’re going to break your list down into “needs” and “wants.” These categories will help you learn where you can cut back. 

Everyone needs food and clothing, but how much do you spend that isn’t necessary? For example, how much food waste do you accumulate? How often do you buy excess snacks, or expensive brands of items when the basic brands are just as good? See what you can do to reduce your spending in this area. 

Do I Have to Cut Out Everything? 

You can still spend money on non-essentials. You should be careful and work them into your budget ahead of time. 

You want to add a percentage of your earnings to emergency savings, saving for the future, and college savings. All of these are important. 

After this, set aside money for fun and leisure activities so you’re still able to go on holiday and provide nice products and experiences for your family. 

Put Aside a Portion of Every Paycheck

Speaking of setting aside money, putting aside a portion of your paycheck dedicated to college is a great idea. The earlier you start, the smaller the portion needs to be. 

Make sure that it’s a reasonable amount based on your necessities. For some people, this may be as small as 1% to 5%, but this amount still makes a difference in the long run. 

Choose the Right Savings Account

Savings accounts aren’t all equal. While you may be used to the savings account associated with your normal bank, consider alternatives.

When you’re choosing a savings account for a college fund, look at interest rates. You’re saving for a long time, and a higher interest rate means that you get more out of your account. Your money won’t be sitting, it will be accumulating. 

Most savings account interest rates are available to view online. Don’t choose a savings account before seeing what the best bank can do for you. 

Involve Your Child 

Your child can help you save for their education once they’re old enough.

If you like, you can give an allowance for household chores when they’re young. Teach them the value of money by taking a small portion out of their chore money to save. If they save even a small amount every week, by the time they’re ready to go to school they’ll have a small, but not inconsequential, amount of money. 

As they get older and get their first jobs, talk about putting aside part of their paycheck for college. They may be resistant, but if you’ve been successful in teaching them about money, they’ll understand how important this is. 

Finally, encourage your child to strive for scholarships. There are plenty of scholarships available based on demographics and academic performance that your child can apply to in order to help offset the expense of a college education. 

Saving for College Paves the Way for Success 

Affording college is difficult for many families. This is why saving for college early is so critical. With the right steps, you can send your children to school so they can reach their full academic potential. 

For more on finances, banking, and important news updates, visit our magazine. We’d also love it if you’d subscribe to our print version so you never miss a story. 

VEON and Mastercard enter into global partnership to boost digital financial services

Partnership to accelerate scaling of VEON’s digital financial services business

Amsterdam, 3rd February 2021 – VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ and Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), a leading global provider of connectivity and digital services, announces a strategic global partnership with payment technology leader Mastercard to boost digital financial services in key markets.

The partnership, covering core portions of VEON’s footprint (Russia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Bangladesh), will allow VEON to further scale its digital financial services business by offering consumers and merchants in these countries best-in-class products tailored to their needs. By working together, the companies will support the financial and digital inclusion of traditionally underserved consumers in each geography.

VEON’s co-Chief Executive Officer Sergi Herrero commented: “Expanding digital financial services is a key growth priority for VEON as we look to meet the evolving needs of our consumers. Our partnership with Mastercard provides our operating companies in five countries with world-class capabilities to fast-track their plans for developing digital financial services and demonstrates the trust Mastercard has in VEON’s ability to encourage greater financial inclusion through these transformative platforms.”

Jorn Lambert, Chief Digital Officer, Mastercard said: “As digital transformation accelerates, there is also an opportunity to expedite its many benefits, including the way it effectively addresses consumer needs and experiences. Mastercard strongly believes in the power of partnership and we look forward to working closely with VEON to expand financial inclusion and greater access to the digital economy.”

The partnership is an expansion of the relationship between the two companies that began in May 2020 when Mastercard partnered with Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited, VEON’s financial services provider in Pakistan, to boost financial inclusion across that fast-growing nation. It further cements the joint commitment of VEON and Mastercard as strategic partners on this ambitious but vital journey to empower individuals and communities though financial services access.

About VEON

VEON is a NASDAQ and Euronext Amsterdam-listed global provider of connectivity and internet services, headquartered in Amsterdam. Our vision is to empower customer ambitions through technology, acting as a digital concierge to guide their choices and connect them with resources that match their needs. 

For more information visit: http://www.veon.com.

About Mastercard

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

For more information visit: www.mastercard.com

Why trust and transparency are the key ingredients for strong leadership in 2021

Jonny Combe, UK CEO of PayByPhone, gives his 7 Top Tips on leading a remote team in 2021 

Jonny Combe, UK CEO of PayByPhone
Jonny Combe, UK CEO of PayByPhone
  1. Build a foundation of trust

Leadership is about empowering your people and one of the main ways to do this is to trust your team to make responsible decisions – just as they did in an office-based set-up. In a remote office model, it’s important to trust them to make good judgements about time and personal commitments. And whatever your leadership style, trust engenders an adult-to-adult model of interaction. This has always been the case but is even more crucial now with so any of us working from home. Leaders can also build trust by demonstrating authenticity. We’re all human and acknowledging the challenges we encounter in these strange times helps to build trust and also encourages people to speak up about any struggles they are facing.

  • Work out what really matters

Being suddenly plunged into remote working patterns in 2020 was a shock for leaders and employees alike – it’s easy to talk about being more productive but suddenly you had to deliver it. The situation forced leadership to work out what the truly key tasks were and to ensure their team delivered them. This focus continues to be a benefit of remote working and helps leaders direct their people towards a more outcome-based model of working. 

  • Intentional communication with staff

Frequent communication and contact with staff have always been important and being remote shouldn’t have changed that. What has changed is that as a leader, you now have to be more intuitive and tap into your EQ. Whereas in the office you might pick up on someone’s mood changes and check in, now you have to check in on people intentionally. After nearly a year of working remotely, this has become almost second nature for many leaders and managers. However, there is a danger that as lockdown conditions drag on, some of these good habits can fall by the wayside. Leaders must not underestimate the importance of connecting – both on a personal and a professional level. These regular connection points help people feel valued and significant – which encourages them to feel good about themselves, what they do and the value they bring. As well as being the right thing to do on a human level, on a business level, it also means people will want to do their best work. 

  • Empower your leaders to lead 

Businesses have to adapt to changing circumstances – as a leader you have to work out the most effective way to recalibrate and to communicate with your leadership team and your staff. You’ve got to keep your leaders and all your people in the loop. Leaders should also look to capitalise on opportunities and the pandemic is certainly an ideal time to embrace great internal comms.

At PayByPhone we walk the talk – we have introduced a senior management team call three times a week, which are good connection points for us. We also have a more formal leadership meeting once a month, and we have an all-staff virtual meeting every Monday morning.

  • Follow up on your promises to your staff

Many leaders tell their people how important they are, but you have to follow this through with action. There are some great examples of intentional actions and at PayByPhone we have opted to pay for Disney+ subscriptions for those employees with children as a way to support them during lockdown. For employees who don’t have children or who already have a Disney+ subscription, we pay for them to have the new Joe Wicks app to help them get active and to maintain a positive mental attitude. These are small gestures in themselves, but they are important because they help people feel valued and remind them that out-of-sight isn’t out-of-mind. 

  • Adjust your expectations 

Paying tribute to flexible working and actually demonstrating flexibility are vastly different things. At PayByPhone we were already advocates of flexible working when we were office-based so it hasn’t felt like a huge leap. For us, it has never been about ‘face time’ at your desk, or ‘presentee-ism’, it’s about getting your job done. 

Right now, however, the game changer is having multiple employees with children who need home schooling, so it’s crucial that as a leader, I adjust my expectations. A single parent trying to juggle home working and home schooling will inevitably have their work impacted, despite their best efforts. Frankly any working parent right now probably deserves a superhero cape! Accepting that some employees may be unable to give 100% focus and being aware of the pressures is vitally important as a leader. And it’s also essential to set clear boundaries and goals about the achievements and outcomes you expect. Just make sure they are realistic. 

  • Recruit from a wider talent pool and consider a hybrid-remote office

Part of good leadership is seizing opportunities and since the pandemic has accelerated the working-from-home revolution, it’s now possible to source employees from a wider area. Leaders should cast their recruitment net wide and carefully consider the kind of skills, experiences and diverse ways of thinking that would help take their organisation to a new level. By securing the very best employees, leaders can add more value to their organisation. We used to restrict our hiring pool to people within a relatively small radius of the office. Now, we’re looking within a 100-mile radius of the office, which will enable us to operate a hybrid-remote office with people in the office once a week even when we are clear of the pandemic crisis. The flexible nature of remote working has the added benefit that it attracts Millennials and Gen Z who like a portfolio approach to work. Having these digital natives on board and harnessing the mindset of different generations is all part of creating a vibrant and diverse workforce – and for PayByPhone this helps us consolidate our position as a leader within our industry. 

Top 5 Things You Can Do To Earn Money At Home Right Now

Are you suffering from quarantine boredom? Are you wondering if there’s a way to earn money at home?

Since COVID-19 entered the world, remote work has become more important than ever. And it’s a great way to use your time productively when there aren’t many places to go.

Here’s how you can earn extra money without getting out of your pajamas.

1. Sell Your Unwanted Items

You might be surprised at all the ways you can sell old items online, especially if they’re still in good condition. Sites like eBay, Gumtree, and Craigslist are great places to turn trash into treasure.

Laptops and tablets are always a hot commodity if they’re in good working order. CDs and vintage games are also in demand, especially during the holidays.

You may also be able to sell your old clothes this way. If you’ve got a few items that you rarely wear, they could be priceless to someone else. Just make sure they’re washed, ironed, and neatly folded.

Consignment shops are another great way to get a few dollars for gently used clothing and accessories. They might offer you upfront payments or the potential for profit sharing. If your store profit shares, your clothes will be tagged with an account number and you’ll get a portion of the profits after your items get purchased.

Look around for a specialty consignment shop that sells the types of items you tend to purchase. After a while, you’ll get a feel for the types of items that sell and start to make more profitable decisions.

2. Start Your Own Website

These days, you can start your own website with nothing more than a domain name, website hosting service, and website platform such as WordPress.

A good topic for your website could be a subject you have expertise in that you could inform your readers about. You can also provide services such as fashion advice, counseling, or self-help.

Affiliate marketing is a popular way to monetize your site. In these cases, you’ll have links to affiliate businesses on your site. And you’ll get a revenue share every time someone clicks on the link to set up an account.

You can also make money by selling a product or service that people want, such as an e-course. Other website entrepreneurs have paid members or sponsors who pay to post ads or product reviews.

Make sure you do your research before launching your site. Make sure that you choose a topic you have expertise and knowledge in. And you’ll want to be certain your ready to keep learning about the topic as your site becomes more popular.

3. Become an Online Tutor

Online tutors can make ten to nineteen pounds per hour. All you need is a working computer with a camera and expertise in a particular area. 

Of course, a degree in a field you’ll be tutoring in will be particularly helpful. Yet many of today’s students need extra help with their schoolwork due to less time spent in the classroom.

Offer to tutor the children of some people you know for a low rate if you’re looking for a way to start. As you begin to develop a good reputation, you can start to charge more and organise your schedule to suit your needs and comfort. Social media is also a great way to advertise your services to local neighborhoods.

4. Get Paid to Write Reviews

There are lots of websites out there that will pay you to write reviews of restaurants, movies, or products. You’ll also be earning a little free entertainment. 

Make sure that all of the reviews you turn out are of high quality. Check your grammar and spelling so you’ll continue to get work as a paid reviewer.

The best part about reviewing products and services is that there’s some flexibility with your schedule. You can visit local establishments or test various products after work or before your children wake up in the morning. 

5. Work As a Customer Service Agent

Believe it or not, there are plenty of companies out there that will pay a decent hourly wage for individuals to work at home in customer service, especially around Christmas.

Unlike other remote options, work-from-home customer service agents earn a steady hourly wage. If you’re a good listener with important interpersonal skills, such as patience and empathy, remote customer service could be a great way to keep your bank account happy.

The Best Way to Earn Money at Home

Quarantining has required many of us to rethink the way we pay the bills. Working remotely is a wonderful way to turn your extra time into a profitable opportunity.

Side hustles are also an excellent opportunity for you to require new skills and experiences that can be valuable in the future. You can also begin developing a new network of contacts that may be important for your future professional development.

During a time when many are suffering from anxiety and depression, a profitable side business can give you a productive escape from negative thoughts and feelings. You’ll develop confidence and peace of mind, as well as the freedom to create a work-life balance that is optimal for your personal well-being. 

Get to Work!

When you’re ready to earn money at home, there is a myriad of opportunities you can take advantage of. With a little research and a willingness to keep trying, you’ll discover an enterprise that suits your personality in no time.

Don’t stop getting smart about your financial opportunities now. For more information on personal finance, read our blog today.