Marketing Tips for Financial Advisors

As a financial advisor you are responsible for providing your customer with valuable information and advice on how to invest and utilize their money. This is not a job for the feint hearted and you need to know your industry in-depth to be able to make recommendations based on current trends. As you can imagine, … Continue reading “Marketing Tips for Financial Advisors”

As a financial advisor you are responsible for providing your customer with valuable information and advice on how to invest and utilize their money. This is not a job for the feint hearted and you need to know your industry in-depth to be able to make recommendations based on current trends.

As you can imagine, customers are very wary about the advisor they use. This is understandable because they don’t want to take unnecessary risks with their finances, especially when expecting to increase their funds for their retirement one day.

It is imperative that you take your marketing very carefully, ensuring that you reach your audience effectively and prove that you are a top choice to help them with their investment options.

The first step to success is to design an easy to use and informative website that can become a valuable resource for customers looking for various financial information. By increasing your brand visibility and becoming a resource in your industry, you can increase your customer base. If you become a reliable source of valuable information, more people will turn to you for your financial advisory services rather than using a company that they don’t know or have never heard of.

This is all about brand awareness, which is why your company should have an easy to remember and recognize name and logo. Over time your logo will be recognized by potential customers as the one that gives them the best and current advice and recommendations, again leading to your success.

Become an expert in your field. While you probably are already an expert in terms of knowledge and experience, it’s now time to prove that to your customers. You can create a blog which links back to your website. Writing regular blog posts on the latest financial trends can help you improve your visibility and prove to your customers that you are a top choice when they’re looking for financial advice.

Newsletters are a great way to reach your audience on a regular basis. It is imperative when creating a newsletter that you are consistent in when you send it out. This can be weekly or monthly, depending on your schedule. Remember your customers will expect to receive your newsletter regularly, so don’t fall into the trap of leaving it for another week. Again you need to write current and quality tips, advice and news.

It’s important to be aware that newsletters are not about selling, they are about you having an opportunity to inform your audience and get them to remember your name when they are looking for a financial advisor.

Another top financial advisor marketing tool is articles. There are a number of websites that promote articles across a range of topics. You should ensure that you have regular articles being published, enabling customers to find your company when searching for certain financial products and advice.

Press releases are an opportunity to keep your customers informed while telling them valuable information about you and your business. It is imperative when writing press releases that you eliminate any industry jargon and ensure that they are easy to read, enabling customers to understand what you are trying to portray.

A good opportunity when looking at your financial advisor marketing is to choose a services company that specialize in your industry. They should have a team of professional writers with extensive experience in the financial sector that can write your newsletters, articles and press releases for you, maybe even your website content. This can ensure that you provide customers with easy to understand and up to date information without taking time out of your own busy schedule.

Considering A PayDay Loan? READ THIS FIRST!

Payday loans can be a lifesaver if it’s truly used for an emergency – only you can decide what’s truly an emergency. Most times something comes up; we freak out and instead of thinking things through and finding other alternatives we quickly react and put ourselves in a worst position than we initially started out; hence the existence of payday loans and car title loans and every other high interest loans available to those with less than stellar credit.

To borrow a payday loan is simple; you typically pay $20 per $100 borrowed or more. The appeal is all you need is a job, proof of employment and a check with a future date stamped on it – easy, right? No hassle, and most importantly no credit check. I’d rather you avoid them completely but if you must please choose one that is with the Community Financial Services Association; an association that provides guidelines that protect the consumer.

The most negative thing about a payday loan are the interest rates/fees! It comes to about 400% interest on a loan! That’s absurd. But if you need your car fixed; furnace repaired, water heater replaced – it suddenly doesn’t seem that bad. The key thing to remember is not to borrow more than you need. The payday loan clerk is a salesman; just because he/she states you can borrow up to $1000 does not mean you should accept it. Borrow only what you need!!! And if they offer you the monthly payment plan don’t fall for it; remember their job is to sell so that THEY can make more money. Pay if off all at once and avoid the pitfall of the monthly payments that make them more money and cause a financial strain on your budget.

So; what if you ignored everything that I’ve just said and borrow more than you can pay back by the next pay period? Well if they’re a member with the CFSA, all you need to do is tell them you can’t make the payment by the due date. As a member of the CFSA, they’ll need to stop all collection activity and give you 4 additional pay periods to pay back the loan in full. Oh, and they can’t charge you any additional fees during this period either. This must be done before the due date; or at least before close of business on the day before the loan is due; preferably in person; and it can only be done once on the same loan. It’s called an Extended Payment Plan. If they deny you or state they don’t offer this; call CFSA directly at 888-572-9329.

Now I must admit the collection activity from payday loan companies are THE WORST! They call your job; threaten automatic wage garnishments, threaten to sue you or file a police report for bank fraud to send you to jail (based on the post-dated check you wrote them); the list goes on and on – and its illegal. State laws govern the collection activities of original creditors; and fortunately most state laws closely follow the laws of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act so all you need to do is look up your state’s laws on payday loans collection activities and rules. The list is usually found on your state’s Attorney General’s website; your state’s Consumer Affairs website will have some valuable information as well.

Monaco Might Lose Its Status of Personal Income Tax Haven

That Monaco is crowded with celebrities is no piece of news. Since 1869, when the personal income tax policy became favorable, Monaco attracted very many individuals with high net income, such as movie stars, sporting stars etc. who became residents of the Principality in order to benefit from personal income tax exemption.

Take, for instance, Roger Moore, Shirley Bassey, Ringo Starr, Karen Mulder, Eva Herzigova, the race drivers Jacques Villeneuve, David Coulthard, Jenson Button.

But the number of celebrities is far outnumbered by the number of business people who enjoy the country’s tax facilities: the retail tycoon Philip Green and the Barclay brothers are Monegasque residents.

Being a resident of Monaco implies proving you have a place to live and are rich enough to afford a very high standard way of life. And I mean really rich, as a place to live in the apartment blocks jammed into two square kilometres, either rented or bought, is extremely high.

Keeping residency implies proving you live in Monaco at least 6 months and a day per year. If you are rich, the advantage of being a Monaco resident is that, besides enjoying a sunny, pleasant climate, you can live at the same time in another country. The Principality is very close to main airports and is also easily reachable by sea, by car or by train. Thus, being a Monaco resident and working in another country is not only possible but it’s easy especially speaking of UK citizens: laws in UK permit a maximum stay of 90 days (without counting the day of departure and that of arrival!) for non-residents. Many UK business people reside in Monaco and work in the UK without surpassing the 90 days limit so that they are subject to Monaco lawas for taxation.

Having attracted so many rich resulted in a conflict of interests: many countries disapprove of this taxation policy, looking at it as an evasion from taxes in their national area. And not entirely wrongly! In fact, Monaco has been “tax-cheating” a little by attracting capital from the high tax countries.

Looking at the issue from the perspective of the Principality, seems to me only right to try and succeed to evolve with the few means and resources a state so small has. Monaco developed from one of the poorest countries in the world (in the 1860s) into a state with one of the world’s highest per capita income (around EUR22,000). And it was possible due to a strategic leadership of a resourceless country. It is after the territory was drastically reduced that this personal income tax policy came into being. Attracting foreign capital become one of the main targets for development. That’s how the Casino became grand and famous and emphasis was put on tourism, being raised at luxury levels.

After the individual taxation regulations, in 1963 the Principality came with another financial artifice: no tax for local company profits or dividends. Thus the target was to enhance local business flourishing. This stipulation combined with an almost hermetic data privacy did nothing else than to increase even more foreign investments in Monaco.

So, from the point of view of big economic powers, Monaco should be punished, and so deserves any country daring to offer a better taxation alternative, putting at a disadvantage their high-tax based economy. The OECD has a project on “harmful tax practices” stipulating a set of punitive measures for the non-cooperating jurisdictions.

Invoking money laundering and international terrorism tracking, many OECD governments promote a policy of free information exchange that has as main purpose limiting the tax competition, beyond the intention to limit tax evasion and to combat serious crime.

Estimated negative results of OECD policy:

* Eliminating tax competition would result in uniformizing taxes to the amount dictated by some governments. Without the possibility of choosing a better alternative, there is no reason for governments to reduce taxes and make the tax system more efficient.
* This policy would change the present status of emigrants that pay taxes only to their new country and would promote the premise that the state still has a right to benefit from its former national labour. This sounds to me like a violation of fundamental human rights.

Although in 2004 still on the OECD black list of the tax policy non-cooperating jurisdictions, Monaco has changed its policy regarding the high confidentiality of financial data in the light of the expected, recent admission to the Council of Europe (Monaco joined the Europe Council on October 5, 2004 ). Modifications to legislation:

* October 2001: French citizens living in Monaco since 1989 must pay a wealth tax beginning with 2002.
* Information on French nationals are to be unconditionally provided to the Bank of France when required. Information may be passed on to the authorities of France or of a third country if necessary.
* 2004: Under EU’s Savings Tax Directive, Monaco will impose a witholding tax on the returns on savings such as bank interests earned by EU citizens. The tax quantum will be the same as in Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg (initially 15%). 75% of such revenues will be handed over to the Member State of the respective EU resident. This will be applied beginning with 2005.
* December 2000: Monaco signs the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime. The treaty stipulates that its members do not permit anonymous accounts requiring identification of customers. Banks must keep accurate records of accounts and report any suspicious transaction. Moreover, the domestic law enforcement officials are permitted inspection of accounts.

With all these measures, it seems that Monaco’s attraction as a personal income tax haven will decrease. It remains to be seen how all these measures will affect Monaco financial and banking system after becoming operative.

Improve Your Credit Before Getting a Mortgage

One of the best ways to improve your chances of getting a home loan is to improve your credit score. It is because better credit scores may give you access to better interest rates and more beneficial home loan products.

Here is a list of some quick tips to help you get the best possible credit score. While there is no guarantee that all of these options will immediately boost your credit score, they may help you establish habits that will strengthen your credit score.

Show you can pay your bills on time, every time

Lenders/credit providers will want to see that you can repay a home loan on time. So, here is a list of bills that you should pay on time, every time:

>> Your credit cards;

>> Your rent;

>> Your medical and utility bills; and

>> Any other service that may use a collection agency for the recovery of delinquent accounts.

If you miss a payment date by a few days, call the service provider immediately to make the payment, and don’t be afraid to ask the provider for a one-time forgiveness.

Check your Credit Rating

You should regularly check your credit report with a credit reporting agency (such as Veda Advantage and Dunn and Bradstreet), as it will:

>> Give you an idea if you have any defaults or negative repayments history recorded in your report;

>> Give you time to get the credit report corrected before a lender/credit adviser accesses your report; and

>> Enable you to verify your credit score with a credit reporting agency.

Note: You should be aware that due to the changes in the Privacy Act in March 2014, lenders/credit providers have the ability to access your credit reports and can see the past 24 months of your repayment history.

Maintain your Available Credit

Before applying for a home loan don’t open any other credit cards or lines of credit. It is because lenders/credit providers will see you as being a risk if you suddenly take out loans for cars, electronics, furniture, etc.

Also, refrain from closing your credit cards or other lines of credit. Instead, consider paying off your balances as a lower debt will improve your debt-to-credit ratio.

This is best illustrated by the following example:

Having a total debt of $4,000 with a $20,000 available credit will look better than having just $500 in debt with $800 available credit.

Establish a Savings History

If you are borrowing more than 80 percent of the purchase price of the property, you will be required to meet the “genuine savings” requirements of lenders/credit providers. Your savings will need to add up to around 5 percent of the purchase price of the property.

For example, on a purchase price of $700,000, you will need to have savings that add up to $35,000.

Note: Saving a larger deposit should help to reduce or avoid paying “Lenders Mortgage Insurance” (LMI) and you may even be offered a more competitive interest rate by the lender/credit provider.

Avoid applying with too many Lenders/Credit Providers

Avoid submitting your home loan applications to several different lenders/credit providers at once. It is because these loan applications will appear on your credit report. You should only submit your home loan application:

>> After you have compared lenders/credit providers; and

>> After you have decided to go with a particular lender/credit provider.

Your Employment Stability

If you have had the same job for several years, then this is a big tick. So, prior to applying for a home loan, Try to establish a stable employment history as it will enable you to make regular loan repayments.

If you have changed your job recently, do not worry. You may satisfy the requirements of lenders/credit providers, if:

>> You have been in a similar role; and

>> You have been in the same industry.

Disclose all Information

Lenders/ credit providers may think that you have other debts that have not been disclosed. So, always be upfront and disclose all information as non-disclosure of relevant information may result in your home loan application being declined.

Seek Expert and Professional Advice

All these tips should help you to improve your credit score. However, you should speak to a professionally qualified and expert finance broker who can help you to create a personalised credit improvement plan. Establishing this relationship with a finance broker will help you to determine which potential lender/credit provider best meets your needs.

All the Best!

The Pros and Cons of Pawn Shops

There are many pawn shops that you can easily use as a means of quickly getting cash. However, before you walk into these stores you should know about the pros and the cons relating to them. There are pros and cons which could make you change your mind about pawn shops and it is important that you know what these are.

The Pros of Pawn Shops

There are a lot of people who know about the pros that come from pawn stores and using the services that they offer. The first pro that you find with these stores is that they do not complete any credit checks. This is due to the fact that you are leaving a valuable item with them as security for any loan that you are going to get.

The second advantage that you need to know about is that the loans you get are quick. In most cases you will be able to get the money that you need on the day that you sign the contract with them. The last advantage is that the pawn broker will allow you to get your item back as soon as you want.

The interest that the pawn stores will charge will only be for the period that you have actually borrowed the money. With many other loan services you are unable to pay off the loan quickly or you will need to pay an extra fee. This is not something that you face with pawn shops.

The Cons of Pawn Shops

There are a number of disadvantages that you will find with pawn shops. The first con of these stores is that pawn brokers are actually a relatively expensive means of borrowing. Like payday loan companies, pawn brokers are able to change any APR they want on the loans that they offer.

Another disadvantage that people do not know about is the fact that you usually can only borrow a percentage of the value of the item you pawn. This means that you would have to have a very high value item or multiple small value items to get high amounts of cash from the loan.

The third disadvantage that you need to know about is that the pawn shop is allowed to sell your valuable item if you are unable to repay the loan. Of course, they should give you some notice that this is what they are going to do. If the item does not sell for enough to cover the remaining loan amount then you are still liable for this.

The last con that you need to know about is the fact that your item could be sold for less than it is worth or less than what you would get for it elsewhere. This means that you could be getting less out of the deal with the pawn broker in the end.

There are a number of pros and cons that you need to know about when you look at pawn shops. By understanding these pros and cons you will be able to determine if using a pawn shop is the right option for you.