Should Tesla Worry About its Red State Ban?

Tesla Model S At The Geneva Motor ShowTesla Motors the manufacturer of electric cars and electric vehicles has been banned from selling directly to the costumers or opening up a showroom in any of the red states. However they can have stores, galleries, superchargers and service centers in these states. The Governor announced that Tesla Motors is allowed to only sell through various other automobile dealerships. It cannot sell its products through business to costumer channel but rather through large dealerships, for example you can visit a Tesla Mall in New Jersey, but you cannot order or take a test drive according to the law.

The buyer in these states can purchase through TeslaMotors.com; the purchased item then gets delivered to the address of the customer’s choosing. The main reason for this restriction is that Tesla Motors would become a direct threat to the car dealership model. In car dealership process cars are sold at the retail level by local distribution channels consisting of various small businesses. The republicans consider it a direct threat to these small businesses.

The most recent ban was imposed by the State of Michigan, which according to some reports was a huge favor to General Motor’s, a strong rival of Tesla Motors. According to a spokesperson, Charles Cyrill if the retails are owned by the industry or firm itself then the costumers will lose all bargaining power.

Ohio state has also recently passed a bill but it is in favor of Tesla Motors allowing the company to sell its cars directly; however the bill is yet to be signed. Steve Chapman further says that it is not just a problem in one or two states, it has become a problem for the whole Country now and the competition is being crushed by using the power of money.

The company has a network of 60 different locations in 23 states across America but now some of them cannot sell directly. This in general has started to affect Tesla’s profit margin along with its market expansion in the Red States.

The company has been posting huge revenues since 2009. In 2009 its sales revenue was $111.94 Million, in 2010 it made $116.74 Million, in 2011 it made $204.24 Million; whereas in 2012 its revenue rose to $413.26 Million and then in 2013 it crossed $2.01 Billion. The financial reports indicate Tesla’s steady and positive progress, thanks to company’s able leadership, but if the ban continues and more states join in then it will surely impact Tesla’s overall sales and the company’s markets has a possibility of taking a huge hit.

This scenario however is dependent on a few factors, which include emergence of a strong competitor in the electric vehicles category, which will bring down the prices of the vehicles and eliminate Tesla’s monopoly; this factor will come into play in the long run. Currently the company enjoys high consumer demand that allows it to make more by supplying fewer units; however with more than one competitor the company will be forced to bring down prices and that will have an impact on its overall sales. The second factor, as mentioned before, is the joining in of more states.

Should Tesla worry about Red States? The answer is simple; in the long-run yes!

College Students Avoid Debt and Build Positive Credit at all Costs

college spendingWhen you’re in college, you have different problems and challenges than you had while you were in high school. The freedom of college is both refreshing and scary.
Credit can be a very big hurdle for many college students. You probably have a job, either part-time or just during the summer months. But you probably don’t make much money. Just enough for the essentials: gas, car insurance, movie night, pizza night, clothes.

But you’re starting to hear that you need to build credit so when you do get out of college and land your first real job, you can get a car and a decent place to live.
How do you build credit? And how do you keep it under control once you’ve got it? You’ve heard the horror stories, mostly from your parents, about college kids ruining their credit history by splurging on pizza and lattes, movies every Friday night, and designer clothes.

But you’re different, and you need to build credit. It’s a “right of passage”. And it’s important.

Here are some relatively simple ways to build your credit, and keep it under control while you’re in college.

1) Get a department store credit card, preferably with a small spending limit

Ironically, department store credit cards are a great way to build early credit history, when used properly. They’re considered a revolving credit account so they rank well in your score. But it is imperative that you do not go hog-wild and max it out on clothes, shoes, or holiday gifts for the family. Wait for a sale, use any coupons that came with it (perk!), and buy one or two sensible items that complement your wardrobe. Then pay the bill off when it comes in. Don’t extend the payment over more than two months – period. Then repeat next quarter. Wait for sale; buy good, sensible items; pay your bill and avoid personal loans for bad credit. And one more thing, don’t keep the credit card in your wallet. Keep it locked up safely in your room. Only take it out once a quarter for a sensible purchase to help build your wardrobe and your credit.

2) Get a gas station credit card

Use it once a month for a tank of gas, pay it off the next month. Always. Use cash the rest of the time for your gas. If you get in the habit of putting all your gas on the card every month, and then trying to pay it off when the bill comes in, you may just find that you’ve already spent the money you had set aside for gas on something else when the bill comes in (food, movies, clothes). This is an extremely dangerous habit and should be avoided at all costs – and at all ages. This rule isn’t just for college students.

3) Get a bank credit card

This one can be really small, a $500 spending limit works great. Just like the department store credit card, don’t keep it on you. Repeat: don’t keep it in your wallet! But once a quarter, take it out and use it for your gas tank or a coffee or a movie (notice it’s or, not and). Then pay the bill in full when it comes in. The reason you need a bank credit card is because you may find yourself in need of car repairs, and unless your department store credit card is Sears, you’re out of luck!

One additional note when deciding which bank credit card to apply for, do some homework first and choose one with a $0 annual fee and a low interest rate. Forget about points and rewards for now. That’s just another cycle people find themselves getting into where they use their credit card for everything ‘just to get points’ so they can buy a low-quality mp3 player and pay $19.99 for shipping and handling. You don’t need a rewards card in college. Wait until you get your first job and you’re traveling, that’s where rewards cards win out.

The important thing to remember is that when you’re in college and on a tight budget, you can slowly and carefully build your credit history (obtain credit, use credit sparingly, pay bills on time, every time). One missed payment can mess up your burgeoning credit history – and if no one ever told you this little factoid – having too many credit cards in relation to your current salary hurts your credit score.

So choose wisely. Don’t open a credit account just to get a coupon somewhere. Choose a department and gas station credit card where you think you will shop frequently over the years and will reap the best benefits over time from receiving their coupons and special savings mailers.

Soon enough you’ll be out of college and applying for your first car or home loan and your good credit history will serve you well.

Why Business and Personal Finances Must be Separated

pie chartThe nature of your business really doesn’t matter when it comes to keeping your personal and professional finances apart. You might have an established enterprise, or you may just be starting out, but whatever the case, you have to keep in mind that keeping your finances together is not a good idea.

A number of people who work from home somehow come up with the idea that it is okay for them to keep both their personal and business finances in one account as that is so much easier. Once again, as a business or company owner, you need to know that whether you have a part time business or a full time one, it is mandatory that you keep separate bank accounts. There are some major pitfalls if you continue to mix up your business and personal finances.

Easy to track

People who have had one account for both their business and personal lives have always regretted it sooner or later. The truth is that with a single account, no matter how closely you monitor it and note down the transactions and what not, you will still not be able to get to know the exact amount that is going into the business or coming out of it for that matter. This is one of the primary reasons why you need to start thinking about separating your accounts.

Saves you from coming under the radar of the IRS

Even if you think you are tracking your account pretty nicely, you need to consider switching because of the IRS. Now even though they do not ask you to keep separate accounts, they do need to know exactly how much you are profiting from the business. Having a different account for business purposes will ensure that your personal money doesn’t end up being thought of as business money. Another thing to add here is that separating accounts becomes all the more necessary if you are incorporated or if you plan to be, because a company is required to pay taxes.

The Image of your company

It might not seem like it if you have just started your business, but you and your company need to have a professional image. The truth is that having a joint account will make it look like you are not running a business at all but that it’s simply a hobby for you which you enjoy. When building up a company or business, you have to make sure that people take you and your work seriously. Having a single account for two very different purposes will not help you in this regard.

Manageable expenses

With a separate bank account for your business, you or anyone else who is handling the expenses will have a much easier time doing it. Dividing these two very different aspects of your life will ensure that you aren’t exceeding on the taxes and are managing things very nicely. Plus, because everything will be on a different account, you will have no difficulty in making transactions as there will be no confusion.

Avoids getting you in trouble

Okay, so let’s say that along the way, while you are successfully running your company, you are suddenly slapped with a law suit. The rule is simple, having separate accounts will keep you safe and will provide you with the legal protection you need. If you have the proof of a company as a separate entity, the law says that the blame goes on the corporation and not on you as a person. On the other hand, if you do not keep two accounts, you will be held responsible for the error that has been committed.

Therefore, as a conclusion, you can say that it is a good idea to keep separate accounts for business and personal matters is because it will be easier to track, you’ll be saved from the IRS, you will maintain a good image of the company and lastly, you will avoid getting into any kind of legal trouble.

What to Look for in a Stock Broker

stock brokerInvesting in stocks is ‘the’ thing right now. Almost everybody is doing it and they aren’t wrong either. The truth is that an average person who has a job will retire at the age of 60 with not a lot to go on for the rest of his life. Yes he might have saved but that amount is either not going to last too long or isn’t going to provide the quality of life that he needs or wants.

When you are investing, other than money, what is the one thing that you need? A stock broker of course. Now while different kinds of brokers can be found everywhere, not every one of them can be trusted to bring you profits, that is, not every broker is a good one. So, the purpose of this article is not only to educate you on how to look for a good stock broker but also on what the characteristics of an expert one are.

How to look for an experienced stock agent

  1. When investing into stocks, always consult your friends and relatives. If someone in your circle has had a good experience with a broker, ask them to refer the person to you. If no one knows of one, call up brokerage houses and ask them to assign someone to you.
  2. Once you have a list of names with you, interview all of them. Have a discussion with them about your finances and also about your future plans. Then, give them a chance to bring forward their ideas and suggestions. Remember that if you want your broker to succeed, you need to choose one who really cares about your investments.
  3. Next, check the reputation he has in the market. There are many official places in which you can look for the broker’s previous record.
  4. Once you have selected a stockbroker don’t get too excited and give him a big sum. Instead, your objective at the first few interactions should be to entrust him with a small amount and then see what he is able to make of it. While he is working on your amount, make sure you stay in contact with him to how he works and if you are comfortable with him.

Qualities of a successful broker

  1. Although there are lots of qualities of a successful stockbroker, there is one that every one of them has to have. Your broker should be open to new trends. He shouldn’t depend on old rules but learn new techniques to succeed in the market.
  2. The person you have hired needs to be strong willed and extremely committed because without this quality the competitive market will do nothing but crush him.
  3. A successful broker will also never blame the market, the company or something else for his losses. He will know that no market is always the same and that there will be highs and lows everywhere. Still, his expertise will only be evident when he is able to take some good out of a loosing market.
  4. Finally, an excellent and professional broker is he who accepts his losses wisely. He learn from the mistakes that he has done and try not to bring him down again.

 

How to Make a Budget for Your Small Business

Pen and Calculator on Financial SpreadsheetDeciding and planning to start a business are very different from actually initializing it and making it into a reality. The fact of the matter is that you need to do a lot, and one essential part of the things that need to be done is the budgeting of the company that you are starting.

Budgeting is important for several reasons. First of all, without a proper budget plan, you won’t be able to know how much you have spent on the business, where the money is coming from and of course, where it is going. If you have a partner or if your business is added with investors, then the budget report becomes all the more crucial as you will need to make them aware of the money matters. Starting to write a budget plan from scratch might be hard at first, but then you also need to remember that doing it right the first time will ensure that you can monitor and asses your company’s performance with ease.

Although budgeting plans are lengthy and very detailed, there are a few basic points that need to be mentioned in the plan, these are as below.

Start with the material

Gather the costs of the raw material which you have. These will also include any supplies that you may be using along with the information of their quantities and rates. If you are constructing something, then you also need to include the man hours that have been put into its development. Remember, be thorough.

Office rents or mortgages

A lot of money goes into the payment of rents and mortgages and so they need to be calculated as well. Also, if you are using any other kind of facilities, include those in the budget as well. Another major contributor to this section is rented equipment, if you have any. Make sure you note the rent, and the hours that the machine has been used for.

Salaries and wages

A major chunk of your business goes into the salaries and wages of your employees, so it is critical that you note these down as well. If taxes apply, do the math and work according to that. If you are offering any bonuses or sales commissions, these need to be mentioned in the report as well. Also, include any benefits such as health and security if they are being offered.

Estimate the bills

Your basic budgeting also needs to include the utility bills of things such as gas, electricity and water. If you aren’t sure about them, ask any business such as yours and they might be able to help you out in this regard.

Travel expenses

If you have a business that requires some kind of travelling then these should go in travel and transportation expenses. However, travelling expenses aren’t easy; there is a lot that you need to research about. For example, if you are sending an employee abroad for a business transaction, you need to know these things.

  • How long will he be going for?
  • Which hotel will he be staying at?
  • How much food expenses will he be provided with?
  • If there is car travelling involved then what is the cost of the fuel per mile?

Advertising and marketing

Your business is going to need a good marketing strategy if it has any chance of survival in the competitive market of today. Sit down with the people who will be handling your marketing and ask them what kind of promotional and advertising costs they will need to work with.

The rise of TV shows like “Til Debt Do Us Part”

tvIf you have ever watched an episode of “til debt do us apart” then you already know that it is a reality TV show that helps couples get out of debt. The show focuses on married couples mostly as it has been seen that first major cause of divorces and failed marriages are the financial issues the couple has to face. Because everyone has a different individual nature, no two people can agree on how they should go about managing their financials. As a result, what happens is that the marriage goes through hell and eventually the two people go their separate ways.

The show follows the financial guru Gail Vaz-Oxlade from home to home so she can help couples who are either in very deep debt, or who are headed there very soon. Although she offers a variety of tips to these couples according to their situations on the TV show, there are some basic ones that you can apply to your life if you are having financial troubles as well. They are as below

  1. Get rid of credit cards

The first thing that Gail Suggests is to get rid of those menacing credit cards. Cut them up, burn them or do whatever you like but the key to debt free bliss is to throw the cards away. Instead of keeping cards and getting higher into debt, depend on actual money. Keep a record of any items that you purchase so that you know where your money is going.

  1. Make some more money

It is important that you try to bring in some extra cash even if you and your spouse are working full time. Give in extra hours at the office or give tuitions in the evening or something similar that interests you. Whatever you do, you have to remember that for you to get out of all of the debts you need to start taking things very seriously.

  1. Straighten out your priorities

Okay, so you are in debt, you have realized this long time back, but realizing won’t get you anywhere unless you do something about it. So, sit down with your spouse and straighten out your priorities. Decide what’s important and what can wait until you are out of debt.

  1. Relax and get back to life

Accept the fact that you are in debt and that you are doing something about it and move on. Remember that your debts cannot be lifted magically in a single night, it will take some time and until then you need to relax and be patient. If you are facing problems because of the finances with your spouse then the two of you need to sit down and have some alone time so you can start figuring things out.

  1. Pay debt and save as well

Paying your debt doesn’t mean you have to stop spending altogether. If you had plans for travelling then don’t cancel them, just strategize something for sometime later. The objective is to save even when you are paying off all that debt.

  1. Don’t spend needlessly

One of the primary reasons why families and individuals alike end up in debt is because of needless spending. If you can cook food at home and enjoy it with your family around the table, why go to a crowded restaurant? Once again, having a credit card makes us buy things we do not need to, so if you have followed the first step, you have already stopped spending needlessly.

  1. Manage your files and folders

You may not realize it, but having the files and folders accessible at the right time is extremely important. Don’t leave important files of interests and other important stuff just lying around. Keep everything filed and within reach so you know where they are when the time comes.

  1. Be prepared to sell

Parting with things that you have had for a long time is hard. Particularly things that you have become very attached to, but you need to remember that getting out of debt is also a very serious matter. If, you are not able to pay it all off with what you have saved up, then it’s time for you to think about selling goods such as jewellery, furniture, automobiles etc.

Cash Advances an Omen or a Blessing?

cash advanceBefore starting the debate or whether or not a cash advance is the best thing to opt for, let us focus on what it primarily is. A cash loan advance or cash advance is that which is given to you by a certain credit company that also provides online loan services. However, the question that first pops into mind is that when and why do you need cash advance?

Well, the answer to that particular question is that sometimes, when your bill payment is very close to the deadline date, and your credit card has maxed out, there is no option but to turn to an alternative. Now even though some people may find it okay to ask for money from friends and family, most people are not comfortable with it and so they the cash advance instead. Bill payments aren’t the only reason why people may ask for the upfront cash from service providers, but it is one of the primary ones.

As with everything else, all is not good with the cash advance. There are few benefits and some disadvantages as well. So, if you are going to be asking for a cash advance, just make sure you weigh the pros and cons so that you can make a better judgement on what needs to be done.

Pros

  1. One of the main reasons why people are opting for cash advances is because you get them pretty quickly. Some companies have the policy to grant them to you within a day or two, while others may take a week and no longer.
  2. Getting the cash advance is extremely easy. You don’t necessarily need an ATM or a bank, and this will be a great help when you are travelling and short of money somehow.
  3. Unlike other loans, it is very easy to qualify for a cash advance. All you need is the proof of a job and a steady and constant pay check, and you will be granted the advance immediately.
  4. The return payment of the pay advance is expected to be made in a month. This helps you get free of the debt in a shorter amount of time.

Cons

  1. The first major setback of cash advances is that they are given in very short amounts. Even though each service provider has a different policy, most will only grant from 500-1500 to an individual.
  2. Of course, interest rates apply to cash advances, and they are pretty high. Generally, the interest rate for cash advance is 18% and will exceed further if you do not pay on the right time.
  3. Lastly, because cash advances are so convenient, you may get addicted to them overtime. Getting addicted to them will mean that you take out more cash advances within a time frame and this will cause you to be in a very bad debt situation.

So, as a conclusion, we can say that a cash advance is a good idea if you are in a condition where money needs to be paid pronto. However, it is only a good option if you are a professional person and if you are sure that will be able to pay them back within the specified time.

Is Making Minimum Payments on Your Mortgage a Smart Thing to do?

Understanding MortgagesMortgage plans have become extremely flexible for the last couple of years. However, the two most common ones are those of the 15 yrs and 30yrs. Now the question that we have proposed for you is that whether or not making minimum payments on a mortgage is actually something smart.

Well, the thing is that even though many people prefer making minimum payments on a 30yr plan, there are no benefits to the plan other than one. The only benefit of going with a minimum payment on mortgage is that you don’t have to worry about paying large amounts of money at a time. Still, despite its popularity, the fact remains that with minimum payments, you also have to pay a higher interest which gets you into a situation where you end up paying more than someone who is paying over a 15 yr period. The only benefit of a minimum payment is that it is flexible.

On the other hand, the experts recommend that it is a good idea to pay off your mortgage payments as soon as possible for the following reasons.

  1. The first thing that paying off a mortgage early provides is the ultimate peace of mind. Once you have no more payments to make, you can stop worrying and enjoy the house to yourself. The feeling of not owing anything to anyone is great, with the full mortgage payment paid there is no need for you to fret about debts and other such tensing situations.
  2. What, in your viewpoint is the greatest fear a person has to face these days? The fear of unemployment of course. With the recession going about on such a high scale, no one is safe and so most of us worry about losing our jobs. However, another fear associated with the fear of losing the job is not to be able to pay off the mortgage if you are jobless. Now consider a situation where you have lost your job but have also paid your mortgage payment in full, you will of course feel depressed but you won’t be as anxious.
  3. With the mortgage paid off, you can finally start saving money for future purposes. Also, paying it off will provide you with a motivation to reach the savings goals as you would have already reached one goal successfully.
  4. Once you have paid off the mortgage, there are no longer any interest rates. Plus, as mentioned, the shorter the mortgage period, the lower the interest rate. So let’s say you have managed to pay the full mortgage of a house in 10yrs instead of 15, in this case, the interest rate will be a lot lower than the original.
  5. Finally, getting rid of the mortgage is great because you no longer need to stop yourself when you want to buy little things. Now that you don’t need to save for the hefty mortgage price, you can shop as much as you want without having a care in the world.

So you see, making minimum payments on a mortgage is actually not such a smart thing to do. On the contrary, paying off the mortgage is something you should start thinking about.

How to Manage & Control Your Finances

financesManaging your finances in these trying times is hard no matter where you live. At first, if you haven’t handled anything like it before, you will probably also be overwhelmed with the things that you have to take care of. Finance is a huge topic and only some of the areas that it covers are: Electricity bills, credit card bills, mortgage payments, loans, travel costs and of course the monthly expense as well. You must remember that although there is a multitude of information online, everything is scattered and going through all of them will be quite hard and impossible. Continue reading