How to Optimize Your Trading Tool

Did you know there are tons of helpful tools out there to help you trade smarter, better, and faster? Though some tools (such as software) cost money, many are complimentary services provided by online traders. Here are some tools that can help you optimize your trading.

  1. The newspaper. You can’t write a trading tools article without including the old standby, right? Many prefer the Wall Street Journal, but just about any local rag will include a stocks report.
  2. Podcasts. Podcasts are quickly becoming one of the most popular in-depth investment reporting outlets. Popular podcasts include: Wallstrip, The Disciplined Investor, Feed the Pig, Vanguard Plain Talk on Investing, Money Girl, Bill Gross’s Investing Outlook, and Marketplace Money
  3. Personalized Trade Reports. No matter if you’re looking to day trade or trade CFD, a personalized market report is a tailored briefing based on your trading profile. This way, you won’t have to skim past the information that doesn’t pertain to you.
  4. Daily Market Review. This is a report of the previous day’s market activity. Many daily market reviews are complimentary through online trading services.
  5. Customizable Charts. These allow you to track your individual stocks or compare them to other stocks. You can also add predetermined measurement rankings or choose a technical overlay.
  6. Trading Tip Emails. Many services offer daily or weekday-only emails with trading ideas, tips, and tricks.
  7. Books. It may seem off-putting to read a book when trading is such a hard-and-fast, cutting-edge industry. However, trading isn’t without its own list of must-reads. Consider “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator,” “Market Wizards,” or “A Colossal Failure of Common Sense.”

Knowing Your Dollars Well

Money management, budgeting, balancing a checkbook, credit management, on-time mortgage, and car payments — these are just a few of the basics of, well, basically life management. And, yet, there are still many people out there who don’t know a checkbook from a black book (you know, the kind of book you put phone numbers in).

We’re talking specifically about Rhode Island here. You’ll find that for years residents in that tiny state never had much help with education on the financial front. That’s okay — but you can understand the aggravation of some of these older residents struggling with organization and keeping up financially! Just think of how confused these old-timers would be when considering payday loans.

Hopefully soon education on family finances will pick up in the state for our young hopefuls, specifically since some organizations are dedicated to the financial literacy of the population. One in particular being the Rhode Island Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a nonprofit organization specializing in community development. With five chapters available — four in Providence, Rhode Island at the Amos House, Dorcas Place, Providence Housing Authority, and Genesis Center, and the fifth at the Family Resources Community Action Center in Woonsocket — things might be looking up.

One thing’s for sure, when you know your dollars well, things will always look up. It’s obvious that you wouldn’t want everything to look down. After all, it’s very important to know the difference between that black book and a checkbook. Or else you’ll be one confused individual!

Business plans for financing through banks

There are a lot of things that you need to keep your business running smoothly. However, money is something that you need from the word go and keep needing it if you want your business to grow. Some people manage to save up enough money to fund their own business. In most cases though, your idea for business will require funding from external sources. One of the most commonly used sources of financing are banks. Several banks offer special schemes for small business owners than allows them many conveniences and ease of repayment. However, you first need to convince the bank that your business has great potential for success and profit. It is for this purpose that you will need to submit a detailed business plan to the bank for getting a loan. Here are some tips on how to make a convincing business plan:

1. It’s important for the bank to know that you have a clear idea on what your business is going to be. Create a clear, short, two sentence statement on the purpose of your business. Make it sound appealing yet professional.

2. Mention the name of the owners of the business and then describe why they believe the business will be successful and how it will function.

3. Follow this by providing details such as what the product is, what is the target market, what is the level of demand, who are the competitors and what gives you an edge over them. Make sure these details are well researched as they bank will check them before approving the loan.

4. Provide detailed income, cash flow, sales etc projection for next three years. The forecast for the first year should be monthly while the rest can be quarterly.

5. Give references of would be clients, creditors and so on.

Innovative Funding for New Businesses

Having a great business idea can only be converted into a real business when you have the required funds. The requirements of each business plan are unique and hence need varied levels of investment. While really small business owners, for examples, those who work out of a home based office, generally need very little funding and can raise the amount themselves in most cases. However, if you are going to set up a medium scale office then you may not have the required funds at hand. Office space, furniture, equipment as well as hiring staff can be expensive and you would need the help of external sources to meet this investment. Here are some innovative yet effective methods of acquiring funds for your business in the United States:

1. The U.S. Small Business Administration is an organization aimed at helping upcoming entrepreneurs with workable plans. You can get find out if your business qualifies for one of their many funding schemes by visiting their website.

2. Individual states and counties too have their own initiatives to help out budding local entrepreneurs to acquire fund. Get in touch with these departments to know about on going programs.

3. Small community banks are driven towards helping their target community to develop businesses as it eventually means ore business for them too. They also run funding programs along with providing loans to small business owners at subsidized rates.

4. If you have a major college or university in your state, you can approach them too as they may have mentoring and funding programs for young entrepreneurs.

5. Some of the corporate giants too have such initiatives as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. Look up the major players in your state and approach them with a well etched funding plan.

Corporations Tax Question: Is an LLC Taxed as a Partnership or a Corporation?

One of the main reasons companies and businesses decide to file for an LLC license is because an LLC license allows that company or business to take advantage of the benefits that come from a partnership and a corporation. Taking advantage of these types of benefits might be a good idea for the business owner but when it comes time to pay the taxes does the IRS treat LLCs as a partnership or a corporation?

The IRS attempted to answer that question in 1997. Before 1997, LLCs were put under the microscope and examined by the IRS. The IRS looked at their legal structure and way that they did business and determined if they were a corporation or a partnership for tax purposes. The LLCs were also supplied with a separate tax form that they filled out and declared whether they were taxed as a partnership or a corporation.

In late 1997 the IRS decided that this process was too involved and decided to simplify it for business tax payers. If all previous tax obligations to the IRS then the LLC could be treated as a partnership for tax purposes. This taxation allowed LLCs to file all partnership papers and tax forms and tax 100% advantage of all the tax and business benefits of a partnership.

While this might come across as if all LLCs are treated as partnerships they are not. This issue of whether an LLC should be a corporation or a partnership is still a very highly debated issue. While at the moment the IRS has taken a brief stand on the issue it is sure that this issue has not been put to rest.

If you are operating an LLC and have any questions regarding your tax status it is a good idea to consult the IRS or a business CPA for information on which type of tax filings you are required to file.

What is an S Corporation?

When looking to form a corporation you might have heard the terms general corporation, closed corporation and limited liability corporation. You might eve have heard of the term S corporation. However, the term S corporation is not usually associated as a corporation. With that in mind, what is an S corporation? Why do corporations file for an S corporation? Here is a look at exactly what an S corporation is.

An S corporation is basically not a separate corporation. In fact, an S corporation is a label that will help corporations when it comes to paying taxes and the IRS. In general, an S corporation is usually a closed corporation or a general corporation but instead of having the taxation like those it is in a separate taxation bracket.

Here is how an S corporation standing works.

Generally when a corporation makes a loss or a profit those profits or losses are reported to the IRS twice. This is known as double taxation. An example of this is if a corporation makes a profit the corporation is required to declare that profit on the federal income taxes. At the same time any shareholders that receive dividends from the company are also required to declare that same profit on their taxes. One profit is being taxed twice.

Filing for an S corporation status eliminates the double taxation need. Instead of the company declaring any profits or losses on their federal tax forms the responsibility lies with the shareholders who are now required to declare it on their taxes.

Even though shareholders are solely responsibility for declaring profits and losses they are not held liable for any debts or liability issues that might arise from the S corporation. An S corporation is still treated like any other corporation in regards to debt and liability, the only difference is the taxation of the company’s profits and losses.

What Type of Corporation can File for S Corporation Status?

In the world of corporations and businesses, many general and closed corporations will try to achieve an IRS label of an S corporation. An S corporation label allows these companies to receive the same benefits as the corporations, without having to be subjected to the double taxation of profits and losses that large corporations are required to report. However, not every corporation can file for an S corporation label from the IRS. Here is a look at some of the requirements that a corporation must meet in order to be labeled as an S corporation.

Shareholders. Under the S corporation label a company cannot have more than 75 active shareholders.

Type of Business. Typically S corporations are usually individuals, estates or trusts. However a new law allowed that to also include electing small business trust. These trust shares cannot be held and must be gifted to people. The trust gifts must also count towards the number of shareholders a company has.

Charity and Retirements. Charity and retirement plan groups may not file for an S corporation status with the IRS.

Stock. To be an S corporation, the corporation can only issue one type of stock to shareholders.

Residency of Shareholders. All shareholders of an S corporation must be citizens of the United States. No shareholder of an S corporation can be an international shareholder.

Passive Income. Some corporations have what is termed passive income. Only 25% of an S corporations income can be of the passive income type.

Employee Benefits. Generally it is required that an S corporation provide some type of employee benefits to their employees.

Exclusions to the S Corporations. Certain businesses and industries are not allowed to be S corporations. These include banks and financial institutes, insurance companies under the subchapter L, affiliated groups or corporations and domestic international sales corporations.

Different Types of Business Financing are Available

Every business regardless of the potential for how successful it can be will have to start from scratch. One of the key elements that every type of business will need is some type of financing to back up the business. There are many different types of business financing available for business owners. Each type of business financing available has their own benefits and drawbacks from being taken out. Here is a quick look at the various types of business financing that are available.

Overdraft Finance. An overdraft finance option is an option that is available to some business owners that allows the business owner to access up to $5,000 more than what is available in their bank account. This type of financing works as a very temporary type of financing or one for hard times for businesses and will not work for start up businesses.

Operating Line of Credit. A line of credit for businesses is a very popular financing option. These types of credit are just like any other type of basic loan or line of credit and will require that the business owner has to pay it back. Most lines of credit carry high interest rates and require a quick payback period so these only work for quick emergency cash that will be paid back quickly.

Term Loan. Term loans are the type of financing that most business owners will use to get their projects or businesses started. Term loans can be obtained for amounts over $100,000 and be used for building offices, renting spaces and other major items. Interest will occur on the borrowed amount and can be either variable or fixed rates.

Government Loans. A government loan is similar to a term loan and can be used for similar purposes. However, the application process for government loans can be lengthy and take a long time. Once a business achieves a government loan the interest will be lower than previous loans.

Once your business is started the best way to keep from needing to refinance is to keep the business funds on a tight budget. Without taking more money to hire an accountant or finance professional, business owners are better off taking the time to learn/use accounting software. This software will help with everyday expenses, as well as year end expenses and tax season.

Advantages and Disadvantages of General Corporation

When it comes to the type of corporation that a business decides to set up as, there are several different corporations types to choose from. The most basic choice of corporation is that of the general corporation.

A general corporation is that of a corporation that is completely separate from the business owner or company holder. With general corporations the owner of the company is essentially the large number of stockholders that placed their money within the company and fund the company as if they were owners. Stockholder’s own liability within the company, though, is the amount of money that they invested in the company, they cannot be held responsible for the actions of the company.

Here is a look at some of the basic disadvantages and advantages to filing as a general corporation.

The advantages of a general corporation include allowing the owner’s assets to be protected from any type of legal filings. This means should the company go bankrupt the owner’s personal property will be protected. Another great benefit of a general corporation is the ability for the company to gain capital by selling stocks and bonds to shareholders through their company. Other benefits of being a general corporation include allowing management to change hands and not disrupt company business, having many expenses included under the tax free write off such as insurance, retirement plans for employees and travel expenses.

The disadvantages of a general corporation include a lot of restrictions. Generally a general corporation is more expensive to develop than the other types and requires more money down. General corporations also have a lot more legal requirements that must be followed as well as many tax laws, regulations and other rules that must be followed. These restrictions can really hinder business depending on the type of industry your corporation is in.

Benefits of Having a Business Credit Card

One of the most popular forms of financing that are available for business owners out there is the ability to have a a business credit card. These business credit cards work in very similar ways to personal credit cards, only they are in the name of the business and are usually reserved for business supplies and related materials. While many people might dislike the idea of having a credit card for the business there are a few benefits that come with having a business credit card.

Establishing Lines of Credit. A business credit card is a great way to start a line of credit for a small business. Many companies will extend a line of credit for small items such as supply stores or even stores. Opening a card with these types of companies will allow companies to get the line of credit going and potentially lead up to bigger loans and credit cards.

High Spending Limits. Many businesses wonder why they need to have a business line of credit instead of a personal line of credit. A lot of places will make a business line of credit higher than a personal line of credit. This will allow you to spend more for your business as there are more available funds.

Rewards/Perks. Business credit cards can often come with many different perks and rewards for the business. Due tot he high amount of times that a business will use their business cards they can get rewards such as discounts on supplies, travel discounts and other types of perks that are great for businesses.

Expense Reporting. A lot of business credit cards are starting to tie in expense reporting with their cards. These reports allow business owners to download an expense sheet for each employee or card that is out there and see where all the money is going and being spent. This ease of tracking keeps business expenses in line.