Things You Should Know Before Hire Financial Planner

Unlike someone calling himself a CPA or a physician, just about anyone can call himself a “financial planner” or a “financial advisor” regardless of their educational background and professional experience. Moreover, not all of them are unbiased in their advice and not all of them always act in their clients’ best interests.

To ensure your financial planner is well-qualified in personal finances and impartial in his advice, consider the following five things:

1. Planning Credentials: Having a highly-regarded credential in financial planning, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), confirms that the professional you intend to work with has acquired the education and experience necessary to serve as a financial planner. CFP and PFS credentials are awarded to only those individuals who have met the certification requirements of education and experience in planning for personal finances. In addition, they have to pass the certification examinations and agree adhere to the practice standards and continuing education requirements.

2. Subject Matter Expertise: Financial planners are planning professionals, not necessarily subject matter experts. For example, a financial planner will be skilled in tax analysis and planning,but unlike a Certified Public Account (CPA) or an IRS Enrolled Agent (EA) he might not necessarily be a subject matter expert when it comes to tax rules Similarly,a he could be skilled in chalking out an investment plan, but unlike a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) he may not be an authority in the subject of investments. Work with a financial planner who is also a subject matter expert in those areas of personal finance that are important in achieving your financial goals.

3. Client Specialization: Not all financial planners serve all types of clients. Most specialize in serving only certain types of clients with specific profiles. For example, a personal planner may build his expertise and customize his services to serve only those individuals and families who are in certain professions, or a particular stage of life with specific financial goals and net worth. Ask whether the planner specializes in serving only certain types of clients with specific profiles to determine whether he is the right fit for your situation and financial goals.

4. Fee structure: The fee structure largely determines whose interests he serves best – his client’s or his own. A Fee-Only professional charges only fees for their advice whereas a Fee-Based professional not only charges fees but also earns commissions, referral fees and other financial incentives on the products and solutions they recommend for you. Consequently, the advice from a fee-only one is more likely to be unbiased and in your best interests than the advice from a fee-based financial planner. Work with a professional whose fee structure is conflict-free and aligned to benefit you.

5. Availability: He or she should be regularly available, attentive, and accessible to you. Ask the planner how many clients he currently serves and the maximum number of clients he is planning to serve in the future regularly. This clients-to-planner ratio is one of the key factors in assessing your planner’s availability to you in the future. Also, ask which planning activities are typically performed by the planner and which ones are delegated to a para planner or other junior staff members. Lastly, make sure the planner is easily accessible via phone and email during normal business hours.

Once you have shortlisted a few well-qualified and unbiased financial planners in your local area, consult the ones who offer a FREE initial consultation first. During the initial consultation, assess the planner’s availability and any other professional attributes you are seeking in your financial planner.

Having a well-qualified and unbiased financial planner by your side is extremely important in your journey towards your financial goals. When searching for one, consider the planner’s professional credentials, client specialization, subject matter expertise, fee structure, and availability to select the right financial planner for your needs.

All About Financial Portfolio Management System

One of the biggest threats that most Portfolio Managers face is the prevalence of legacy systems.

Over the past three decades, investment advisors have been empowered by the advent of technology from simple spreadsheets to complex home-grown systems. From that time to the present, the industry has seen exponential growth and with it, enormous complexity. Challenges include round-the-clock trading in markets from New York to Sydney, varying accounting standards, shortened settlement cycles, and of course, increased regulation and security issues to name a few. As if that were not enough, technology seems to change every day leaving many legacy systems struggling to keep up with customer demands. Cheaper, faster, smarter, and more efficient norms are expected – they cannot be the exception. Failing systems can sharply undermine your company’s ability to service its customers and maintain its market share, much less grow the business.

In this age of big data, business intelligence, and data analytics, legacy systems can represent a massive risk to your business. If day-to-day operations require the ability to manage process, distribute, and accurately report financial data, being behind the curve is not an option. If this sounds familiar, it is time to ask, “How did we get here?” and more importantly “How do we get out?”

Here are the seven signs that will tell you if you have a decaying system and how it must ideally operate:

1. Facing difficulties while managing data due to disparate systems?

Maintaining data in different systems or manually moving move data from one system to another will lead to inconsistency and errors. Is your data quickly identifiable, consistent across multiple systems, complete, accurate, and reconciled among different systems? If your answer is a NO to these questions, you must reevaluate your platform. Your system must be able to eliminate manual data flow, update all the data with a single change, deliver timely and accurate reporting including intra-day, and make data easily traceable.

2. Are your client communications professional?

Investors expect your reporting to be clear, concise, and highly customized to their needs. This statement holds especially true for institutional investors. Organizations that can meet these expectations will have an immense competitive advantage over those that cannot. If your current system does not deliver the level of reporting your clients expect, you will run the risk of falling behind.

Your client expectations are not limited to the form and content of reporting, but also to how you deliver information. They expect instant access to real-time information, be it through a web portal or a mobile platform to stay relevant and highly competitive, your systems must be flexible enough to send and receive communications via any channel of your client’s choosing.

3. Struggling to cope with complex global investments?

Dealing with multiple regional and global investment regulations such as UCITS V and VI, Solvency II, AIFMD, and EMIR is a daunting task. All these regulations require you to maintain reliable, accurate, and transparent data. To comply with these regulations, you need Workflow Management, Data Management, and accurate reporting. Data, managing risk, and maintaining accuracy is critical to comply with regulatory reporting requirements.

With the increase in data sources and data complexities, your organizations need solution providers who can help you manage your data. Your system must not only be scalable but also provide actionable business intelligence in a format that is easily understood.

4. Finding it hard to achieve Integration of disparate systems?

Real integration is not a matter of simply connecting systems – your systems must be able to talk to each other seamlessly. Manually moving data from one system to another affects your efficiency, thereby, increasing the risk of errors. Integrating disparate systems not only reduces these risks but also improves efficiency by ensuring that back office and front office personnel can view transactions, cash positions, and holdings identically. This ensures that the entries are recorded accurately in your Investment Book of Records (IBOR).

Many organizations use multiple systems for accounting, reporting, reconciliation and managing client information. If different vendors have provided these systems, making them talk to each other could be a challenging process. If you have workarounds or portfolios that reside outside of your legacy system, it is time to rethink its usability. Your system must allow centralized and standardized portfolio management activity. In an end-to-end portfolio management solution that is built on open architecture, the work of multiple systems is consolidated into a single platform. Such a solution will allow easy access to third-party systems or any other system that is built in-house, thereby enabling you to reduce technology footprint while driving greater efficiency.

5. Escalating legal and compliance costs?

A 2013 survey of Chief Technology Officers suggests that one of the biggest operations and technology challenges that asset managers face is to comply with the current and future regulatory requirements. The complex regulations make outdated reporting systems more of a liability than an asset. The compliance costs of regulations such as AIFMD, UCITS V, and VI, or FATCA-are overtaking many budgets. Additionally, aggregating data from different systems for compliance reporting is a risky and resource-consuming process. To reduce these risks and costs simultaneously, your system must be prepared to deliver consolidated reporting, by leveraging automation, integration, and standardization of data from various sources. Your systems must also eliminate the manual compilation of data for reporting, thereby increasing efficiency and cutting associated compliance labor costs while ensuring integrity, consistency, and reducing your operating risk.

6. Being scrutinized by Investors’ due diligence?

After surviving the global economic crisis of 2008, institutional investors have become extremely wary of due diligence, leading to immense scrutiny of operations. The 2008 crisis exposed operational risks – the risk of failure that not only involved market forces but also the lack of infrastructure and controls. Investors have also become increasingly tech-savvy; they are asking the right questions and know what to find. To remain competitive in this vital market, your system must stand up to the intense investor scrutiny. You must show that you have the controls in place to manage the risks efficiently and that you are already adhering to well-organized processes. If Investors sense any gaps in your workflow and find that you are dependent on manual processes and workarounds, they will take their money elsewhere.

7. Legacy systems are not supported, serviced, or enhanced in the way you expect?

A product is only as good as its provider. Is you provider paying enough attention to you after the sale with 24/7 support? Does your provider have a track record of continuous product updates? Do they provide product training? Are they attentive to your suggestions or new ideas? Your provider must provide long-term support if you want your new system to last. Your product must be scalable, flexible, and must be built on open source technologies. In addition, your provider must not only help you set up but also ensure that your systems perform optimally without any disruptions. A relationship is a two-way street; as such, providers must be able to respond to your issues quickly, and also help your business adopt new functionality as and when it is needed.

Invest in your growth

A portfolio management system is the heart of your business. With a weak system, your business can be at serious risk, and you may not have the time to address it before it fails completely. Investing in technology will give you greater efficiency, reduced risks, and help you make informed decisions. Your provider, therefore, must have a proven track record of being committed to long-standing services, continuous improvement, and support you as you grow.

Things To Remember For People With Bad Credit

A bad credit is a debt that the borrower has failed to pay back within the stipulated period of time. Sometimes a bad credit is also referred to as a bad debt or a poor debt. To a mere person, it might appear somewhat trivial to fail to pay back a debt. You must be ignorant of the term credit score for you to think like this. A credit score depicts the likelihood of a borrower to pay a back debt. The score is calculated using past bank statements and records of all the debts that a person has borrowed from financial lending institutions.

An individual who has either failed to pay back in time is said to have dented one’s credit statement and this might have a huge bearing on that person’s credit score. The score is more affected when a borrower completely fails to liquidate a debt. When you have accrued a bad debt, you will start finding it very difficult to borrow money from financial lending institutions. This is particularly because the financial lenders will think that you have no capacity to pay back money in time. That is why it is very vital to make sure that your debt statement is as clean as possible.

Individuals whose financial borrowing statements are clean always enjoy very wonderful privileges compared to persons who have accrued a lot of debts than for those who have many bad credits. It is much easier to borrow money from financial lenders for people who have no bad credits. Every lender wants to feel that the money that has been lent out will be paid back in time. As such, clean debt statements usually attract a better relationship with lenders. This is particularly because the lender involved will not have any issues with recovering the money from a borrower whose payment history is outstanding.

What do you do if you have accrued so many debts such that your payment history has been dented? At times you may still be eligible for borrowing funds from some lenders regardless of how dented your borrower’s statement has become. However, your capacity to borrow will be limited for the sake of security. Financial lenders usually reduce the amount of money that they can lend to a particular borrower based on that person’s borrower’s statement. Sometimes the lender will be left with no choice but to deny the borrower a chance to borrow money. This happens if the person’s loan payment history is quite dented.

Most persons whose loan repayment history is not sound are entitled to short term loans and various unsecured loans. However, a good number of the short term and unsecured loans are usually borrowed for minor financial needs such as facilitating the payment of school fees and repair of a car. If you have a very bad history of repaying loans and you have prospects of borrowing huge sums of money from financial lenders, you have to fix your borrower’s statement. Using online guides on how to fix your history of repaying loans can prove to be useful. For example, you can search for auto financing for bad credit using any reliable search engine. The search results might prove to be useful.

Guide To Monitoring Your Credit

We all know our credit score is the heartbeat of our financial lives. We must do all we can to protect that all important 3 digit number!

If your credit is bad, it can prevent you from many things, such as car loans or home loans. Credit rating will fall based on unpaid bills or paying fees too late. The tips listed here can help raise your credit score.

Financing homes can be difficult when your credit score is low. FHA loans might be a good option to consider in these circumstances, because the federal government guarantees them. FHA loans offer lower down payment or pay closing costs.

The first step in credit repair is to build a commitment to adhere to it. You must be dedicated to making some significant changes and stick with them. Only buy the things that are absolutely needed.

A good credit report means you are more likely to get financing for a mortgage on the house of your dreams. Making regular mortgage payments in a timely manner helps raise your credit score. This is helpful in the event that you want to borrow funds.

Negative info stays on your history for up to seven years!

You need to work with your creditors when you have credit cards. This prevents you from sinking further into debt or further damaging your credit in good standing and repair any damage that may have been caused.

Give your credit card company a call and ask them to lower your credit card. Not only can this tactic prevent you from getting yourself in over your head with debt, but it will be reflected in your credit score because it shows that you are responsible with your credit.

Even though the particular credit item may not be accurate, any small mistake in the item, date, could make the entire entry invalid and eligible for removal.

Bankruptcy should only be viewed as a last resort. This will have damaging consequences to your credit report for ten years. It might seem like a good thing but in the long run you’re just hurting yourself.

Take the time to carefully go over your credit card statements. It is solely your responsibility to make sure everything is correct and error free.

Avoid using credit cards at all. Pay with cash instead. If you absolutely have no other choice but to use a credit card, always pay the balance in full each month.

Debt collection agencies can be the most difficult part of a bad credit. These letters stop collection agencies that harassing debtors, but the consumer remains responsible for paying the debt.

Your credit score will also suffer from opening new lines of credit. When offered large discounts or incentives for opening a new credit card, resist the urge to open a new store credit card. If you continue to increase your debt, your credit score will be greatly reduced.

Benefit of Credit Consolidation

Credit Cards may seem like the easiest way to pay for immediate purchases. Buying a new dress, paying for a birthday gift or submitting the necessary money for direct hospital expenses, all of these may seem easy to repay if done in a clear revolving cycle. In such cases you will never need to look at credit consolidation loans as a solution to get out of debts because you will never accumulate your payments turning them into a giant debt soup. When credit card payments are paid by the due date, you never have to worry about repayments and interest rates. But what if you are not able to make these payments month after month, what then?

Consolidate your Credit card payments
Once you adapt to the easy practicalities of using your credit card, you start to pay off your major expenditures with these. It is easier to write a check at the end of the month for the total expenses. So if you have more than one card, say 3, then you write three checks in the month. But when these pile up, they might make repayment impossible. Here the basics of consolidation may work to your benefit. The money that you borrow will most likely have a comparatively lower interest rate which will be much easier to repay when compared to the former.

Save Your Credit Rating
Once you fall into the quagmire of late fees and payment delays, it is very difficult to get back on track especially if you have difficulty in getting the kind of money that needs to be repaid. Such cases can really hurt your credit rating. This can also affect many spheres of your life so it is better to deal with such problems before they become unmanageable. A credit consolidation debt will be easier to handle as you pay off various credit card debts which means you only need to look at one single debt which is easier to handle as well as pay off.

Taking Care After Consolidation
Of course these steps will only work, if you know that the way to repay loans is to be careful and control your expenses in the first place. You cannot go back to spending the way you used to with credit cards when you already have a credit consolidation debt to repay. There are many debt consultants and agencies which will be able to advise you on future course of actions that will allow you to help get your credit record back on track. You can use this opportunity to maintain a good financial structure. If you are ineligible for a debt consolidation loan you may be eligible for other debt management options like a Debt Agreement or Personal Insolvency Agreement which provides a way of negotiating a reduced payout figure for those owing large amounts of unmanageable debt.

Why You Need To Talk About Your Credit Score

As we all know our FICO Credit Score is the heart beat of our financial life. And it seems a bit humorous to me how people are not as tight lipped about where they are with their credit standing.

Remember the days when nobody spoke about their credit? Where it was almost taboo? I’m finding that’s no longer the case. Today you may have someone say ‘man I have a foreclosure on my credit report’, and the person they are speaking to may rebut with ‘c’mon that’s nothing! Not only do I have a foreclosure, but I can one up you with a tax lien and 8 charge offs. It does seem a bit funny when you read that, but it is a sad reality.

The reality of the past 4-5 years is that this great country of ours went through some very tough times. Banks were not lending and frankly nobody cared about what their credit score was. Now the reality of today is banks are beginning to lend again and good people who went through the tough times are not able to borrow money on credit due to their credit standing.

My advice is to get professional help. There are attorneys and companies out there to help individuals with tarnished credit to restore their score. Just make sure they are seasoned, have a good standing with both local and state laws (check their score with the Better Business Bureau) and have a real live person to speak to. If they have a credit coach for you that’s more of a bonus!

We tell people you can do one of two things when you are in a situation where you might be faced with bad credit. You can stick your head in the sand and wake up a year from now with the same sub par credit. Or you can hire a professional to analyze and put you in the right direction. There are laws these credit agencies have to follow and every second they are basically breaking them. Do something about this and hold the agencies accountable for their mistakes that are costing you hundreds of thousands of your hard earned dollar.

The United States is a country of second chances and by restoring your credit it will give you just that.

My hope is that talking about credit will go back to being more of a personal thing and maybe even taboo.

Benefit of Consolidated Loans

Bankruptcy should never be an option for people. As long as you have a steady income and determination to succeed over a financial crisis, there is really no need to file for bankruptcy. Consumers should be aware of their spending habits and allocate their budget wisely. With careful planning and regular meetings with a financial adviser, individuals will surely avoid getting into debts and the dreaded status of bankruptcy.

Being in debt for a long time is not exactly the perfect scenario for everybody. Debts will entail risks in financial stability and feed you worries that keep nagging in the back of your mind. Debts will just multiply if you keep on delaying the payments longer. People should be smart and responsible enough to save and pay on time for the things that they have purchased. It would truly defeat the purpose of credit cards, which is to give the consumer time to gather their financial resources and pay the minimum amount every month, depending on the chosen installment scheme. Running away will only make matters worse.

In truth, escaping debts will not be easy but it is achievable for people who are willing to commit themselves to improve. There are debt help companies in your locality who are certified in providing settlement services for people in financial need. These companies will provide the debtor with representation during negotiations with the creditors and make sure to work out an advantage for their clients. They have different settlement strategies that could result to a suitable payment scheme that will reduce the payments as well as give ample time for their clients to regain financial stability. Their services are indeed blessings for people who have damaged credit reports and those who are on their way to filing for bankruptcy.

One of the most efficient strategies is to combine all the debtor’s credit debts and loans into a single loan, called a consolidate loan. The consolidated loan can either be secured and unsecured, depending on the lender’s choice. The merging of all the debts will result to a big amount but will decrease the interest rates sufficiently. You will notice that you are indeed paying less with a consolidated loan as compared to giving separate payments to different creditors.

When you consolidate all your debts and loans, you will be able to pay your old loans in a much lower rate. This will help debtors regain their finances easily without worrying about the numerous debts monthly. After paying off the debts, the debtors will still owe the new lender for their consolidated loans. With the help of the debt help companies, they can pay the remaining balance easily by asking for a time extension. This is a good way to allocate your budget and establish financial stability in the long run.

To consolidate loans is a top advice from financial advisers. It works perfectly if the debtors have a number of secured and unsecured debts to take care of, most especially if they have good credit report. Always review your credit report before proceeding to consolidate all your debts and loans.

Why You Need Debt Counseling

Having credit card debts can be a sign that an individual is succumbing to the temptation of excessive spending. Credit cards are known to provide people the buying power and have them pay their little luxuries in minimum monthly payments. While this strategy is popular in today’s consumerism-centered world, people can not help but think of the days where everything should be paid in cash, helping them steer away from unnecessary purchases and avoid incurring debts that can threaten their financial stability.

Consumers who have outstanding credit card debts have many options to solve their financial problems. The rise of debt relief companies in almost every state in the US has made financial assistance accessible to anyone everywhere. These companies aim to provide settlement assistance to people who are drowning in payments and can not maintain their monthly dues anymore. In a nutshell, these agencies help reduce debts and negotiate a good payment scheme in favor of the debtors.

One of the services they offer is credit debt counseling. This process involves negotiations with the creditors to generate a possible payment scheme that can be paid off in two to four years, depending on the income figures of the debtors. If ever the creditor sees that the debtor is indeed capable of getting over the debts after evaluating their finances, there is a chance for the debts to be lowered, and late fees & interest rates cancelled to make the strategy possible. This process is definitely an easy strategy if the credit card company is willing to listen and help their clients.

Credit debt counseling will also stop further temptation of buying, by cutting off the credit card power until the debts are paid off. Although it seems unfair to the consumers’ part; however, they should see that the strategy works for the better. The loss of credit card power will eventually help consumers realize their purchasing mistakes and get them to focus on the necessities only. The scheme would also help them allocate their budget responsibly, so they could answer the needs of the family, as well as pay off debts on time. It will undoubtedly be hard for them but they should take this as a challenge to prove that they can overcome their financial crisis.

Credit debt counseling could also affect your credit rating, depending on the varied policies of credit card companies. If you are lucky to be paying the debts on time, your credit report can show a positive rating. Having good ratings will help consumers apply for good bank accounts in the future, and will ensure lower interest rates if ever he or she decides to apply for a loan. If ever there is a reduction in your payments to help you cope up, then there is a possibility of seeing a negative score.

Credit card counselors aim to assist consumers in reducing debts and learning budget management skills that are crucial in this age of consumerism. Being smart in finances will help consumers, especially the ones with families, in dealing with financial crises and regaining financial stability as soon as possible.


Free Credit Report is Possible

The majority of the banks report to the Credit Bureau all the information about a certain client, whether we are talking about positive or negative aspects. However, while the positive records don’t affect the capacity of the client to obtain a new credit, the negative records are considered by the banks a major inconvenience for this initiative.

Obtaining the free credit report directly from the Credit Bureau

If you want your free credit report from the Credit Bureau, you will have to file an inquiry to the Bureau. You will also need a copy of your national ID. If you are enquiring for the first time during a year, you won’t have to pay for the service. However, the second inquiry must be paid, and you will also need to attach the prove of payment in this case.

The documents can be sent by mail to the address of the Bureau, or by email. You will need to scan all the documents before sending them. Make sure to attach all the required papers. The answer should arrive on the same e-mail address after one or two working days. You also have the possibility to bring the papers personally to the box office of the Credit Bureau in your city, but you will need to find out the address of the respective mailbox.

The answer has the form of the credit report, and it contains all the needed information about the credits and cards owned by the respective person. All the credits and credit cards are stated there, and the report must also have your name on it.

Obtaining the free credit report from the bank

If you are applying for a credit or a credit card to a bank, you will also have to complete an agreement. This agreement allows the bank to file an enquiry to the Credit Bureau in your name, and this free credit report is also available for you. Just sign the agreement, wait for the bank to obtain the credit report and ask them for a copy. Remember that you are allowed to see it! Because of some unknown reason, some banks would refuse to give this credit report to you. You will just need to remember them about the Private Data Processing Act, and they should give you the report.

What should you do with the free credit report

If you want to apply for a credit to different banks, having the free credit report could save you some time. Just take a copy of the report from the first bank, and bring it with you to the next bank where you are applying for the credit. This way, the second bank could skip this step, so they could tell you from the first visit if you are qualified for a credit or not. However, this document is only available 15 days from the date of issuing, so you would need a second enquiry if this period passes.

Credit Report Tips and Financial Counseling on []

All About High Risk Merchant Services

Offering your customers the option to pay via credit card is crucial for your business. Especially in case of online businesses, card payment is the only option customers have. Third party agencies offer merchant processing services that include credit card processing to businesses. But herein lies the catch. While everyone is willing to support low risk businesses, businesses that are risk do not get as much support from merchant service providers to help them open a merchant account.

They are offered only by specialized service providers.

Are You a High Risk Merchant?

You qualify for this services if your business is categorized as a high risk business. The online businesses that come under this category typically include those in the following areas- adult entertainment sites, those related to health and beauty such as websites selling weight loss, skin care, muscle enhancing and other similar products including nutritional and beauty supplements. Detective services, online dating sites, lotteries sites, sports consulting sites etc are some other examples of this businesses. These businesses are inherently risk for obvious reasons.

This type of merchant services are also required for high volume businesses, because these are more susceptible to credit card fraud. Small companies with low volume sales are also considered because they cannot afford the necessary fraud screening tools.

The individual business/ business owner characteristics are also important. Businesses not accredited with the local business bodies, those with poor/inconsistent credit histories, or where the business or the owner has been blacklisted due to any reason are considered high risk.

If you are a merchant, you will find it difficult to get a merchant account, which is crucial to enable credit card transactions. Hence you need the assistance of merchant service providers who especially cater to the needs of these type of merchants.

High Risk Merchant Services – What You can Expect

These type of merchant account providers charge enormous fees for their services. Merchant service fees are way higher than those charged for regular businesses.

For setting up a regular merchant account, often the set up fees are negligible or even nil. In case of these type of merchant accounts, your high fees start right from this point and include very high processing fees.

However, considering that enabling payment by credit card is crucial to the success of your business, you have no choice but to give in to the demands of merchant service providers. But as always, you must choose your service provider wisely and make sure you are not being taken for a ride.

How to Choose a High Risk Merchant Services Provider

Ask around and choose a provider with well established reputation in the field and who is well spoken of for the range and quality of services offered.

Choose someone who caters to your specific needs. For instance, depending on the nature of your business, you may require 24×7 support.

Insist on a breakdown of the fees and don’t sign up unless you are convinced about the fee structure.