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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Big Brother TV Show In Nepal: 16 Contestants We’d Love To See In The House

The tenth season of Bigg Boss, the Indian version of popular ‘real life soap’ Big Brother, is soon to hit the TV screens and the audiences not only in India but in Nepal too will stick to their television sets every night for three months as a huge number of people in both the countries have been enjoying the show since years. First aired in Netherlands in 1999, the show developed by Endemol has since been adapted in over forty countries. So we thought, what if there was a Nepali version of this TV show and 16 celebrities were confined in a specially-designed house where their every single action is recorded on dozens on cameras? That sounds extremely interesting to us. So, here’s a list of 16 contestants we would love to see as “house-mates”.

1. Aastha Pokharel

Photo: Anjil Maskey

Photo: Anjil Maskey

Supermodel Aastha Pokharel who splits her time between Kathmandu and Mumbai would be a great pick for the show. One of the most experienced Nepali models, the winner of Kingfisher Supermodels 2 would have a lot to talk about Nepali modelling and fashion scene; and we would love to get the insights.

2. Sandip Chhetri

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Actor, comedian and TV host Sandeep Chhetri would be another perfect contestant for the show. More popular for his character named Mithailal Jyadhav, he would bring that entertainment factor to the show.

3. Sudin Pokharel

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It’s been quite some years since rapper, TV host and sports commentator Sudin Pokharel has disappeared from the limelight. More popularly known by his stage name DA69, the ‘The Unity’ rapper has been living in Australia. Once the heartthrob of thousands of girls, it would be great to have him on the show.

4. Priyanka Karki

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Well, well, well, what do we say about Priyanka Karki? Just her presence on the show will be more than enough for most of the people to get hooked on to the TV show. Currently the leading lady of Nepali cinema, this terrific entertainer will undoubtedly be one of the toughest contenders on the show.

5. Anjali Lama

Photo: Mahesh Pradhan

Photo: Mahesh Pradhan

Born as a boy named Nabin Waiba, Nepal’s first transgender model Anjali Lama has a lot of stories to tell and what can be a better platform than this show! It would also be great to have her in the house because the majority of Nepali people are still unaware of LGBTI community and their status in our society and she would be the perfect representative who can be their voice. Also, hers has been a long and struggling journey, it would be an inspiration for many people to know about her.

6. Adrian Pradhan

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Let’s have someone with an amazingly beautiful voice in the house. How about Adrian Pradhan? Perfect! The former 1974 AD lead singer who is soon to debut on silver screen will keep the environment of the house positive with his soulful voice.

7. Sagar Thapa

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We would love to have Sagar Thapa in the house because people want to know and they deserve to know what exactly happened back then. The former national football team skipper and one of the most controversial Nepali athletes, we are not sure if he deserves to represent Nepali sports fraternity in a platform like this but we don’t want him to represent the sports fraternity anyway, we just want an individual to be there whom we all loved and we all were proud of someday. We needs some answers!

8. & 9. Ayushman DS Joshi & Paramita RL Rana

Photo: Namaste TV Show

Photo: Namaste TV Show

Well, a real life couple in the house would be interesting. We chose them because they are not only one of the hottest Nepali couples but also because they are never uncomfortable to talk about their relationship in public or in front of media; and we absolutely love that thing about this couple. The two have gathered huge fan following from their modelling projects and also their recent film ‘Chapali Height 2’. They are sure to make the show hot and happening

10. Sahana Bajracharya

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Photo: Namaste TV Show

Not exactly because she has been quite controversial a couple of times, but because she is one of the most adored and loved TV personalities, we would love to have Sahana Bajracharya in the house. Miss Nepal Earth 2010 will definitely bring some awesomeness to the show with her vibrant personality.

11. Asish Syangden

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One of the most loved voices on radio, Asish Syangden has been ruling the radio scene for almost two decades now. Currently associated with BFBS Radio, he is equally popular on social media for his witty posts. It’s no secret that this man would be one of the most loved contestants who would thoroughly entertain not only the housemates but the audiences as well.

12. Abhaya Subba

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Abhaya ‘The Rockstar’ Subba is one of the very few female celebrities in Nepal who have guts to express what they feel about something. The founder and lead singer of rock n’ roll band Abhaya and the Steam Injuns, she has always been very vocal on issues related with Nepal and Nepalese people. She would definitely be an ideal contestant to be on the show and she will rock it there just like she rocks when she is on stage.

13. Archana Paneru

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Let’s add some more drama to the show. How about we have Archana Paneu in the house? Sounds pretty interesting to us. The social media sensation who desires to be a professional porn star someday has worked in a couple of music videos and a feature film so far. While we have personalities from different fields and of different opinions, it would be pretty entertaining to have her in the house as well. Oh yeah, we can hear some guys scream in excitement already!

14. Aayush Rimal

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Arguably the most controversial Nepali teenager (after Archana Paneru, of course), Aayush Rimal would be a good pick for the show for obvious reasons. The popular YouTuber who has a huge fan following has an equal number of, or may be even more, haters. He would make the show much more entertaining with his sense of humor. So, let’s just have him.

15. Subin Bhattarai

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So we’ve got actors, models, TV personalities, athletes, singers, pageant winners; so who else do we need? How about an author? Sounds like a good idea. Let’s have Subin Bhattarai in the house. The ‘Summer Love’ author who is all set to release his fourth book titled ‘Monsoon’ this month is quite popular among youths for his romantic writings. It would be interesting to know about Nepali literature scene from him.

16. Rishi Dhamala

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At last but not the least, how can we forget about the one and only, Rishi Dhamala, the most loved Nepali journalist (ahem!). He will take the show to a whole new level for sure, not sure if in a good or a bad way though. But whatever, 100% entertainment is guaranteed if he is in the house. Plus, imagine him asking the housemates, “Tapaile yo show kaile jitnu huncha? First season, second season, third season athwa kahile? Hamilai vannuhos, janta janna chahancha.” (When will you win the show – in the first, second or third season? Please answer us, the public wants to know). It might be brutal torture for his fellow housemates but well, we’ll have fun.

That’s not it yet. Apart from the contestants, we’ve also figured out who should host the show and who should be the voice of Big Brother.

You might be fond of his acting or not, but you can’t deny the fact that Rajesh Hamal is a terrific show host. With that larger than life personality, he will prove to be a great host of this TV show.

rajesh

The voice of Big Brother or ‘Thuldai’ or whatever the name of the show would be, must be quite heavy and appealing. Once the person starts talking, he should have all the attention of every housemate. And we choose actor Sunil Thapa to be that voice. He would do justice to the part given to him for sure.

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Photo: TNM

Well, that’s everyone who needs to be the part of this show. We really wish it was actually made because Nepali television is quite boring and it needs some shows which can actually attract audiences.

That’s our choices. Let us know what you think of them. Also, do comment below who would you like to see if this show was made in Nepal.

The post Big Brother TV Show In Nepal: 16 Contestants We’d Love To See In The House appeared first on NeoStuffs.

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Breaking the Cycle of Repeated Financial Mistakes

Human beings are creatures of habit. Most of the time, those habits are a good thing – they ensure that our basic needs are met pretty efficiently and we get the core things done that we need to get done in a day.

Sometimes, however, those habits work against us. They can continually keep us in a bad financial position, even when we consciously recognize the habitual mistake we’re making.

It even happens to me.

My worst financial habit is buying Kindle books and, occasionally, boardgames without looking at my “hobby/entertainment” budget for the month. Rather than actually looking at how much I have left in that budget category, I’ll just estimate quickly in my head that I have enough left over and then I go ahead and make that purchase. Sometimes, that takes me over my spending limit, which means that I “borrow” from next month’s budget, which is where the cycle of repeated financial mistakes gets started. That’s because next month, I don’t reflect on the fact that my budget is a little smaller because of my overspending from the previous month, so I overspend that month, too.

I am extremely glad that this relatively minor thing is currently my worst repeated financial mistake. The truth is that, not too long ago, my life was riddled with similar repeated mistakes.

I used to go to a coffee shop every day and pay for it on my credit card. I didn’t order anything that I couldn’t make from home there and I didn’t bother to really keep track of the spending, either. It was just my normal habit.

I used to go to the bookstore after work twice a week and walk out with two or three books in hand each time. Again, I didn’t buy anything I couldn’t already get from the library and it was rare that the books were actually reference books or books that I would repeatedly read. I didn’t bother to really keep track of the spending there, either. It was just my normal habit.

Every day, after work, I used to walk across the parking lot from my apartment to a convenience store, chat with the person behind the counter that I had come to know pretty well, and buy a Gatorade and sometimes a slice of pizza. I really didn’t need that pizza (or the Gatorade, to be honest, though I could have bought that in bulk elsewhere for about a quarter of the price). I just did it out of routine, and, as with the other routines, I didn’t really think about keeping track of my spending. It was just my normal habit.

I used to maintain subscriptions to about six different online role playing games, even when I wasn’t actively playing them. When I saw a new MMO that looked interesting or that my friends were playing, I’d jump in and subscribe and then just leave the subscription running. I didn’t really think about the cost of it all. It was just my normal habit.

Whenever I went grocery shopping, I would just go there with an idea in mind that I had to plan for three or so meals. I’d wander through the aisles, grab a bunch of things that theoretically fit together as meals, and usually throw several unnecessary items in the cart to boot. This was just my normal meal planning and food buying strategy.

These habits and routines were part of the normal bedrock of my life. I simply settled into them during the early days of my professional life, back when I felt absolutely flush with money due to the fact that I was now working at my first “real” job with a “real” paycheck. I was much more concerned with establishing an “adult” life with lots of the little pleasures and treats that came with it than I was about the dollars and cents.

By the time I realized what I was doing to my financial future, I was already very entrenched in these routines. Those routines were my sense of “normal,” and the thought of disrupting even one or two of them seemed terrible. I focused deeply on the negative aspects of disrupting my routines.

Even worse, I often didn’t even see these financial mistakes. They were so embedded in my normal routine that they didn’t even show up on my radar as a financial mis-step. I looked instead at the things I did irregularly and focused on changing those things instead, which helped a little but didn’t bring about the profound change that I wanted. I became obsessed with things like optimizing the cost of visiting my parents, which was something that happened a few times a year, while initially ignoring some of my daily habits.

Even when I started to really notice the negative financial impact of those habits, I often just continued to do them anyway without even thinking of the negative impact in the moment. I’d go to the coffee shop in the morning and not even think about the negative financial impact, even though I was aware of it. I wouldn’t even think about another choice.

Over time, I managed to break all of these bad habits and repeated financial missteps. I don’t drink coffee hardly at all any more, though I don’t feel guilty in the least if I drink a cold afternoon coffee (my preferred way of drinking it these days). I get many of my books from the library (though I still do buy a Kindle book or two, as I mentioned at the start). I use a much smarter meal planning routine, and I rarely go to any convenience stores any more.

The financial benefits were enormous, to say the least.

I was able to change those poor financial routines by adopting a few smart strategies for breaking those kinds of habits. Here are the ones that really do the trick.

Identify overlooked habits by using data

Sit down with your credit card statements and your bank statements and look for transactions that repeat regularly, especially ones that repeat multiple times per week. What are those transactions? Chances are those transactions are a sure sign of a bad financial habit.

Go through each one of those repeated transactions and identify what it is that you’re doing over and over again. Maybe it’s a regular stop at a store of some kind. Maybe it’s a regular online purchase.

Whatever that routine is, ask yourself whether or not you really need to continue it, or whether there’s a way to change it to cause you to spend less money, or whether there’s a way to adopt a different routine that achieves a similar effect in your life.

If you need some inspiration, add up how much this routine is costing you each week or each month. What you find from that simple arithmetic will probably surprise you. Take my previously mentioned coffee shop routine, where I spent a seemingly minor $7 each morning on a coffee and a bagel. Over the course of a typical month, that added up to over $150.

It’s those repeated purchases that indicate routines that we’re probably not thinking about in terms of their long term financial consequences.

Set up short-term “challenges” for breaking habits

One of the best tools I’ve ever discovered for establishing a new habit is the “30 day challenge.” It’s simple: for the next thirty days, you simply challenge yourself to focus on and adopt a new habit of some kind or eliminate a habit of some kind.

You might challenge yourself to avoid alcohol for thirty days or eat only at home (and brown bagging when necessary) for thirty days or not going to the coffee shop for thirty days or replacing bookstore visits with library visits for thirty days. It can be whatever you’d like it to be, but a good goal for eliminating bad financial routines is to either use a thirty day challenge to completely halt that habit in its tracks or completely substitute a new habit for the old one.

The key is to constantly remind yourself of this thirty day challenge. Do whatever you need to do to make sure that the challenge is front and center in your life.

I use two strategies. First, I use a “daily checklist” (something I may cover in a future post) that I follow each day and if I’m establishing a new habit that habit goes on the checklist. Second, my phone reminds me of the new habit I’m trying to establish several times throughout the day by sending me “reminders.”

Together, those things ensure that the new habit remains center of mind throughout the day.

Look for triggers for those bad habits and modify or eliminate those triggers

Why do we choose to continue those bad habits? What triggers us to continue them? Figuring out our triggers for our bad financial habits can be vital in fixing them.

For example, I came to realize that my ordinary routine of getting home and quickly feeling thirsty usually led me to walk over to the convenience store. So, what I started doing was keeping a really tasty beverage in the fridge. I started preparing some citrus water (something I really like – basically just citrus fruits and a bunch of honey left sitting in water all day) in the morning, and the process of doing so reminded me of that water during the day. When I got home, I’d grab that citrus water bottle and my thirst would be quenched, wiping out the main trigger for going to the convenience store. (It was also a lot healthier.)

My biggest triggers for stopping at the coffee shop and the bookstore came from my commute, so I spent some time devising a parallel route home, one that actually turned out to be a minute or so shorter than my previous route as it took me down a road with a few less stoplights. Simply not driving by the bookstore each morning went a long way toward quelling my desire to stop and buy books, and the same thing turned out to be true about the coffee shop.

Just look for the exact moment you make the decision to engage in a bad financial habit, then ask yourself what you can change about your routine to reduce the chances of that trigger happening. Often, by changing something completely unexpected, you can completely wipe out that bad habit trigger and suddenly find yourself saving a lot of money.

Replace the habit you’re trying to break with a new one

Almost every bad financial habit you have can be directly replaced by something better. It just takes a conscious effort to switch your “default” behavior to the new behavior.

Take grocery shopping, for example. My old routine of simply going into the store and grabbing things for a few meals (and a lot of other unnecessary items) was an expensive one. What I simply tried instead was figuring out the meals at home and making a grocery list based on those meals.

At first, this seemed rough. I felt like making this list was going to cause my time spent on the task of “getting groceries” much longer than before because I was sitting at home making a list instead of actually shopping. What I learned pretty quickly, though, was that I saved so much time in the store by having a list that I recovered even more time than I spent writing the list. I also saved a lot of money and actually had good items at home for meals. (I now have a full routine for this that involves looking at grocery store flyers as a basis for planning the meals so that I “automatically” buy on-sale items at the store.)

I directly replaced my bookstore stops with stops at the library. However, instead of going to the bookstore twice or three times a week (as I noted above, I killed this off by changing my commute), I went to the library once every two weeks or so and checked out several books at once.

I directly replaced the stop at the coffee shop by drinking a beverage immediately after getting to work. At first, I drank coffee, but before long I switched to drinking water in the mornings (coffee made me feel jittery in the morning).

How can you make a substitution for some of your financially costly routines? Look for ways to maintain what you really value from a routine but without the expense and then focus on really hammering home that routine change until it feels natural.

Use positive talk; if you need to self-criticize, always include a “but”

When you think about your life, particularly when you’re thinking about recent changes that you know are positive, try to avoid using “negative” talk to describe that change. Use “positive” talk to describe it. In other words, focus on the good things that this change is bringing into your life.

It’s hard to always police one’s thoughts like that, of course. Sometimes we all think negatively about things. If you find yourself doing that, tack a “but” on the end of that negative thought and bookend it with a positive ramification of your change.

It’s simple: if you think more positively than negatively about a change in your life, you’re likely to stick with it. If you look at the benefits above the challenges and drawbacks, you’ll want to keep doing it. That change will feel good.

So don’t dwell on the aspects you’ve lost. Focus instead on what you’ve gained and if you ever find yourself considering the pieces you’ve lost, remind yourself immediately of the positives as well.

Visualize your life without this bad routine or with a better one

Another great strategy is to simply spend time visualizing the part of your day where your routine has changed. Mentally walk through your morning routine or your commute or what you do when you decide to go grocery shopping or when you might pick up a drink and visualize yourself actually adopting the new routine you’ve decided on.

I find that such visualizations are a great thing to do while driving. I’m constantly thinking about my life while driving and looking for ways to improve what I’m doing. Simply imagining a part of my life where I’m engaging in a more positive routine really helps me actually implement that routine in my life.

For me, repetition of the visualization seems to help, as does adding as much detail as possible to the visualization. Try to make the visualization seem as realistic as possible, even with some of your normal foibles in the visualization. The more real it seems, the more your brain will buy into it.

Surround yourself with people who don’t include this bad habit – or similar ones – in their lives

If you find yourself constantly buying books, hang out with people who instead use the library all the time. If you find yourself stopping at the coffee shop all the time, hang out with people who don’t drink coffee or who just drink it at work.

The idea is that if you hang out primarily with people who don’t treat the habit you’re trying to break as a norm, then it becomes easier to break that routine. They won’t bring up that routine in conversation. They won’t practice it themselves. They won’t encourage you to practice it, either.

It’s also a lot easier to adopt new positive routines if you’re in a community or social circle that practices those routines. If many of the friends you hang out with have a regular exercise routine, it’s much easier to adopt such a routine for yourself, for example.

Accept that you will fail occasionally, but recognize that it’s not a reason to give up

You are going to sometimes fail. You’re going to slip back into a familiar routine, almost completely without thinking about it, and then you’re going to cringe at your own silly mistake when you realize your mistake. It’s going to happen.

First, don’t beat yourself up over it. Everyone makes mis-steps, especially when they’re learning a new life routine. It’s part of the process of changing a normal routine.

Second, consider why you made that mistake, but don’t dwell on it. What triggered the mistake? What can you do to eliminate that trigger in your life? Maybe it was a personal relationship that did it, in which case you can spend less time with that person. Maybe it was your commute. Maybe it was an elevated stress level. Whatever it is, look for a way to alter it so it doesn’t set the stage for more mistakes.

Finally, remember that taking one step back isn’t the end of the world if it’s paired with ten steps forward. You haven’t lost all of your progress because of one misstep. You’re still in a better place than you were at the start and you can keep pressing forward from here.

Final Thoughts

Breaking a repeated cycle of mistakes can be very difficult, but it’s also one of the most financially rewarding things you can do. It enables you to get a much firmer grip on your money. It also goes a long way toward restoring the joy of some of the things you now find routine – for example, I love going to the coffee shop as a rare treat, but when it was a routine, it was very ordinary and forgettable. Plus, doing it this way is far cheaper.

Good luck to you on whatever bad financial routines you’re trying to crack!

The post Breaking the Cycle of Repeated Financial Mistakes appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Nepathya Brings The House Down In S. Korea, Plays Biggest Nepali Concert In Country

SEP 17, SEOUL: As South Korea is celebrating a 5-day-vacation for Chuseok, the biggest and most important festival in country, some of the most well known artists from Nepal were here to entertain over 25,000 Nepalese living in this country. On Thursday, Nepathya performed at KBS Arena in Seoul. Despite being one of the various Nepali events taking place on the same day, this particular event wasn’t only the most successful event of this season but most probably the most successful Nepali event in Korea so far.

Started playing at 4 PM, the legendary band that has been entertaining us for over two and a half decades now, rocked the stage for two continuous hours in the sold out event that witnessed the most number of audiences ever in a Nepalese event in S. Korea. Nepathya is probably the only band that can make you sing, dance, smile, laugh and cry in one single gig — and that’s what happened. While people sang and danced to numbers like Resham, Taal Ko Paani, Bheda Ko Oon Jasto, Jogale huncha Bhet among others; many of them got emotional when Amrit Gurung started singing Jeevan Ho Ghaam Chhaya while there was a slideshow on the big screen behind him, showing the photographs of the people who are suffering — suffering from extreme poverty and diseases. Now, that’s one of the most beautiful things about a Nepathya concert, we get to see a lot of unseen pictures taken by the frontman, Amrit Gurung, from every single corner of the nation.

The folk rock band will tour to United States later this month.

Here, we’ll leave you with some stills from the event.

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Well, here’s a short clip from the concert. Enjoy!

 

The post Nepathya Brings The House Down In S. Korea, Plays Biggest Nepali Concert In Country appeared first on NeoStuffs.

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The Tax Benefits of Life Insurance

In addition to protecting your dependents from financial hardship, life insurance policies are shielded from taxation under most circumstances.

A death benefit is considered to be the reimbursement for a loss, not income. That means when a beneficiary receives an insurance payout, the proceeds normally don’t need to be reported for tax purposes.

“Insurance in general is not a taxable event,” says Anthony Bowers, a senior associate with Revolution Financial Management in Valencia, Calif. “It is income replacement.”

There are circumstances when the government may levy a tax against life insurance, but this usually occurs only with permanent life policies or with beneficiaries who have high-value estates, says Adam Beck, an assistant professor at the American College of Financial Services in Pennsylvania.

“A very small number of families will end up paying the estate tax,” Beck explains.

These Life Insurance Proceeds Aren’t Taxed

Here are some of the situations in which life insurance is protected from taxation:

  • Increases in cash value. Permanent or “cash value” life insurance policies are designed to increase in value through investments. The increase in value isn’t counted as income, and is exempt from taxation.
  • Lump-sum payments. Permanent life insurance policyholders have the ability to surrender their policies for lump-sum payments. If a lump sum is less than the money you put into the policy, it’s not taxable.
  • Investment dividends. Mutual insurance companies may return money to policyholders as dividends. These policyholders can’t be taxed until the amount exceeds what the insured has paid out in premiums.
  • Payments to a spouse. Life insurance payments to a spouse typically aren’t subject to federal income taxes or estate taxes.

When Is Life Insurance Taxable?

In some cases, portions of life insurance proceeds may be subject to taxation, says Beck. Here are some situations in which the government may claim a share of life insurance benefits:

  • Life insurance settlement profits. If you sell your life insurance policy, the buyer will pay the premiums and receive the cash benefit upon your death. The money you get from selling your policy may be taxed. The way it is taxed will depend on the type of policy, the money you paid into it, the amount you received from selling it, and whether there was any cash value.
  • Earnings from a permanent life policy. If you surrender a permanent life policy and the lump-sum value is greater than the amount you have paid into it because of investment returns, you may have a tax bill. The difference is considered taxable at ordinary income tax rates, explains Patrick Ritter, a financial planning consultant at Fiduciary Advisors in St. Louis.
  • Outstanding loans. If you’ve borrowed money against your cash value policy or you’ve allowed it to lapse, you’ll have to pay taxes on any outstanding loan balance that exceeds what you paid into the policy.
  • Payouts that are part of a large estate. For the wealthy, life insurance can be subject to the federal estate tax. If the estate is large enough to be taxed, the life insurance payout may be taxed as well, Beck explains. Estate tax applies to estates worth more than $5.45 million for 2016. Some people use irrevocable trusts to prevent their insurance proceeds from becoming part of a their estate.

A Tool for Preventing Taxation

In cases where estate taxes are likely be paid, some people take out polices on their lives designed to provide money to their heirs to pay those taxes, Bowers says.

In some cases wealthy people are able to avoid estate taxes by combining permanent life insurance policy with an irrevocable trust. Placing ownership with the trust removes the death benefit from the value of the estate.

The goal is to prevent insurance proceeds from raising the estate’s value beyond the threshold that triggers estate taxes. The trust, not the insured, owns the life insurance policy. The trust pays premiums and distributes money to beneficiaries when the insured person dies.

Tax laws are complex and they frequently change. Before you attempt to use life insurance to reduce your tax burden, consider consulting a financial planner.

Related Articles:

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Best Reverse Mortgage Lenders for 2016

A reverse mortgage allows you to convert your home equity into a cash loan, provided you’re over the age of 62. It can help you balance out your income during retirement, make it easier to pay bills, or even help you downsize to a new home. The reverse mortgage industry has a bad reputation, though, and looking for a credible lender can feel like a daunting task. Despite the introduction of new regulations to keep the industry in line, there are still plenty of scams, lots of bad advertising, and a surprising amount of poor counseling out there.

Fortunately, there are still plenty of good reverse mortgage lenders out there. The best reverse mortgage lenders — like my top overall pick, One Reverse Mortgage — don’t engage in any shady advertising or business practices, while also providing a wide range of reverse mortgage options, in-depth information about each of those options, and helpful representatives to assist you when you need them.

The Simple Dollar’s Top Picks for Best Reverse Mortgage Lenders

How I Found the Best Reverse Mortgage Lenders

First, I looked for lenders with a wide reach.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of local lenders who may be able to offer you great service, but I didn’t want to get a nationwide audience excited about a lender they couldn’t use, so I focused only on lenders who operate in at least 40 states. I found 86 nationwide reverse mortgage lenders from which to choose the top five.

I cut out the middlemen.

Lead-generation websites are great if you’re looking for a bunch of fast quotes, but they can’t offer you much information about the level of service or reliability you’ll get from the lenders they recommend. I want you to know exactly what you’re getting into, so I nixed any company that wasn’t a direct lender.

I also looked into each lender’s reputation.

I looked for lenders who did not have multiple regulatory actions or consistent complaints made against them. A mistake here or there doesn’t necessarily raise a red flag. Maybe someone forgot to sign the paperwork, or something was filled out incorrectly. But more than a couple incidents could spell a pattern, so I nixed any lenders who had recurring problems. All of my top picks are also members of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, which ensures that all of its members adhere to strict ethical guidelines in order to be a part of the organization.

Then I started applying for reverse mortgages myself.

Since most of us are going to start our search online, the best reverse mortgage lenders need to have a high-quality, professional website where you can quickly learn what you need, including:

  • Accurate and easy-to-understand educational info to help you get started with a reverse mortgage.
  • Helpful online tools, like interest and payment calculators.
  • An online pre-qualification form that is easy to use.
  • Easy access to reps through features like live chat, so you can get ahold of someone quickly when you need to.
  • Helpful information on counseling and payment options readily available online, so you can learn what you need when you don’t want to talk to someone else.

You’ll also likely spend time talking to your reverse mortgage loan officer over the phone or in person. Since you’ll have to go through it, I did, too. I called all of the top lenders; hammered the loan officers with questions; and judged each lender on response time, knowledge, and friendliness.

Also, there’s one final step I couldn’t test in the reverse mortgage application process for you: Before you can finalize a reverse mortgage, you’ll have to take a counseling course with a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved counselor. This step is required by the Feds to help you understand all of your options, and to hopefully help you make a sound decision.

The Best Reverse Mortgage Lenders

Best Overall

Learn More on OneReverseMortgage.com's secure website

When it comes to all-around lender quality, One Reverse Mortgage was the clear winner. A division of Quicken Loans, One Reverse Mortgage offered a well-rounded experience. The company website was helpful, with a decent knowledge center and an easy-to-use online pre-qualification app. After I applied online, the lender called me first, and answered all of my questions honestly and thoroughly. One Reverse Mortgage also offers a range of payment options, making it a good fit for most situations.

For Homeowners Who Want Payments Over Time

Learn More on Longbridge-financial.com's secure website

Longbridge Financial’s website has a clear layout with everything at your fingertips. Its knowledge center was helpful and straightforward, and I left the website feeling like I knew more about reverse mortgages than when I started. It was also the only lender in my top picks to offer a live chat function. Longbridge Financial offers a variety of reverse mortgage products, but it put a focus on long-term payouts (with helpful website information and knowledgeable reps to back it up), making it the clear winner in terms of online functionality and a good choice if you’re looking to receive payments over time.

For Homeowners Who Want to Downsize into a New Home

Learn More on Reversefunding.com's secure website

Reverse Mortgage Funding immediately answered my call when I had questions, and I was able to speak directly with a knowledgeable, helpful rep within five minutes. The loan officer kept pace with my laundry list of questions — everything from getting the required HUD counseling to closing costs — and left me feeling confident the company knew what it was doing. If you want to do business over the phone instead of online, Reverse Mortgage Funding is worth checking out, but the company also won the top pick spot for people looking to move into a smaller home. The lender has special programs geared toward helping seniors use a reverse mortgage to downsize into a new place — perfect if you want the benefits of a reverse mortgage, but aren’t sure if you want to stay in your current home.

Honorable Mentions

HomeBridge Financial Services didn’t offer as much information online as One Reverse Mortgage or Longbridge Financial, but it has an easy-to-navigate website that will help you get started. The loan officer I spoke to was friendly, fast, and didn’t make me feel rushed when I kept asking questions.

FBC Mortgage had a direct, no-frills website, but does offer contact information for loan officers right on the reverse mortgage page, so you can skip the 1-800 number. I tried it and reached my friendly loan officer, Al, within minutes. Al was more than happy to discuss my options with me. FBC Mortgage offers a wide range of reverse mortgages, both in lump sum and term payments, making it an all-around good reverse mortgage lender if you prefer to do business with an individual, rather than a machine.

Note: You may notice that the big names in banking you recognize are conspicuously absent from this list. There’s a reason: Most big-name lenders have pulled out of the reverse mortgage business in recent years. (Both Wells Fargo and Bank of America ended reverse mortgage services in 2011, for example.) But the lack of name recognition shouldn’t raise a red flag. These lenders still originate a large volume of successful loans. For example, Quicken Loans (the parent company of my top pick One Reverse Mortgage) is the largest online mortgage lender and second largest mortgage lender overall in the US.

How Does a Reverse Mortgage Work?

A reverse mortgage allows you to convert your home equity into a cash loan. You never have to make a payment, and you don’t have to have income to qualify. You will have to pay closing costs and setup fees (just like with a regular mortgage), and you’ll likely have to pay off any remaining mortgage you have before you start receiving payments, but those costs can be rolled in to your reverse mortgage, meaning you may not have to pay much or anything up front. And then, unlike your regular mortgage, you won’t have to make a payment every month — instead, you’ll get a payment, which deducts from the pre-existing equity you already have in your home.

There are some basic requirements.

Before we go further, you should know not everyone qualifies for a reverse mortgage. To be a candidate you must:

  • Be at least 62-years-old.
  • Be currently living in your home year-round (vacation homes don’t qualify).
  • Not have any outstanding federal liens (including taxes).

If you don’t meet the minimum qualifications, you may still have some other options to get cash from your home (I’ll talk about those a bit later). If you do meet the qualifications, you should know reverse mortgages work a bit differently than a traditional mortgage or loan.

Reverse mortgages come in four different forms.

Most reverse mortgages are known as HECMs, or Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. HECMs are insured by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and represent 90 percent or more of all reverse mortgages, according to Casey Fleming, a mortgage advisor and author of The Loan Guide: How to Get the Best Possible Mortgage. All of my top picks offer HECMs.

Within HECMs there are four ‘types’ of reverse mortgages:

  • Lump sum: You’ll receive one lump sum to pay off your home and then spend the remainder as you wish.
  • Monthly annuity for life: A monthly payment for an undetermined amount of time.
  • Monthly annuity term: A monthly payment for a set amount of time.
  • Equity line: A line of credit you can draw against as needed to cover expenses.

And, remember: It’s a loan, not a grant.

While the lender will pay you initially, reverse mortgages are a loan, not a grant. If the homeowner moves, sells the home, or passes away, the balance on the reverse mortgage becomes due — typically paid off by selling the home.

What About Reverse Mortgage Scams?

Scams aren’t as common as they once were – regulations have tightened over the years to make it harder for would-be scammers – but it does still happen in some areas, especially when it comes to advertising. False or misleading information can happen in any lending situation, and it helps to be prepared. In fact, a recent study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau tested 97 advertisements for reverse mortgages. They found incomplete, misleading, or missing information in nearly all of them. That doesn’t mean you’re going to run into a scam, but it does mean you shouldn’t rely on advertising alone.

Comparison Shop: Always get quotes from multiple lenders. Since you’re not making monthly payments — the lender is paying you — it is easy to overlook this step, but you shouldn’t. Once your loan term is up — or you sell your home — you’ll have to essentially pay the lender back, plus interest, and a few fractions of a percentage point can make a big difference over the course of a loan. According to Fleming, “Reverse mortgages are the only product left where a loan officer can earn a higher commission by selling you a higher interest rate. Since seniors don’t make payments, they rarely comparison shop and so could easily end up with a much higher interest rate than necessary.”

Make sure the lender you’re considering is reputable: There are two easy ways to do this. First, check the lender out with the Nationwide Mortgage License System and Registry. The NMLS will tell you if the lender has any serious infractions. You can also see if it’s a member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. (All of my top picks already passed these tests.)

Work with your HUD counselor: The required counseling session is a good time to address any specific questions or concerns you have — like what to expect for closing costs, or what payment option would work best for your schedule. Don’t be shy: If you’re worried or wondering, bring it up!

Read all the disclosures: Reverse mortgage products have a unique language and a lot of paperwork to get through, but it’s important that you read all of it, and understand what it says. And don’t get discouraged if you don’t understand it all (most of us don’t). “It might be helpful to ask a trusted family member or financial advisor for help with reading them,” Fleming says. Not sure who to ask? Your HUD counselor may be able to recommend someone.

And, remember: Not all reverse mortgages are bad news. Yes, there can be scams and false information floating around, but that doesn’t mean all reverse mortgages are inherently evil. Getting a reverse mortgage can be a responsible way to plan for retirement if done correctly.

Alternative options

Not sure if a reverse mortgage is right for you? It won’t work for everyone in every situation, so it’s important to consider alternatives. Consider these:

Refinance your mortgage. If your monthly mortgage payment is dragging down your fixed income, you may be able to refinance into a cheaper monthly payment and free up some cash.

Take out a HELOC. A home equity line of credit will give you a line of credit you can draw from whenever you need to make home improvements or have an emergency expense. However, once you draw out, you will have to make payments later to repay the loan.

Take out a home equity loan. A home equity loan will let you borrow against the equity in your house to cover unexpected expenses.

Downsize. It isn’t easy to think about, but downsizing has its benefits. For one, you could make cash from the sale of your home to help cover your daily expenses. And you may end up enjoying having a smaller home with less maintenance, which will provide you with more freedom.

The Bottom Line

Reverse mortgages aren’t for everyone, but as long as you choose a reputable lender and read all the fine print, a reverse mortgage can give you more financial freedom during your golden years.

The post Best Reverse Mortgage Lenders for 2016 appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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We Want You To Watch This 8-Minute-Film Before You Go To Bed Tonight. Don’t Ask, Just Watch!

Alright, we don’t wanna talk much about this film as it might spoil the fun. You know what, just watch this one. Believe us, it’s gonna give you a moment to remember tonight. Ahem! The film is called ‘Baisakh 12’ and it stars Dinesh G Singer and Sujit Ranjitkar. Written, directed and edited by Kiran Shrestha, this 8-minute-film is definitely your flick for tonight. Enjoy!

Let us know what you think of it.

The post We Want You To Watch This 8-Minute-Film Before You Go To Bed Tonight. Don’t Ask, Just Watch! appeared first on NeoStuffs.

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Eight Strategies We Use for Making Leftovers Great (and Saving Lots of Money in the Process)

Leftovers. You make a meal, your family eats it, and some of it is left behind. Quite often, it’s not nearly as good the second time around, but throwing it away seems wasteful as well. Maybe you just eat a substandard lunch the next day, or perhaps you stuff it in the fridge and forget about it until it’s scary and needs to be tossed.

None of those outcomes are really appealing, are they? Leftovers are kind of the poster child of “depressing frugality,” as it’s a way that people choose something inherently less appealing in order to save a few bucks.

My perspective is a little different. For me, leftovers are a way to save money, sure, but they don’t have to be less appealing or “depressing.” If you use just a bit of advance planning, leftovers turn out to be really good – often as good or better than the original meal.

Here are some of the strategies I use to get a ton of value out of leftovers.

We often intentionally choose meals that make good leftovers.

Chili. Lasagna. Homemade pizza. Shepherd’s pie. Baked mac and cheese. Skillet ragu. Vegetable (or beef) barley soup. All of those are dishes that I prefer when they’re reheated. I love cold pizza, for instance, and I can also reheat it in a skillet with a pinch of water to make the crust really crispy. Reheated chili is just amazing. A big slab of reheated lasagna features flavor melding in a way that just surpasses the original.

Writing that paragraph made me want to intentionally eat some leftovers.

So, during our meal planning, we make it a point to feature leftover-friendly meals. That way, we’re not disappointed to find some leftover baked mac and cheese in the fridge, for example.

We lightly season our side vegetables until they’re on our plate.

Most of the time, we simply steam vegetables to serve as a side dish. We serve them largely plain to our family, then personally season them on the table with additional salt and pepper or with a sauce of some kind.

That way, the leftover vegetables are completely unseasoned and are thus very flexible with whatever you might want to do. You can season them differently for future uses.

Trust me, this is important, and it’s heavily connected to another tip on this list.

We avoid using the microwave for leftovers.

I genuinely believe that the microwave oven is a big reason for the bad reputation for leftovers. Aside from soups, microwaves generally do a disastrous job on leftover foods, breaking down their texture and leaving them mushy.

That’s why I rarely use the microwave for leftovers.

If I have a leftover casserole, like a lasagna, I’ll reheat all of it in the oven. If I have leftover pizza that I want to heat, I’ll reheat it in a covered skillet with a few drops of water in it (this makes the crust wonderful). If I have a leftover skillet meal, I’ll heat it again in a skillet.

You’d be surprised how much better leftovers can be if you keep them out of the microwave oven.

We use lots of additional flavorings.

We regularly have a “leftover buffet” night where we simply take all of the leftovers out of the fridge, heat them up, and serve them as a buffet line for supper. I’ll be the first to admit that not everything on that “leftover buffet” is mouth watering, but what you’ll find on that buffet are some foods that are really good “leftover” foods and other foods that can be jazzed up with condiments and spices.

So, we make sure to put out plenty of condiments and seasonings on our family “leftover buffet.” We put a pepper grinder, a salt shaker, a bottle of ketchup, a bottle of mustard, and some sriracha sauce out for everyone to use.

Condiments and seasonings can really go a long way toward improving the flavor of leftovers, taking something fairly bland and making it quite delicious.

We add a little bit of water when reheating things.

No matter what method we use to reheat something, we add a little bit of water during the reheating process (unless it’s soup, of course).

If we reheat something in the microwave, we’ll put a damp paper towel in the microwave along with the food, which adds moisture to the environment and keeps the food from drying out. If we reheat something in a skillet, we’ll add a few drops of water to the skillet before we add the food. If we reheat something in the oven, we’ll put just a bit of water on the baking tray before we add the food.

This just strictly improves the texture of almost anything you might reheat. It makes the texture of the food much more palatable, without the weird overly dry parts.

We turn leftover pasta into a casserole.

Whenever we have leftover pasta, we avoid putting it in the microwave or even onto the stovetop. Instead, we find an appropriate baking pan – an 8″ by 8″ or a 9″ by 13″ depending on how much we have. We’ll put a bit of olive oil in it to avoid sticking, put the leftovers into the pan and spread them out, and then add just a little bit of water. We’ll also usually put a little bit of cheese on top and then put aluminum foil on top of the pan and bake it at 350 F for, say, fifteen or twenty minutes until everything is warm.

Almost every pasta turns into a pretty solid casserole this way. In fact, because we know we’re making this “leftover pasta casserole,” we’ll often make a fairly large batch of pasta when we’re originally cooking the pasta.

We use leftover breads and tortillas in the skillet.

Whenever we have some extra bread or extra tortillas, we turn them into sandwiches or quesadillas. However, the bread/tortillas are often dry and a bit old, so we get around that by putting a bit of olive oil or butter on the outside of them, putting some fillings inside of them – cheese, leftover sauteed onions, tomatoes, whatever – and then cooking them in a skillet with a nice pinch of water until each side is gently browned.

This can easily transform bread that’s getting close to being tossed into a pretty tasty lunch. The olive oil or butter plus the water turns the overly hard bread into something that’s nicely crispy and the fillings make the whole thing delicious.

We use leftovers to make stock.

Whenever we have unseasoned vegetables or meat scraps (such as beef bones or chicken bones), we save them in a gallon bag in the freezer. When that bag fills up, we’ll dump the bag’s contents into our slow cooker, fill it most of the way with water, and add some appropriate seasonings – usually a handful of peppercorns, some salt, and a few other odds and ends.

Then, we just let it cook all day on low. In the evening, we strain the contents of the slow cooker, saving the liquid, and we put that liquid in the freezer in quart-sized containers.

That liquid is wonderfully useful as the basis for future soups and casseroles. Whenever we make a soup and we have stock in the freezer, we use that stock as part of – or all of – the liquid for the soup. It adds an incredible amount of flavor and character to the soup.

To me, you’re hitting a frugal home run when you use stock made from leftover vegetables to make, say, a vegetable barley soup, which itself makes for tremendous leftovers. You’re getting so much value and use out of the food and all of it is delicious!

Final Thoughts

Leftovers might seem like an unappealing option at times, but the truth is that if you make some smart choices and put a little bit of care into your leftovers, they can be as good as or even better than “first run” food.

Considering that leftovers would otherwise be tossed, using leftovers to make a great meal is a great way to trim your food budget.

The post Eight Strategies We Use for Making Leftovers Great (and Saving Lots of Money in the Process) appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Delegates Who Will Be Representing Nepal At Major International Pageants In 2016

It’s almost ‘that time of the year’ when some of the most prestigious international pageants for men and women start taking place. Here are the six delegates who will be flying to different corners of the world to represent Nepal major pageants this year.

1. Asmi Shrestha

asmi

Photo: Saptahik/Kantipur

One of the most sought after Nepalese model, Asmi Shrestha bagged the title of Miss Nepal World 2016 earlier this year in April. The 5 ft 9 inches tall 23-year-old Business Management graduate will be representing Nepal at the 66th edition of the Miss World pageant that will take place in Washington D.C. on December 20th.

2. Roshni Khatri

roshni-missosology

Photo: M&S VMAG

20-year-old Roshni Khatri had won the title of Miss Nepal Earth 2016 and will be representing Nepal at Miss Earth pageant in Philippines on October 29th this year. The IT student from Lalitpur stands 5ft 10 inches.

3. Barsha Lekhi

barsha

Photo: M&S VMAG

Barsha Lekhi was crowned as Miss Nepal International at the same event. The 23-year-old from Saptari stands 5 ft 9 inches. She will represent Nepal at the 56th edition of Miss International 2016 in Japan on October 27.

4. Anoop Bikram Shahi

anoop-sakar-ojha

Photo: Sakar Ojha

The winner of the 2013 Manhunt International Nepal, Anoop Bikram Shahi is currently taking Nepali cinema by storm. The 31-year-old ‘Bir Bikram’ actor who stands 6’1″ will be flying to China to represent Nepal at Manhunt International this year on 29th October. The pageant will be taking place after a gap of three years as the last edition was held in 2012.

5. Zeenus Lama

zeenus

The winner of Miss Grand Nepal pageant that took place in August this year, Zeenus Lama will be competing with over 80 other delegates from around the world for the title of Miss Grand International 2016. The event will take place in Las Vegas on October 25th. The 24-year-old from Chitwan is a Mass Communication student and works as the Marketing Manager at Organic World & Fair Future.

6. Samikshya Shrestha

samikshya

Samikshya Shrestha who had won the subtitle of Miss Personality at Miss Nepal pageant in 2013 will be representing Nepal at the first edition of Miss Multinational in Davao City, Philippines; scheduled from November 5 to 20. The 24-year-old social activist is the president of Leo Club of Kathmandu Sangam and the brand ambassador of Peace Wave Nepal, an NGO. The under graduate student of Hospitality Management who had finished her diploma in Japanese language and culture in Japan stands 5 ft 7 inches.

#TeamNepal2016 looks pretty awesome to us and we’re hopeful that these delegates will make us proud.

Good Luck, Team Nepal!

Cover Photo Courtesy: eKantipur (Asmi), M&S VMAG (Anoop), Missosology (Roshni & Barsha), Miss Grand Nepal (Zeenus), Miss Multinational Nepal (Samikshya)

The post Delegates Who Will Be Representing Nepal At Major International Pageants In 2016 appeared first on NeoStuffs.

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Five Things You Should Know About Working With a Mortgage Broker

Maybe mortgage broker is a term you’ve heard in your travels, but you’re unsure how it fits in with your plan to buy the home of your dreams. Well, for those just learning about mortgage brokers, good news: You’re probably about to find out that you can get more for your home-buying buck at a lower interest rate.

Mortgage brokers work for you and help you negotiate what can often be a minefield when it comes to financing your home. Here are the top five things you need to know about mortgage brokers.

A Mortgage Broker Is a Middleman Working For You

A mortgage broker’s job can basically be described as a middleman working in your service to find the best mortgage possible. Rather than navigating the morass of mortgage lending on your own, a mortgage broker does it for you. Because they literally do nothing but find mortgages for customers like you, you can rest assured that they know how to find the best mortgage products at the most competitive rates available.

Another thing they do for you? Legwork. There’s tons of paperwork involved in getting a mortgage. The mortgage broker does it all for you. They’re going to apply for loans for you in a compacted time frame that allows you to evaluate several of the products they get in your name.

In general, mortgage brokers differ from loan officers because they work for you, not for lenders.

They Get Paid on Commission

Of course, the fact that they’re working for you means you have to pay them. The standard mortgage broker fee is 1% of the loan, though it’s not unheard of for the mortgage broker to negotiate a no-fee mortgage for you. In this case, “no fee” would mean you wouldn’t be paying for their services  — the bank would.

If you pay a loan origination fee, you’re going to have to come up with that cash at closing. Otherwise, the fee might be rolled into the loan — which means “no fee” mortgage brokers tend to cost more over the life of the loan, because you’re paying interest on it for years.

A Mortgage Broker Is Sort of Like a Loan Concierge

That 1% fee might be a bitter pill to swallow, but consider the following: Not only might they save you money on the life of the mortgage by negotiating a lower interest rate, they’re also valuable when it comes to processing the loan.

You’re going to get way more attention from a mortgage broker than you will from a bank’s loan officer. What’s more, they’re going to do a lot of the stickier work of getting a loan that you’d gladly pay someone to do on your behalf. And in some cases, the broker might work exclusively with a handful of banks, allowing them access to special rates and perks that you won’t get on your own.

Besides the Fee, There’s Not Much Downside

Paying 1% of your loan — that’s $2,000 on a $200,000 mortgage — to cover the cost of a mortgage broker is certainly a bummer. But everything worth something comes at a price, and a good mortgage broker can make your life easier and recoup the fee (or more) by finding a better mortgage rate than you might on your own. And if you struggle with the complexities of what is a pretty complicated industry, a good mortgage broker can help you avoid mistakes and steer you in the right direction.

Still, the more ambitious home buyers out there could act as their own DIY mortgage brokers, researching rates and terms and getting quotes from five or more banks and lenders, whether in person or online. It just takes an awful lot of hustle at a time when many people are already stretched thin from a grueling house hunt.

In addition to the cost, there are a couple of other minor downsides. As we mentioned above, a mortgage broker might only work with a small network of lenders. In that case, you won’t get access to deals that might exist outside that small network. And many lenders have stopped working with mortgage brokers in the wake of the 2007-2009 housing bust, preferring to keep their loan business in house.

Referrals Are the Best Way to Find One

The best way to find a mortgage broker is to ask friends and family who have had a good experience. Don’t just go with an old frat buddy of theirs. Instead, listen to people who have actually worked with mortgage brokers in the past. See what they have to say about their experience. You’ll want to know about the broker’s level of service and communication style. Your real estate agent can be another great resource when it comes to picking the right mortgage broker. Interview three brokers before you make a decision.

While there’s no magic to what a mortgage broker does – and you could do much of it yourself if you’re motivated to – they can help you save money over the years, stretching your home buying dollars further. If you’re in the market for a mortgage, it’s worth at least exploring this avenue before jumping into a 30-year loan from your local bank.

Related Articles:

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Best Business Line of Credit for 2016

Getting a business line of credit is often a good idea to help manage your cash flow, deal with business expenses, and even invest in long-term growth plans. Unlike a business loan, however — in which you lock in to borrowing and paying interest on a set amount — a business line of credit allows you to borrow up to a certain limit, but only pay interest on the amount you actually borrow. So, how do you know which business line of credit lender is best for you?

The answer is going to be determined by your individual financial goals (what you need the money for and how much); your credit score; your annual revenue; the number of years you’ve been in business; and a few other factors too. The good news is that there are great business line of credit options out there for just about anyone.

The Simple Dollar’s Top Picks for Best Business Line of Credit

  • Best for New Businesses with Decent Credit and Strong Revenues: OnDeck
  • Best for New Businesses with Decent Credit and Small Borrowing Needs: StreetShares
  • Best for New Businesses with Lower Credit Scores: Kabbage
  • Best for Established Businesses with Strong Credit Scores: Lending Club
  • Honorable Mention: Lendio

How I Found the Best Business Line of Credit Lenders

You may notice that all of my choices for Best Business Line of Credit are platform lenders — also known as “alternative lenders” or “online lenders.” Banks are a major source of business lines of credit too, of course, and if you can get a good deal from your bank, that’s often the best place to start looking for a line of credit. But many business owners cannot get approved by a bank, need cash fast and don’t have time to wait for a bank loan approval to go through, or can’t get the right amount of money from a bank. That’s why my top picks are all platform lenders; they offer just about any small company a chance to receive a business line of credit, and on good terms.

To determine which online lenders offered the best business line of credit, I first looked at the following criteria:

  • Lender reputation
  • Funding amount limits
  • Minimum credit requirements
  • Time in business/revenue requirements
  • Funding speed/convenience
  • APR and fees
  • Repayment terms

After comparing each online lender’s attributes in these key areas, I then used the information to determine the best business line of credit lender for the most common user groups.

The Best Business Lines of Credit Lenders

Best for New Businesses with Decent Credit and Strong Revenues

Learn More on OnDeck.com's secure website

OnDeck Highlights


  • Credit Limit:
    $100,000
  • APR Range:
    14-40%
  • Minimum Credit Score:
    500

OnDeck approves line of credit limits of up to $100,000 for borrowers with a credit score of 500 or more (most OnDeck customers have a credit score of 675 or higher), at least nine months in business, no bankruptcies in the past two years, and annual business revenues of at least $75,000. OnDeck provides relatively fast cash, disbursing funds within a few days, or sometimes as quickly as within 24 hours. OnDeck’s line of credit APRs range from 14-40%, with an average APR of 29.99%. There is a $20 monthly account maintenance fee, but you can have this fee waived for six months if you borrow $5,000 or more within the first five days of opening your line of credit account.

OnDeck requires lines of credit to be repaid weekly with automatic deductions from your business bank account — but you have flexibility for how much money you pay back per week, and you can pay off the full balance at any time with no extra fees.

If your business needs quick cash and you can handle the weekly repayments (for example: if you’re running a retail business or a restaurant with steady sales, and you need a quick infusion of capital to buy inventory or cover temporary expenses), OnDeck will likely be your best choice.

If your business tends to have slow receivables and uneven cash flow, however, (like if you’re a freelance graphic designer whose invoices get paid on 30- to 60-day terms), then OnDeck’s weekly repayments might not be the best fit for your overall cash flow. In that case, I’d recommend trying Kabbage or Lending Club instead.

Who it’s good for: New business owners with decent credit and strong revenues, or more established business owners (OnDeck’s typical customer has been in business for nine years).

Who should pass: More established businesses that can qualify for lower APRs; businesses that need bigger credit limits than $100,000; business owners with credit scores lower than 600 (although OnDeck says it will consider a minimum credit score of 500); businesses on the OnDeck restricted industry list.

Best for New Businesses with Decent Credit and Small Borrowing Needs

Learn More on StreetShares.com's secure website

StreetShares Highlights


  • Credit Limit:
    20% of your annual revenue, up to $100,000
  • APR Range:
    9-40%
  • Minimum Credit Score:
    600

StreetShares was founded by US military veterans with the goal of encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship by other veterans and military spouses, but all business owners, veterans and non-veterans, are welcome to apply. It offers business lines of credit starting from $5,000 up to $100,000 to companies that have been in business for at least one year, with annual revenues of at least $25,000, plus a credit score of 600 or more. StreetShares will also lend to even younger companies (as few as six months in business) if you have $100,000 in annual revenue. APRs range from 9-40% and funds are disbursed within one to five days.

Your maximum credit limit with StreetShares is determined by calculating 20 percent of your total annual revenue — so if you have $150,000 in annual revenue, your maximum limit on a line of credit would be $30,000. Borrowers cannot have had any bankruptcies within the past three years, and cannot have any current tax liens or collections (unless you can provide documentation to explain the situation).

Like OnDeck, StreetShares requires automatic weekly repayments, so if your business has uneven cash flow (e.g., if you’re regularly waiting on your invoices to get paid), it probably won’t be your best option. Try Kabbage or Lending Club instead.

Who it’s good for: Business owners who are US military veterans, as well as new business owners with decent credit and high revenues, or who only need to borrow relatively small amounts of money.

Who should pass: Fast-growing businesses that need to borrow larger amounts, or that do not have good credit. StreetShares is currently not available for business owners in North Dakota and South Dakota.

Best for New Businesses With Lower Credit Scores

Kabbage is one of the fastest and most flexible platform lenders, disbursing cash within minutes to qualified borrowers. It offers line of credit amounts from $2,000 to $100,000, and, unlike our other top picks, does not require any minimum personal credit score. Because of this, it will likely be your best option if you have bad credit, your business is still in startup mode, or if you sell products online.

Kabbage uses alternative indicators to evaluate your creditworthiness, such as eCommerce sales and shipping data — things traditional banks don’t take into consideration, but nevertheless affect your ability to repay borrowed money. Kabbage requires borrowers to have been in business for at least one year and to have $50,000 or more in annual revenue, however. Borrowed money can be repaid within six to 12 months, with APRs ranging from 32-108%.

Who it’s good for: New businesses or business owners with bad credit, and businesses that need small amounts of money (lines of credit starting at $2,000) — although, Kabbage does also provide lines of credit up to $100,000.

Who should pass: More established businesses with better credit scores that can qualify for lower APRs elsewhere, and businesses that need credit limits over $100,000.

DISCLOSURE — I work as a freelance blog writer for Kabbage, but it did not pay me to write this article and it was not involved in its creation. I have personally interviewed many small-business owners who are customers of Kabbage and I know that Kabbage’s product can be a great help for business owners who need fast, convenient access to working capital.

Best for Established Businesses With Strong Credit Scores

Learn More on LendingClub.com's secure website

Lending Club Highlights


  • Credit Limit:
    $300,000
  • APR Range:
    6.25-21.85% (variable)
  • Minimum Credit Score:
    600

Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace where business owners can get a line of credit by borrowing from individual investors. From the borrower’s perspective, Lending Club essentially works the same as the other platform lenders, but instead of borrowing money from a finance company, you’re using a non-bank “peer-to-peer” alternative model for borrowing. In this model, a collection of individual people directly decide to invest in your company by funding your line of credit, and then you repay their investment with your loan repayments. It’s kind of like “crowdfunding,” but instead of asking people to just give you money, you’re asking them to lend you money, and you agree to repay them with interest so they can see a return on their investment, just as if you were borrowing from a bank.

Lending Club offers business lines of credit ranging from $5,000 to $300,000, and requires a minimum of two years of business history, at least $75,000 in annual revenue, and a personal credit score of 600 or more with no recent bankruptcies or tax liens. You must repay any money borrowed within 25 months, and you need to offer collateral for lines of credit over $100,000.

Lending Club’s lines of credit have variable rates from 6.25- 21.85%, with an average rate of 15.08% for lines of credit in the last 12 months, ending May 15, 2016. (Averages are based on a one-year offer.)

Who it’s good for: Established businesses with decent credit scores.

Who should pass: Younger businesses with lower credit scores or annual revenues under $75,000. Lending Club loans are currently not available to residents of Iowa.

Best Business Line of Credit At A Glance

Lender Borrowing Limits Credit Requirements Annual Percentage Rate (APR) Repayment Terms
OnDeck Up to $100,000 Minimum credit score of 500

At least 9 months in business and $75,000 in annual revenue
14-40% Weekly repayments required

No prepayment fees

$20 monthly account maintenance fee
StreetShares $5,000 to $100,000;
maximum line of credit is limited to 20% of your annual revenue
Minimum credit score of 600

At least 1 year In business and $25,000 in annual revenue
9-40% Weekly repayments required

No prepayment fees
Kabbage $2,000 to $100,000 No minimum credit score

At least 1 year in business and $50,000 in annual revenue
32-108% 6-12 months
Lending Club $5,000 to $300,000 Minimum credit score of 600

At least 2 years in business and $75,000 in annual revenue
Variable rates from 6.25-21.85% 25 months

Collateral required for lines of credit over $100,000

Best Business Line of Credit Honorable Mention

Learn More on Lendio.com's secure website

Lendio is not actually a financing company — it does not provide loans. Instead, Lendio is an online marketplace for lending that connects small-business owners with alternative lenders (“platform lenders” — including some of the ones featured in this article) and lets you compare rates, fees, and details to find the right loan or line of credit for you, based on your qualifications and parameters.

Lendio has an easy-to-use interface that quickly brings up lots of options for loans and lines of credit, depending on the amounts of money that you want to borrow and other details that you select. Its platform uses machine learning to quickly match business owners with lenders, and then you can apply to multiple lenders at once with a single application. Lenders then compete for your business, and you can choose the loan with the best rate and terms. It’s a good way to quickly get an overview of the various line of credit options that are available to you, while saving time and ensuring that you get the best possible deal on a line of credit.

Why Get a Business Line of Credit?

A business line of credit combines some of the advantages of both a term loan and a business credit card — it tends to offer a higher credit limit than a credit card (for example, depending on the lender, you can borrow up to $100,000, $200,000, $500,000 or more), but generally offers lower interest rates than a credit card. A business line of credit, like a credit card, is a revolving credit account — so you can borrow as much or as little as you want (within your predetermined credit limit), and then you usually have the option to pay off the debt as quickly as you like (as long as you meet your minimum payments and uphold other requirements of your agreement with the lender).

In general, business lines of credit tend to have lower interest rates and higher credit limits than a credit card, but more flexibility than a business loan. Lines of credit also tend to be unsecured — meaning you don’t have to put up collateral and risk losing your house or car or other property if the loan cannot be repaid.

Other Ways to Obtain Working Capital

Business Loans

traditional business loan, also known as a “business term loan,” is a loan for a specific amount of money, paid off over a specific “term” of time, usually with fixed monthly payments and a fixed interest rate. Term loans are typically used for one-time purchases, such as buying business equipment, real estate (land and buildings, etc.), or making other capital investments in the business. Business term loans are often secured loans — meaning the lender gets added “security” for the money it loans to you in the form of collateral, such as real estate or other business property. Secured term loans typically offer the lowest interest rates, however — generally lower than either business lines of credit or business credit cards. One disadvantage of a term loan is that they have to be repaid each month in the same amount — so if you ever have a cash flow crunch, you could be in trouble if you fail to make your monthly loan payment in full.

While a business term loan is often best for one-time investments or major purchases, a business line of credit is typically the best financial solution for ongoing purchases or expenses of varying amounts — such as buying inventory, making payroll while waiting for client payments to arrive, dealing with seasonal cash flow shortfalls, or other short-term outflows. A business line of credit gives you flexibility to deal with various financial challenges or investment opportunities (new product development, new inventory purchases, etc.) throughout the year.

Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards work just like personal credit cards, but they are in the name of (and build credit history for) your business. Business credit cards are typically unsecured debt — meaning there is no collateral backing up your loan — so the bank is able to charge you higher interest rates for it. Many small business credit cards have a limit of $10,000 or less; although, this can be negotiated with your bank. They are a revolving credit account, which means they give you the flexibility to pay off as much or as little of your debt each month as you choose, and you can borrow as much or as little as you want, up to the credit limit. One reason why business owners often seek a line of credit is that their business credit cards do not have a high enough borrowing limit, and they need to borrow more money than what a business credit card can offer in order to expand.

If you are a solopreneur and your borrowing needs are simple and can be met with a smaller credit limit, you might be perfectly fine just using a business credit card instead of opening a line of credit. As Meredith Wood, director of education at Fundera, explains: “Ask yourself if a line of credit is the right product for you. While it is always nice to have a line of credit on hand, you could have a business credit card that serves that purpose. Depending on what you need the money for, a term loan might be easier to qualify for and more affordable. If it’s a one-time investment you’re wanting to make, look at term loans first.”

How About Getting a Business Line of Credit Through My Bank?

If you’re running your own business, you’re already working with a bank or credit union. So why not just get a business line of credit from your bank? You certainly can, but know that there can be a few pitfalls involved, especially for small or newer businesses.

Oftentimes, banks won’t offer a line of credit or small business loan to a young company, or a new startup that doesn’t have a well-established business credit history. As Wood says, “A bank line of credit is one of the hardest products to get, and we’ve seen a lot of banks pulling lines of credit from their customers.” She advises to “start first with where you bank, but if you can’t qualify for a bank line of credit, which is very hard for the average small-business owner to do, you can look online, shopping with a marketplace.”

Brian Smith, SVP of small business banking at Capital One, explains: “There may be an upside to working with a bank you have a relationship with already. At Capital One, we reward loyalty and long-term customer relationships with special offers, so it’s worth looking into that as well. Of course it’s always prudent to come prepared to a meeting with a banker. Be sure to understand and communicate the need for the line of credit, cash flow impacts to your business, and how you intend to use it. This level of communication will convey a deeper trust in your banking relationship and help a banker provide tailored recommendations for a business. For example, being able to describe the timing of your cash flow, the vendor discounts available, the sales cycle, and how you will use the line of credit to leverage those, thereby increasing profitability, will set you apart from the crowd.”

Stephanie Travis, owner of Cash Flow Signals, an accounting and cash flow management consulting company, says that even if you can’t get a line of credit right away, it pays to be creative when you’re trying to get a business line of credit from a bank. She says, “I’ve seen a situation where the borrower had a Certificate of Deposit (CD) at the bank. The lender wanted the borrower to open up an installment loan secured by the CD. With that, the lender then agreed to a line of credit. So, ask the bank what types of combinations of loans and cash security would get a good deal. Also, consider dealing with a local bank that has a loan officer with local authority. For example, I was able to get an unsecured $15,000 loan with just the local bank guy’s approval. I knew him from business networking around town. It was pretty unusual that it was unsecured. But he had power to lend money at low amounts locally.”

Also, keep in mind that even if you get approved for a business line of credit from a bank, that doesn’t mean your borrowing needs are covered forever. Sometime in the future, the bank might decide to re-evaluate your credit line and reduce your available credit, at its own discretion, for reasons beyond your control. According to a National Small Business Association Survey cited by SBA.gov, as of 2014, “29 percent of small-business owners report having their lines of credit reduced in the last four years, and nearly one in 10 had their line of credit called in early by the bank.” So even if you get a small business line of credit approved from your bank today, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a permanent solution — you might find yourself needing to look for other options in case your bank cancels or reduces your credit line.

The Bottom Line

If you need working capital for your business, first talk to your bank — it might be able to cut you a deal on a business line of credit that you couldn’t find elsewhere. But if you need cash more quickly than a bank can approve your application, or if your business has poor credit or nonexistent credit history, try one of the platform lenders I recommended. Depending on your credit score, business history, and business goals, one of these lenders will be able to provide you with the business line of credit that’s right for you.

 

The post Best Business Line of Credit for 2016 appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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