10 Signs That You Have Too Much Debt

10 Signs That You Have Too Much Debt

There is a difference between “good debt” and “bad debt.” However, how do you know when it becomes a problem? If you have any of these habits, then it may be a sign that you have too much debt.

10 Signs That You Have Too Much Debt

1. You aren’t saving any money.

Learning to save money is the first lesson in money management. It’s an important skill for both your immediate needs and long-term financial goals. Therefore, you should be putting a little away every month in your emergency fund, retirement, or other savings accounts.

However, if you aren’t able to put any money into savings, this is a sign that you have bigger problems than making it til the end of the month. For those who struggle to save, it’s time to evaluate your budget and spending habits. You must learn to live below your means to avoid going further into debt.

2. Credit cards cover all your expenses.

Another sign that you have too much debt is if you rely on credit cards to cover all your expenses. Credit cards can help you build your credit history, but they can also ruin your finances if you don’t know how to use them.

Unfortunately, this debt carries the highest interest rates, usually above 20%. In the end, you pay more in interest fees, it negatively impacts your credit score, and it could affect your ability to obtain loans. So, it’s wise to only use them if you can pay off the balances every month or as a last resort when there is an emergency. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for financial failure.

3. You only make the minimum monthly payments.

Many people are not concerned about their debt as long as they can make their payments each month. However, if you’re only making the minimum payments, you’ll never get out of debt. Their fees are designed to keep you locked in the debt cycle, sometimes paying double the principal in interest fees.

Most advisors will tell you to prioritize paying down these debts. If you aren’t able to pay off your balance each cycle, then put as much toward the principal as you can. But if you never pay more than the minimum, it could keep you buried in debt for years to come.

4. It has become a habit to use one credit card to make payments on the others.

Balance transfer offers can be an effective way to eliminate interest fees and pay down debt. But, you shouldn’t rely on credit cards to stay afloat. Furthermore, you don’t want to take on new debts to pay off outstanding ones. So, if you are rotating balances between credit cards, it’s a red flag that you have too much debt.

Making payments with one credit card for another is a delicate balancing act. This isn’t a gamble you want to take with your future.

5. Your credit cards are maxed out.

It’s embarrassing when a card is declined at the point of sale or you have to pull out another card to pay. Although it does happen occasionally, it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. If your credit cards are maxed out, it could indicate that your spending is out of control.

When your credit cards are consistently maxed out, it increases your credit utilization which lowers your credit score. There is also a greater risk of defaulting on your payments and having them sent to collections. It will also make it difficult to obtain a loan when you need one.

6. You have had several cash advances.

Cash advances can save you in an emergency. But, they are possibly the least beneficial way to use your credit card. In addition to the high fees and interest rates, they leave you with less money in the end.

If you have had several cash advances in recent months, this most likely means that you need a better system to manage your money. Start an emergency fund or seek a financial advisor so unexpected expenses and poor spending habits don’t hold you back.

7. Your total debt is more than half your income.

Your debt-to-income ratio is an important factor in your finances. It provides a tangible measurement of how much debt you carry in comparison to how much you make. A high ratio is one of the clearest signs that you have too much debt.

Creditors look for a ratio of less than 36% when they offer loans or lines of credit. But the lower the ratio, the better. So if yours is half your income, it will be nearly impossible to obtain funding. It also leaves you with less flexibility in your finances since your income is tied up in debt repayment. The only way to address this issue is to lower your debt-to-income ratio and get out of the debt stranglehold.

8. Lenders deny your application.

Credit applications get rejected for many reasons. But if you are regularly getting turned down by lenders, it’s time to figure out why.

Look into your credit history to ensure that are no errors or inaccurate information that are impacting your score. However, if it is the result of poor financial management and bad spending habits, seek expert advice to make a plan and help you improve your situation.

9. There are several creditors and agencies calling to collect.

Mistakes happen and bills sometimes go unpaid. When this occurs, creditors will call to collect after enough missed payments. But, you don’t want to make a habit of having your bills go to collections.

If you have several creditors and collection agencies trying to contact you, it’s a serious sign that you need help. But, you shouldn’t ignore the problem or avoid their calls. In fact, you might be surprised at how flexible that can be. Most are willing to work with you by setting up a payment plan, negotiating the interest rate, or settling for a lower lump sum payment. You don’t need to live in fear of answering the phone or letting your debt control your life.

10. You don’t know how much debt you carry.

Most people know when they have too much debt. However, the difference lies in how you choose to handle it. Do you have a plan to become debt free? Or, have you given up and expect to be in debt for the rest of your life?

Your situation may seem hopeless when you are drowning in debt, but you have to start somewhere. It’s hard to face the truth, but there are financial advisors and debt relief agencies that are ready to help. You don’t have to resign yourself to your situation, but you have to be willing to take the first steps to make a change.

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The S&P Has Entered a New Bull Market

The S&P has entered a new bull market.
The bear market of the S&P is officially over, but many economic headwinds still persist.

The S&P has entered a new bull market. The index has officially risen 20% since its lows in October of 2022. The bear market started in January of 2022 when the S&P set a record high and ended on October 12 when it bottomed out 25.4% lower.

Bear Market Over

The markets began to fall as worries about inflation mounted. The Feds response to economic conditions led to a swift rise in interest rates. This added to the pain as certain sectors of the economy became stressed. The banking industry was particularly hard hit, as we saw the folding of some major banks in recent months.

This Bear Market  was milder than most, lasting 9 months, The average since 1950 has lasted 13 months and has seen drops in market prices by over 34%.

The thinking is that the mild nature of this bear market can be attributed to the avoidance of a recession. A stubbornly strong labor market has kept consumers spending and has thus far kept the economy growing.

Not so Fast

Is this bear market really over? Technically it is, at least by the official definition. But we are far from out of the woods. The Fed may not be done raising rates, and it is expected that other sectors of the economy could start to crack like the banking industry recently has.

Many economists are saying that we are at the tail end of a relief rally and that we could soon retest market lows. Only a handful of companies have been responsible for recent market runs, most of them concentrated in the tech sector.

So, while the bear market may officially have ended, there are still a lot of market headwinds that could keep the indexes range bound for some time.

If we are in fact entered a new bull market, then they tend to stay around for a while. The average since 1932 is 5 years with average returns of 177%.


The S&P has entered a new bull market. As of the market’s close today the index officially rose over 20% from the lows of October 2022. Many economic headwinds still exist, and the indexes may have trouble making additional gains, but coming out of a bear market is at least some positive news.

Read Also:

Why has the Stock Market Been So Resilient in 2023?

Retail Investors are Investing a Record Amount of Money into the Markets

Understanding the Power of Dividend Kings

What Stocks Should You Invest in During a Recession?

This post was originally published on this site

How to Strengthen Your Four Walls of Budgeting

How to Strengthen Your Four Walls of Budgeting

When you are in debt, it may feel like you are digging yourself deeper with every dollar you spend. And as the bills start mounting and collection agencies are pressuring you to pay, it’s easy to panic and forget your priorities. However, knowing the four walls of budgeting can help remind you what is most important in your budget. So if you are having a hard time making ends meet, here are a few ways you can strengthen your four walls of budgeting and get closer to your financial goals.

What Are the Four Walls of Budgeting?

Dave Ramsay describes the four walls of budgeting as the essential things in your budget that you need to survive. Like the four walls of your home, these four categories represent the things you need to sustain the bare minimum standards of living.

But, the amount you spend and the definition of each wall will vary from person to person. So you have to identify them within your own budget. However, here is a basic guideline of what each wall represents.

1. Food

Humans are animals, and our bodies need fuel to function. This category should include all the food with the essential nutrition that your body needs. When tallying these expenses, you should include all your expenses for food.

2. Shelter

The second wall of budgeting deals with our basic need for shelter. This category covers all the expenses to keep the roof over your head and the lights on. For most of us, this will incorporate the largest portion of the budget.

The general guideline suggests that 30% of your income pays for housing. In addition to your monthly mortgage or rent payment, there are also property taxes, utilities, maintenance, and repairs and repair costs to consider as well.

3. Clothing

The third wall represents the basic clothing items you need in your daily life. This should account for formal and business attire at work, footwear, winter apparel, undergarments, and any other clothing items you wear from day to day.

4. Transportation

The final wall of budgeting has a great deal of variation depending on where you live. Transportation covers the amount you need to get from Point A to Point B. In some places, there is no other option than to own a vehicle. However, this comes with significant costs such as registration, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and gas.

Those who live in urban areas with modern public transit have the luxury of more options to fit the budget. Most cities have buses, trains,  or subway systems that offer monthly passes for minimal fees. Some people may even be able to ride a bike or walk to save even more.

How Do You Strengthen Your Four Walls of Budgeting?

If you want to strengthen your four walls of budgeting, you have two options: earn more income or decrease your spending. While the answer is cut-and-dried, the way to achieve it is more fluid.

Bring in More Income

The easiest way to strengthen your four walls of budgeting is by bringing in more income. These are the easiest ways to make that happen.

    • Ask for a raise. If you had a good performance this year, then asking for a raise may be well received. Try to time your request after a big win or the completion of a successful project. And, you will probably have a better chance to get it if you do it before they determine the annual budget.
    • Go for a promotion. Another option is to go for a higher-paying position. So, if you are willing to take on more responsibility, then why not get paid to do it? Start looking for positions within your company to advance your career and your savings goals.
    • Look for a second job or side hustle. Many people look for ways to bring in extra cash around the holidays You could bring in more income with seasonal work, a second job, or starting a side hustle in your spare time.
    • Find ways to generate passive income. My personal choice is to put your money to work for you. Look for investments that generate passive income to support your budget.

Reduce Your Expenses

For those who have no way of earning more money, the only option is to reduce your spending. If trimming the budget is the only way to strengthen your walls, here are a few ways that have worked for me, even on a bare-bones budget.

    • Food – The best way to reduce your food bill is to stop dining out and prepare you food at home. You can also use coupons, buy off-brand items, buy in bulk, and save more with discount shopping clubs.
    • Shelter – If the timing is right, refinancing your mortgage could save you on interest. However, you can also save money by finding cheaper accommodations or downsizing. Another idea is to look for a roommate or renter to split expenses if space allows.
    • Clothing – Since I live in athletic wear, my clothing costs are minimal. I avoid designer brands and prefer to items second-hand to save money.
    • Transportation – Choosing to sell a car or trade it in for one with a lower monthly payment is a tough decision. There are tons of ways to save on gas and car insurance, but it is a major expense. If you have to eliminate it completely public transportation, riding a bike, or walking when possible could save your budget.

Beyond the Four Walls

The four walls are a great starting point for anyone learning to live on a limited budget. However, there are other essential costs that you will need to tailor to your situation. For example, those of us who work from home must have reliable internet and cell phone service. Those with children will need childcare. And, all of us will require healthcare services at some point. Although you may be able to live without them temporarily, it’s not a long-term solution.

There is no single answer for strengthening your four walls of budgeting. Ultimately, it comes down to whatever method will help you stick to your budget. You may have to try several different approached before you find one that sticks. But, if you have determination and self-discipline, you can strengthen your walls and build a solid foundation for your future.

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What are Some Stocks That Have Consistently Paid Dividends?

What are some stocks that have consistently paid dividends?
Some companies have paid dividends for well over 100 years and counting.

What are some stocks that have consistently paid dividends? If you are a fan of dividend stocks and enjoy the income that they provide, then looking to stocks with a long track record of payouts should be at least a part of what you look to invest in. Here are some of the longest running dividend payers that are currently out there.

Dividend Kings

One of the best places to look for long-term dividend payers is to analyze stocks on the Dividend Kings list. What is a dividend king? Simply, a dividend king is a company that has raised its dividend payout for at least 50 consecutive years.

Keep in mind that the list of dividend kings does change, and nothing is guaranteed, but any company that has weathered the ups and downs in the company for at least a half century is worth further analysis.

There are currently 46 companies on the list of dividend kings. Here are the longest payers on that list.

American States Water

American States Water (AWR) is a holding company that has segments in water, electricity, and contracted services. Operating out of California, this company has been raising its dividend for the past 67 years. The current yield is 1.76% with a share price around $90.

Northwest Natural

Northwest Natural (AWR) is another holding company that provides natural gas services in Oregon and Washington states. They also provide some water and wastewater services. In a tie for first place, this company has also been raising their dividend payout for the past 67 years. Currently, the stock is trading around $45 per share and is yielding 4.35%.

Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble (PG) is a household name selling packaged products across multiple segments in over 180 countries. Their product lines are in health and beauty, grooming, fabric and home, baby, feminine, and family care. With a 66-year track record of increasing their dividend payout they are worth a look. Currently, the company has a share price of $152 per share with a yield of 2.48%.

Long Running Payers

Remember, for a stock to be a dividend king it needs to have at least a 50-year track record of raising its dividend payments. But not all companies raise their payments annually. As a result, there are companies out there with a much longer history of making dividend payments. Here are a few to consider.

York Water

York Water (YORW) is a water utility company operating water purification, wastewater treatment, and water distribution in the state of Pennsylvania. The company holds the title of the longest running continual annual payer of dividends. It has been paying its dividend consistently since 1816, or the past 207 years.

Not many people have heard of this company due to its small size, but it may be worth a look if consistent and reliable payment are what you are after. The secret to York’s success is its business model. Water usage doesn’t change much no matter what economic conditions are, so the company has been able to weather nearly every possible scenario with consistent payouts. The stock is currently trading around $43 per share and is yielding 1.88%.


ExxonMobil (XOM) is an energy company primarily engaged in the exploration and extraction of oil and gas. Originally known as Standard Oil, the company has been paying a dividend since 1882 or over 140 years.

The company has been able to navigate over a century of economic booms and busts by owning processes both upstream and downstream in the oil and gas industries. This allows it to control inputs and outputs better than some of its peers, which in turn creates a stable business unit. Currently, the stock trades at $105 per share and yields 3.47%.


What are some stocks that have consistently paid dividends? A good place to start is by studying stocks that are considered dividend kings. Another good place to look for long-term payers is to simply look at companies with long track records of consistently paying dividends. As always, do your own research before investing in anything. Just because a company has paid a dividend for a long time doesn’t mean that it will continue to do so.

Read Also:

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Dividend Investing

5 Dividend Paying Stocks Under $10

Understanding the Power of Dividend Kings

Anton Kreil’s Guide to Successful Stock Trading

Need a new investing idea? Consider Checking Out Tradeking’s Summary of TQQQ.

This post was originally published on this site

What is the Debt Ceiling?

What is the debt ceiling?
Time is running out to raise the debt ceiling.

What is the debt ceiling? If you’ve been watching the news, then talks about the debt ceiling have been front and center. But what is it exactly, and why is it so important? Here is an overview.

The Debt Ceiling Explained

The Debt Limit  is a ceiling imposed by Congress. It is the maximum amount of debt that the government can have outstanding. The last limit was set at $28.4 trillion back on August 1 of 2021.

When the limit is reached the government can no longer take on additional debt and must draw on cash on hand or on incoming revenue to continue funding its obligations.

The government is currently set to hit the debt limit as early as June 1st. If the limit is reached before being raised, then many are predicting a “catastrophe.”


There are several consequences that could occur if the government fails to raise the debt limit. Near term social security benefits and payments to government employees would be delayed. Next, the government would not be able to service its debt or pay interest to bondholders. US debt is sold as bonds and securities to investors, corporations, and other governments. Defaulting would cause the US credit rating to drop, and interest rates to spike.

Defaulting could provoke a sell-off of US debt which could spread to other areas of the economy. Look for federal benefits from programs such as SSI, SNAP, Medicare, and Medicaid to be suspended or delayed.

The stock market could crash as the debt rating of the US is downgraded A run on banks may also ensue as depositors rush to withdraw their money.

Lending instruments would see a spike in rates, so if you have credit card or other variable rate debt expect the interest rate to rise. Applying for a mortgage or auto loan will could also become more difficult, as lenders may require higher credit scores. Lenders may also cut credit limits on credit cards or close out unused accounts.

Mortgage rates could rise as much as 2% points, which would strain an already faltering housing market.

If you are expecting a tax refund, then it may be delayed in the event of a default.

If a default should occur, and the credit rating of the US is in fact downgraded, then encouraging parties to take on US debt could be harder looking forward. This could make future funding more difficult.

Time is Running Out

As the clock ticks closer to June 1st, our leaders are running out of time to secure a deal that will raise the debt limit and avoid a default.

A deal appears to be getting closer, but the two sides are still billions of dollars apart and many issues are still being debated.

Let’s hope our elected officials can work out the details and strike a deal soon.

What is the debt ceiling? Simply put, it is the amount of debt that the government can have outstanding. More than that, it has far reaching implications into every area of the economy.

Read Also:

What The Retirement Crisis Means for You

Mortgage Rates are Pushing Towards 7%

Why has the Stock Market Been So Resilient in 2023?

Buying a House in Today’s Market

This post was originally published on this site

How Can You Penetrate the Booming Beard Care Market?

Steps To Penetrate the Booming Beard Care Product Market

Concepts about masculinity and male hygiene have drastically changed in the last few decades. Thanks to changing social ideas as well as celebrity influence, there has been a shift in public opinions about men’s personal care. As a result, men are spending more money on grooming and beard care products. With more global demand from both individual and commercial consumers, there will also be new investment opportunities. But, how can you penetrate the booming beard care market?

Expanding the Market with Beard Care Products

As of 2021, the global market for men’s grooming products was valued at $74.8 billion dollars. However, market analysts expect there to be a huge uptick in global sales that will vastly expand the market. With a projected CAGR of 6.58% by 2030, most experts agree that the market will reach a value closer to $132.73 billion by 2030.

While this brings significant investment opportunities, there are a few things you should know before you change you investing strategy.

Changing Attitudes

Men are becoming more aware of the importance of total body care and being well-groomed, especially in professional settings. Social trends that have also made facial hair more stylish and less shabby are also helping to drive market growth. In addition to the growing personal demands, the presence of more male salons has also created new opportunities.

Introduction of New Products

Another contributing factor has been that companies are taking a broader approach to personal grooming beyond shaving. By introducing new products, other companies have the potential to capture more of the market share. Therefore, many are stimulating market expansion with new beard care products.

For example, many companies have developed new electric shavers and razors that utilize cutting-edge technology. There are also different products for new trimming techniques as well as new beard care products to moisturize, sculpt, and maintain them.

Market Restraints

However, monopolies and brand loyalty put significant restraints on market growth. There is little room for competition among the leading brands, so it’s hard for new startups to break into the market. These monopolies also discourage venture capitalists and private equity firms from investing. When companies like Gillett hold 50% of the market share for shaving products, making headway becomes even more challenging.

Furthermore, people also have fierce brand loyalty. It’s hard to attract new customers since they have relied on these products for most of their adult lives. But with growing restrictions on the chemicals and ingredients that are allowed in beard care products, it could create new opportunities within the beard care market.

Considers Before Investing in the Beard Care Market

While there may be new opportunities, it can be difficult to identify how investors can penetrate the booming beard care market. Here are a few things to consider if you are looking to invest in companies that develop, distribute, or sell beard care products.

1. There is greater demand for beard care products with e-commerce.

Although convenience stores still hold the largest market share, younger consumers rely more on e-commerce and online shopping. Not only is it easier for people who are too busy to shop in person, but they can also find more information about what products are available and best suited for their needs.

Online retailers like Nykaa are looking to tap into billion-dollar markets by developing a line for men in India. Based on their current performance, men’s grooming products are one of the fastest-growing platforms for the company and are projected to contribute 10% of the total revenue this year. It won’t be long until other online retailers realize this potential and put more resources and products that are targeted toward regional e-commerce.

2. Market analysts predict the skin care segment of men’s grooming products will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% by 2030.

As previously mentioned, there are several segments of the beard care market that show significant growth. However, skin care has shown the highest growth rate. As e-commerce gains a stronger foothold, market analysts predict that the market will yield about a 6.58% CAGR from 2023 to 2031.

3. There are more eco-conscious shoppers looking for products with natural ingredients.

Today’s consumers are becoming more aware of the harmful effects of certain chemicals and ingredients often used in grooming products. However, the increased awareness has led to tighter restrictions and higher production costs.

Therefore, there has been greater demand for organic products with natural ingredients. As industry giants look for alternatives, smaller companies that offer organic products will play a significant role in market demands.

4. While regional market analysis shows varying rates of growth, there will be significant market expansion worldwide.

Current market data shows that Europe has the greatest demand for grooming and beard care products. However, the Asia-Pacific region is the fastest-growing market with a CAGR of 8.1%. But, some analysts predict that North America will have the most growth potential in the coming years. This is partially due to the increase of e-commerce during rapid urbanization, more disposable income, and changing attitudes toward men’s appearance.

As personal care becomes more normalized in every culture, there will continue to be increasing demands as there is more emphasis on men to maintain and enhance their youthful appearance. Since men are becoming more conscious of their image and how it can hinder professional and personal relationships, they will be spending more money on grooming and beard care products.

Companies to Watch

Although there are no guarantees when it comes to investing, market analysts and researchers all agree that this is one area that shows huge growth potential. Based on the extensive reports from Straits Research, these are the 10 companies you should be watching for your market cues.

  • Procter & Gamble Company
  • Unilever PLC/NV
  • Edgewell Personal Care Company
  • Beiersdorf AG
  • LVMH Mot Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE
  • LO’real SA
  • Coty Inc.
  • Natura Cosmeticos SA (NATURA)
  • Koninklijke Philips NV
  • Panasonic Corporation

What companies do you think will be the major players within this market in the years ahead? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Why You Should Think About Renting Your Assets

renting your assets

With the rising cost of living and inflation rates, it has become necessary for many Americans to take on second jobs or look for a side gig. Today, nearly 45% of people have a side hustle of some sort. However, this can take a lot of extra time and energy that you probably don’t have. So, why not put the assets you already own to work for you? Here are a few reasons you should consider renting out your assets for extra cash.

Uncertainty for the Future

Since losing my dad last year, it has been tough for my whole family. While trying to navigate our lives without him, I have also taken on the responsibility of helping my mom with his finances and taking care of their property. I’m learning just how much of a physical and financial responsibility this really was. And, we aren’t certain if it is feasible or sustainable in the long term.

In addition to my mom’s physical limitations and health concerns, she is also living on a fixed income. It takes a lot to upkeep an acreage. However, she isn’t ready to leave the family home just yet. So, we’re looking at other ways to recover costs and maintain the property.

The idea that seems most promising is renting out assets to earn passive income. It could be a good opportunity for extra income if we can clear out some space and get things working again.

5 Advantages of Renting Out Your Assets

After talking to a few family, friends, and neighbors, here are a few reasons why we may consider renting out assets from my parents’ estate.

1. You can turn a profit from assets you aren’t using.

The most obvious advantage is the extra income. There are online platforms that provide a new way for you to earn money by renting out things you already own. And, you don’t have to invest any more money into it. You simply post your items, and the site facilitates the rest, including liability coverage to protect your assets.

If you aren’t sure that you have things people would want to rent, do some research. You might be surprised what people are looking for. For example, you can list:

  • a second home
  • extra bedrooms for tourists or long-term renters
  • office space
  • parking spaces in urban areas or near attractions
  • large outdoor spaces to host events
  • unused land for animals or agriculture
  • pools during the summer months
  • any type of storage space (including closets, basements, attics, garages, and outbuildings)
  • vehicles
  • tools
  • electronics
  • cameras and photography equipment
  • outdoor gear and sporting goods
  • designer clothing
  • baby items
  • extra bandwidth
  • money through peer-to-peer lending platforms

And this is just a short list of the most popular items. If you have any of the assets but don’t use them regularly, then you may want to consider renting them out for profit.

2. People earn more than you might expect.

The second advantage is just how much more you can make. On average, miscellaneous household items usually rent for $10-$50 per day. Although these could bring you a few hundred dollars every month, others could earn thousands.

If you don’t believe me, consider these facts:

    • Airbnb reported the average user made an additional $924 a month.
    • HyreCar says it’s possible to make an extra $12,000 a year by renting your car.
    • Designer apparel and accessories rent for hundreds of dollars per item per week.
    • A garage usually rents for around $600 a month. A large storage space, such as my dad’s pole barn, would rent for at least twice that amount.
    • Cash loans through peer-to-peer lending platforms earn an average of 5-6% on your investment. However, crowdfunding through real estate sites like Groundfloor can yield double-digit returns.

Although every investment comes with risks, it seems this is one side hustle that may pay off.

3. Most websites provide coverage for liability and property damage.

My biggest hesitation comes down to the risks that come with renting out your assets. These were my dad’s things. While they have value to others, we still want to show them proper respect.

When you rent things out, you expect to have maintenance and general wear and tear. However, we want to keep them in working condition. And if we decide to use the property, we don’t want to be liable if anything happens.

So, I was pleased to learn that most sites provide coverage for liability and property damage to protect your assets. Some sites like FriendWithA also run background checks to ensure you are dealing with trustworthy people. With these kinds of measures in place, my family is more likely to give it a try.

4. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Many items like tools and outdoor gear are expensive to buy, especially if you only plan to use them once. Although you may be able to borrow from someone, this isn’t always a great option.

On the other hand, many people who have these items don’t use them regularly. Not only does this take up space, but you also don’t get your value from them.

So, renting your assets is a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties. In our case, my mom gets additional monthly income and the renters get a better price than if they rented from a commercial supplier.

5. It’s easier than other side hustles.

Every day, I see people making money through delivery and ride-share services. Others are earning extra cash from second jobs and other side gigs. But, the truth is that it’s tough. The average person puts in about 13 hours a week just to supplement their primary source of income.

Although she tries, my mom just doesn’t have as much energy as she used to. And she can’t commit as much time as it would require to see significant profits. But if she could rent out things she already owns, it’s a much easier way to earn passive income. And thousands of others are already doing it.

Things to Consider Before Renting Your Assets

While this may be a solution to my family’s financial problems, there are a few things to consider before jumping in head first.

  • You need to find the right platform and make your listing as appealing as possible.
  • Consider if the items you have are valuable to other people and what they are worth.
  • If you market yourself across multiple platforms for maximum exposure, you’ll be more successful.
  • Pay attention to the legalese in rental terms and protection policies to ensure you are covered.
  • Be careful when renting to family or friends.

If you are smart and find a niche that doesn’t have much competition, there is huge potential for growth. With enough success, you may discover that reinvesting in additional equipment could be a very profitable move.

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What Does the IRS Modernization Plan Mean for Taxpayers?

What Does the IRS Modernization Plan Mean for Taxpayers?

After much anticipation, the Internal Revenue Service has announced its multi-year plan to improve its operations. It includes many initiatives to streamline interactions as well as strengthen its cybersecurity and technology systems. With the IRS modernization plan already underway, people are starting to see its effects. But, what else is in store? And how will these changes affect taxpayers when they take full effect?

Unveiling the Strategic Operating Plan

After months of work, the IRS revealed its Strategic Operating Plan in April. It is designed to transform the agency and improve services to both the taxpayers and the entire country. It includes 42 initiatives, 190 key projects, and an outline of how the IRS plans to deliver these transformational changes.

Utilizing funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS modernization plan will focus on updating and bolstering resources within the agency by:

    • Rebuilding customer service. Through access to online tools, greater capacity for in-person taxpayer assistance centers, and more in-house staff, they will be able to reduce the notoriously long wait times. Providing more channels of communication will also create smoother interactions and help resolve issues more quickly.
    • Improving services. Adding more customer service representatives means the IRS will be better equipped to address taxpayers’ questions, help them meet their tax obligations, and ensure they receive eligible incentives.
    • Revamping the outdated systems to modernize the information technology systems. This will provide the IRS with the latest technology, data, and analytics to make operations more efficient. In addition to building the infrastructure needed to support the tax system, it will also provide stronger cybersecurity to protect taxpayer data.
    • Adding compliance personnel. These individuals will focus on handling audits of complex filings from high-income earners, partnerships, and large corporations. With more dedicated staff, the IRS will have better resources to enforce compliance laws and go after high-dollar noncompliance filings.
    • Training a more skilled workforce. Finding ways to attract, retain, and empower a skilled workforce will expedite the transformation and deliver better results.

The Immediate Affects on Taxpayers

Although it is a multi-year plan, taxpayers are seeing the first signs of change. We already have access to more staff and digital tools to provide faster customer service and simplify interactions. Some of these tools include more features in your IRS Online Account, a modernized e-filing system, automated voice and chatbots, and customer callback options. As these automated services and online options develop further, it will create a more seamless customer service experience.

Another immediate effect of the IRS modernization plan is the focus on high-income individuals, partnerships, and large corporations. Although audits will still be conducted within all tax brackets, there will be greater emphasis on high-dollar noncompliance issues. While audit rates will remain the same for households earning less than $400,000, those over this threshold will see an increase. Greater enforcement for those not fulfilling their tax obligations will hopefully decrease our national deficit and free up funding within the federal budget.

What the IRS Modernization Means for the Future

We are just starting to feel the initial effects. However, we will certainly see a greater impact as these historic changes take hold. The ultimate goal of the IRS modernization plan is to ensure fair enforcement of tax laws through the use of updated technology and better staffing. With faster resolutions of compliance issues, the IRS hopes to close the tax gap, relieve the tax burdens on those who are struggling, and collect revenue to support our nation.

In the past, the IRS didn’t have the resources it needed to address these problems. But according to the IRS Commissioner, Danny Werfel, “Now that we have the long-term funding, the IRS has an opportunity to transform its operations and provide the service people deserve. Through both service and technology enhancements, the experience of the future will look and feel much different from the IRS of today. This plan charts the course forward for the IRS and tax administration.”

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