Join The $Blessed Business Bosses$ Facebook Group

This group will focus on building our businesses using the online space as a platform. You currently have intellectual property that needs to be packaged and shared with the masses! Is this you? Are you really ready to not only step into the 21st Century but enjoy and reap the benefits of learning and knowing how to do so!! This group is for you!!!

 
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Entrepreneurs who are dedicated to creating financial freedom through their gifts, talents, knowledge and experiences.
 

Your Credit Is A Financial Strategy!

Your credit score is an integral part of your financial life. It is important that you understand what it’s all about. Lenders, landlords, insurers, utility companies and even employers look at your credit score. It is derived from what’s in your credit reports, and it ranges between 300 and 850.

Yet, according to a survey that was recently conducted, nearly half of all Americans don’t know how these scores are derived or even what factors are used to come up with them.

For example, if your credit score is 580 you are probably going to pay nearly three percentage points more in mortgage interest than someone who had a score of 720.

Or another way of looking at it, if you had a $150,000 30- year fixed-rate mortgage and your credit score was good enough to qualify for the best rate, your monthly payments would be about $890. This is according to Fair Isaac, the company that created the FICO score and who the rate is named after

(Fair Isaac COrporation). If your credit is poor, however, it is very likely that you would have to pay more than $1,200 a month for that same loan.

With so much depending on the credit score, it’s important to understand what it is all about and what are the things that affect it.

Unfortunately, people commonly have a lot of misinformation and misunderstandings about their credit score. Here are five of the most common credit score myths and along with it the true facts:

MYTH #1: The major bureaus use different formulas for calculating your credit score.

FACT: The three major credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — give the score a different name.  Equifax calls their score the “Beacon” credit score, Transunion calls it “Empirica” and Experian gives it the name  “Experian/Fair Isaac Risk Model.”  They all use different names for the credit score, but they all use the same formula to come up with it.

The reason that the credit score you receive from each bureau is different is because the information in your file that they base the score on is different. For example, the records that one bureau is using may go back a longer period of time, or a previous lender may have shared its information with only one of the bureaus and not the other two.

Usually the scores are not too far from each other. Unless there is a big difference between what each bureau says is your credit score, many lenders will just use the one in the middle for the purpose of analyzing your application. So, for this reason alone it is a good idea to correct any errors that exist in each of the three major credit bureaus.

MYTH #2: Paying off your debts is all you need to do to immediately repair your credit score.

FACT: Your credit score is mostly determined by your past performance more than your current amount of debt. It will definitely be very helpful to pay off your credit cards and settle any outstanding loans, but if yours is a history of late or missed payments, it won’t remove the damage overnight. It takes time to repair your credit score.

So, definitely pay down your debts. But it is equally important to consistently get in the habit of paying your bills on time.

MYTH #3: Closing old accounts will boost my credit score.

FACT: This is a common misconception. It’s not closing accounts that affects your credit score, it’s opening them. Closing accounts can never help your credit score and may actually hurt it. Yes, having too many open accounts does hurt your score. But once the accounts have been opened, the damage has already been done. Shutting the account doesn’t repair it and it may actually make things worse.

The credit score is affected by the difference between the credit that is available and the credit that is being used. Shutting down accounts reduces the amount of total credit available and when compared with how much credit you can use your actual credit balances are made to seem larger. This hurts your credit score.

The credit score also looks at the length of your credit history. Shutting older accounts removes old history and can make your credit history look younger than it actually is. This also can hurt your score.

You generally shouldn’t close accounts unless a lender specifically asks you to do so as a condition for them giving you a loan. Instead, the best thing you can do is just pay down your existing credit card debt. That’s something that definitely would improve your credit score.

MYTH #4: Shopping around for a loan will hurt my credit score.

FACT: When a lender makes an inquiry about your credit, your score could drop up to five points. Some borrowers think that if they shop around by going to several different lenders that each time a lender does an inquiry it will generate another reduction in the credit score. This isn’t true. For credit score purposes, multiple inquiries for a loan are treated as a single inquiry, if they all come within a 45-day period. So, it is best to do your rate shopping within this 45-day window.

MYTH #5: You cannot fix your own credit score.

FACT: If the credit bureaus have accurate information, there’s nothing that can be done to quickly improve your score if in fact you have a history of not handling your debts well. The only way to influence your credit score is to show that you can manage your debts in the future.

A company simply offers a strategy and process if there are errors, obsolete and inaccurate information in your file and assist with the following:

  • Collections
  • Late Payments
  • Charge offs
  • Repossessions
  • Tax Liens
  • Short sales
  • Medical bills
  • Child support
  • Student loans

So, the best ways to improve your credit score are: pay down the debt, pay your bills on time, correct existing errors on your credit reports in each of the three bureaus and apply for credit infrequently.

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A Simple Social Media Automation Plan for Your Business

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While it may be true that expanding your social media presence can prove to be a daunting task, one of the ways you minimize the amount of time you spend when it comes to expanding your social media presence is to use social media automation tools.

 

Here are some simple tips to think about when it comes to creating an effective social media automation plan for your business.

1. Define Your Target Audience
One of the very first things you should do is to determine who your target audience is. Ideally, you’ll want to be specific regarding the segment that you will target.

2. Listen To What Your Target Audience Goes Through On A Daily Basis
Once you have a good idea of your target audience, the next thing you’ll need to do is to become aware of some of the things that occur in their everyday life.

Some of these include:

  • Problem they may be facing
  • Goals they wish to reach
  • Typical day to day routine
  • Needs
  1. Brainstorm Content Ideas Important To Your Audience
    The next thing you’ll need to do is to think of a few content ideas that will be important to your segment. This means that the content should be about them, not about your products or services. They key thing to remember during this step is that you should be brainstorming content ideas that would be highly valuable and memorable, so that they can share and subsequently come back for more.

 

  1. Produce Your Content Ahead of Time
    After your brainstorming sessions, the next thing you should be focusing on is the creation of content. You may already have a couple good ideas about some written content that you could share. However, it’s important to note that you should locate images and videos that resonate with your audience as well. It’s a well-known fact that visual content receives a higher level of engagement when compared to written content.

    5. Insert Your Content Into a Social Media Automation Tool
    Once you have created at least a week or two worth of content, the next thing you should do is to sign up for a social media automation tool that has a built-in editorial calendar or “scheduling” feature, to ensure that certain post occur on certain days as frequently as you choose.

 

For example, Buffer is a social media marketing automation tool that can be used for Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+. Its scheduling features will essentially allow you to make multiple posts to multiple accounts for as far as a month in advance as long as you insert content beforehand.

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No effective social media plan runs without this! 

Sign up for my free webinar “How to be a Social Media Superstar”

https://mailchi.mp/3abe58668f96/socialmediawebinar

Don’t Wait … Build Your Brand With Social Media Now!

 

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All businesses need to use social media to promote their business today. But, many business owners don’t realize that their actions on social media is also part of their brand. To expand your brand, it’s important to use social media in a strategic way that supports your core business values. How you promote your business with social media depends on what kind of business you have.

If you’re a speaker, author, or life coach, you’ll handle your branding through social media differently than if your business is about a product or service. If you have products and services, it’s important that you develop a separate brand from your personal brand by creating accounts for each business component. Your @shanaestarnes Instagram account should be used differently from your @shanaestarnes business account on Facebook and Instagram.

On your personal social media accounts, be yourself and be transparent. Admitting mistakes, showing your personality, engaging with others, sharing information is important in building a strong brand. On your business account you should also be a real person, share, engage your audience, and try to be compelling and interesting. However, you look at it, social media is an excellent way to increase your brand.

Using social media can increase brand awareness quickly. Whether you like it or not, people will be talking about your business via social media. If you’re not invested in social media the conversation goes on without you. Not only do you want to be part of that conversation, you also want to be in control of the conversation.

To be in control of the conversation regardless of which social media platform you use, start the conversation. Create excellent content on your websites. Write excellent guest posts for other people’s websites. Share compelling information that other people have shared. Comment in a meaningful way on content that you enjoy, or even content that you disagree with, even if it’s controversial.

Never, ever delete critical information that you find, whether it’s a comment on your blog, or a complaint you discovered on Facebook. Instead, publically deal with the comment in a professional way. Of course, delete offensive comments riddled with swear words, but don’t delete genuine critical comments or complaints. How you deal with these issues will speak volumes to your target audience who sees them.

Use social media to promote the things that your business does and is involved in. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google Plus, and any other social media that your target audience uses, is where you should be promoting your business activities. If you aren’t proud enough of the things you do to promote them then you shouldn’t be doing them. Every blog post you write, every new product you create, every new service you offer should be worthy of the same promotion as the next.

Using social media to expand your brand doesn’t require a physical business, or an online business, it simply requires a business and the desire to be in control of your message.

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Building a Brand for your business should be fun, not frustrating. If you’re stressed out and overwhelmed, click here: Sign up for my free webinar “How to be a Social Media Superstar”

https://mailchi.mp/3abe58668f96/socialmediawebinar

Tax Season 2018 Filing Key Dates and Deadlines

Filing Season Begins Monday, January 22

Copy of tax preparation

The IRS will start processing most returns on January 22, but will not start processing returns with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February 2018.

Refund Delays

The PATH Act of 2015 requires the IRS to hold refunds on returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid February. The IRS is required to hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC. The IRS cautions that these refunds likely won’t arrive in bank accounts or debit cards until the week of February 27 –- if there are no processing issues with the tax return and the taxpayer chose direct deposit.

 

January 1, 2018 First day to file a federal tax return, though the IRS generally will not accept e-file and free file returns until the date below. Even paper based filings won’t be processed till later in the month
January 22, 2018 IRS E-file to go live, allowing submission of electronic tax returns for the vast majority of tax filers. Paper tax returns will begin processing from this date as well
January 31, 2018 Date by which you should have received a W-2 from employers you worked for during the tax year. If not, contact their HR/Payroll department to resend tax documents
February 1, 2018 Deadline for 1099 statements (factors in your AGI income) that report non-employee compensation, bank interest, dividends and distributions from a retirement plan. This date is also the deadline for self-employed individuals to file and pay in full their fourth-quarter estimated tax payment
February 17, 2018 Financial institutions (e.g Vanguard, Fidelity) must mail out 1099-B, 1099-S and 1099-MISC forms by this date. See what these forms are and if you will need one for your return
March 17, 2018 S Corporation and Partnership tax returns due
April 17, 2018 *Tax Day* Last day for filing federal income tax returns and extension requests. Since April 15th is on a Sunday and Monday is the Emancipation Day holiday the due date has been shifted out to Tuesday, April 17th.
April 17, 2018 Deadline for filing state income tax returns (for most states) and extension requests. Last day to make a contribution to a Traditional or Roth IRA, Health Savings Account (HSA), SEP-IRA or 401(k)
April 17, 2018 FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) forms due for taxpayers who have signature authority over $10,000 in total in foreign bank accounts in the prior year. Laws enacted last year change the standard FBAR due date to “tax day” (vs June 30th as in years past). No extensions are allowed and forms must be filed electronically.
June 17, 2018 U.S. citizens or resident aliens living abroad must file tax returns and pay any taxes due by this date (or file for a four-month extension)
October 17, 2018 Filing approved extended federal, state and S-Corp/Partnership income tax returns Note: you still need to file for an extension request by April 17th
April 15, 2021 Filing a 2017 tax amendment. You can file an amended or previous year return anytime, but you have a deadline of 3 years from the original due date to claim any tax refund.

 

 

Why Plan For The Future?

Like many people, you’ve probably set aside money to pay for the important events in your life: a new house🏡, a dream vacation🏖️, college tuition🏫 for children👧👦 or retirement🏝️. Planning ahead was a good idea because you could be sure the money would be there when needed.

FINAL EXPENSES are no different….Life Insurance is one of the ways you provide for your family, planning ahead with coverage to help with final expenses such as funeral and burial costs, medical bills or outstanding debt. YOUR FAMILY DEPENDS ON YOU to help meet their needs and make good decisions about the things that affect their lives.

Don’t leave your family with bills to pay…A funeral today can easily reach over $9,500 when the purchase of cemetery property and a grave marker are included.* Medical bills, legal costs and other final expenses can add significant my to the financial burden.

Peace of mind protection…Choose an affordable permanent whole life policy to provide extra security for your loved ones. By pre-funding your final expenses today, you can prevent the financial burden on those closest to you and be assured that the money will be there to help cover the costs.

*According to the National Funeral Directors Association 2009 study.

Shanae Starnes
Independent Life and Health Advisor
Licensed in NC & SC

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