Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Should I Make Funeral Arrangements Ahead of Time?

June 30, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I came from a family of 14 and I am the oldest child.  My brother was single and elderly and only had one child when he recently passed away.  He did not have any life insurance which left the family in total chaos especially his only child.  Is it wise for families to make funeral arrangements ahead of time? Trying to Avoid Future Chaos, Tennessee

Dear Trying to Avoid Future Chaos:

Most people die without making funeral arrangements forcing their grieving family to make tough decisions and overpay on funeral costs.  Everyone should have some type of life insurance which is there to help with funeral costs.  You can join your local Memorial Society at Funerals.org and make those decisions yourself, ahead of time.

However, don’t prepay for a funeral or cemetery plot especially if you might move to another city or if the funeral home could go out of business.  If you are a veteran, most veterans already know which Veterans Administration (VA) cemetery they would like to be buried at so they should make their arrangements ahead of time.

You can read more about being responsible as you age in the book “Golden Years: How To Age Gracefully and Take Care of Seniors” – available as an e-book and paperback.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Third Party Extended Car Warranty

June 29, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am preparing to buy a car through a dealership.  I have already completed my research and know that the car salesman will probably try to sell me things that I don’t really need.  Should I buy an extended warranty for my car?  Trying to Deal with Dealerships

Dear Trying To Deal With Dealerships:

You are right when you buy a car from a dealership -- they will try to sale you everything under the sun.  Choose only the manufacturer’s extended warranty or one sold by your insurance company.

It’s never a good idea to buy any third-party warranty.  Most of these policies are worthless and many times these third-party warranty companies go out of business.

To learn more about buying a car read A Woman’s Guide To Buying a New or Used Vehicle: Everyday Secrets You Should Know” (Part 1) – available only as an e-book.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former Healthcare Worker Starts Staffing Business

June 26, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am a former healthcare worker of 25 years so I am thinking about starting my own staffing business to assist the elderly.  How hard would that be?  Thinking of Business Ideas in Missouri
Dear Thinking of Business Ideas:

Since adults are living longer but living sicker because of their toxic environments and GMOs, many relatives are giving up their jobs to stay home with elderly parents so staffing businesses dealing with healthcare workers are desperately needed.  

Because of the economy, any type of staffing business is hot right now especially temporary staffing services since most jobs now are permanent part-time jobs. Remember when you have a certain amount of employees, there are state and federal laws that you will have to follow. 
In some cases, you have to provide health, life, disability, and dental insurance. Check insurance requirements and set up a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or get incorporated in case you get sued.  

You can also research the rules on start-up businesses at your locale state’s government office, the Small Business Association and read my business book “How To Start Your Own Business: A Self-Help Guide To Starting Your Own Business” (Series 2) – available as an e-book and paperback . 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How Can I Drive Traffic to My Website and Gain More Customers?

June 24, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am a business owner but I need more customers.  What’s the best way to drive traffic to my website?  Need customers, New Jersey

Dear Need Customers:

One of the things you need to understand about business is that you don’t need employees to start a business but you do need customers and clients.  To gain customers you need to market your business at least 75% of your time.  And you need to remember once you gain a customer, it’s easier to keep that customer than it is to gain another customer.

Marketing can be different for each business owner.  You just need to figure out for your particular business, the best ways to market your business and drive traffic to your website -- which include -- 1) Put your URL on everything (business cards, letterhead, envelopes, brochures, t-shirts, email signatures, etc.); 2) Encourage prospects to register on your site to receive emails or a newsletter; and 3) Make it sticky - give people a reason to come back to your website by having great information. 

For more on business ownership and 30 ways to market your business read “How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide To Starting Your Own Business” (Series 2) – available as an e-book and paperback.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Should I Use My 401K to Start A Business?

June 23, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am currently living on my 401K money.  I was laid off and is waiting on my unemployment benefits.  I do have the option of moving back in with my parents because their health is deteriorating.  Many of my friends used their 401K to start a business but they said they wasted a lot of these funds.  I am thinking about using my 401K to start a business so what advice would you give me?  Living Off 401K, Oklahoma

Dear Living Off 401K:

First of all you want to make sure you pay only your necessary bills such as your rent/mortgage, food, and utilities with your 401K.  Don’t pay off credit cards or other expenses with your 401K. 

Many people who get laid off, live off their 401K money for a year then run out and get a minimum wage job, which is crazy.  Remember this money is only going to last you so long so you should not use it as an ATM machine.  It should be your goal to make this money last as long as possible while you are building and growing your business. 

When your unemployment benefits are approved, use these funds instead to start a business or try to get another job – even if it is part-time and use those funds to fund your business. 

Most business owners underestimate the time it will take for them to start receiving money in a business.  Sometimes it might take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to make money in certain businesses so you certainly want to conduct the proper research and be prepared. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to work with people smarter than you – such as coaches and consultants.  They will help you save some of your money by helping you avoid many financial mistakes that most new business owners make.

To learn more about how business works read “How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide To Starting Your Own Business” (Series 2) – which is available as an e-book and paperback.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Should I Buy a Car from a Dealership or Shop Online?

June 22, 2015

Dear Cathy: 

I heard many horror stories from women who buy cars from dealerships. Many say even after signing all the paperwork and agreeing to a certain amount to pay for a car note, the saleman will call them back in after a few days or weeks to tell them there was a problem with their financing.  Beware of Car Dealerships, Texas

Dear Beware of Car Dealerships:

If you decide to walk into a dealership instead of looking online for a car, dealerships will know you are excited about buying a car and one of the tactics they use is to delay the entire process.

Once you speak with a car salesman and pick out a car, unless he handles the whole deal, many are set up where you will then have to speak with the finance person, who will run your credit. Dealerships knows as long as they keep you there, you are more likely to buy a car.

Sometimes dealerships will give you a car for a couple of days or couple of weeks, then call you and tell you to bring the car back in because your financing fail through. 

Or they will tell you to bring it back in and pick up your floor mats or something else that you purchased for your car, then they will spring this bad news on you. 

They will give you just enough time to fall in love with the car before attempting to raise your monthly payments.  However, this is the time for you to remain stern and don’t give in because you know what you agreed to. 

This is just one of the unethical tactics they use on people, especially women, who have not conducted their research.  If you offered a trade-in for the deal then your old car will no longer be available -- so to avoid this look for a car online first and prequalify for a loan through a credit union, who have lower interest rates than banks.

For more on how to buy a new or used vehicle and keep up the maintenance read “A Woman’s Guide To Buying A New or Used Vehicle: Everyday Secrets Your Should Know” (Part 1 & Part 2) – available as e-books only.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Difference Between Small Business Development Centers and Entrepreneurial Centers

June 19, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am finally ready to start a business but is looking for more business resources.  Is there a difference between Small Business Development Centers and Entrepreneurial Centers?  Business Bound, New Jersey

Dear Business Bound:

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide business advice to entrepreneurs within the community, whereas entrepreneurial centers are academically linked to a college or university and provide a curriculum for students with an outreach program for entrepreneurs in the community.

The Small Business Administration (SBA.gov) works with Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).  These centers are another underutilized entrepreneurial center.

As more and more businesses go out of business, more than 300 colleges have started teaching some variation of an entrepreneurial curriculum that includes courses, lectures, seminars, workshops, and outreach programs.  Most entrepreneurs take courses or work with teachers or students to strengthen their business practices. 

Entrepreneurial centers also present fertile networking opportunities for start-up entrepreneurs.  These centers provide more in-depth advice than Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and tend to cater to entrepreneurs with more business experience.

To read more on how business works read “How To Take Control of Your Own Life: ASelf-Help Guide to Starting Your Own Business” – available as an e-book and paperback.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Be Careful of College Students With Mental Health Issues

June 18, 2015

Dear Cathy: 

We sent our daughter off to college in the next state but when she was living on campus, she got in fights with other students and had to change rooms a couple of times.

Unlike many first year students, she is allowed to live off campus so my husband and I told her we would help her pay for an apartment but we don’t have a lot of money.

She did receive a scholarship to go to this college, which will help her out but she still had to get a roommate to live in her apartment.  Since her new roommate has moved in, she has also quarreled with her.  What else can we do to help our daughter out and make sure she is safe?  Protecting Our Daughter, Alabama

Dear Protecting Our Daughter?

Short of taking her out of that school and making her lose the scholarship, you don’t have a lot of options here. Time and time again we hear about college roommates hurting or even killing each other.

Students need to be careful of roommates and other students who have mental health issues or who might be criminals.  They are everywhere!

Students just like adults might have some type of mental health issue, so nowadays you really have to be careful who you associate with.

Some students might be broke and desperate so students should not allow just anyone to move into their dorms or apartments.  To avoid living with these types of individuals, it’s always best for students to try to take a relative or friend to college with them to be their roommates.

You also want to educate your daughter about the foods that she is eating because many foods today especially foods containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) (processed foods) causes anger in individuals so make sure she has access to the holistic and natural community in her city.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Scholarship Company Wants My Personal Information

June 17, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I was raised by my aunt and I desperately want to go to college but we don’t have a lot of funds.  I feel a scholarship company is asking me for too much personal information but they say they can guarantee me extra money for college.   What should I do?  Confused in Michigan

Dear Confused in Michigan:

Thousands of students and their parents are lured into scams claiming guaranteed money for college. No one can promise in advance that students will qualify for or be awarded a scholarship.

If you’re ever asked in a scholarship application, or by phone, to disclose confidential information such as your social security, credit card or bank account numbers, tear up that application or hang up the phone without hesitation.

This is the oldest identity theft scam in the book.  Once someone gets that personal info from you, they’re that much closer to becoming you and can apply for new credit cards in your name, can withdraw money from your bank account, and more.

No legitimate scholarship will ask for such information on an application.  There are plenty of scholarship information available online, in libraries and in books so you need to spend time conducting your own research.

Read Chapter 12 “How To Get Into College” in the book “Recession Survival Guide: How To Get Back Into the Driver’s Seat” – available as an e-book and paperback.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Advice for New Car Shoppers on Financing A Vehicle

June 13, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am looking to buy my first car and instead of a used car, I am looking for a new car.  I have heard many stories about financing falling through and car buyers especially women being told to bring cars back in.  What can I do to avoid this?  Car Shopping, Minnesota

Dear Car Shopping:

It’s always best to go to a bank or credit union and prequalify for a car loan or apply online at an online lender such as http://www.CarFinance.com or http://www.CarsDirect.com.  In general, credit unions offer lower loan rates than banks.  

Once you prequalify, you’ll know how much car you can afford and what type of monthly payments you will have. It also means your purchase won’t collapse because you can’t get financing.

The best time to go and look at cars is when the dealership is closed. That way there is no pressure from salespersons.  Once you narrowed your search to a couple of different models, call your insurance agent to find out how much it will cost to insure those vehicles.

Use the Internet to buy a car for incredible ease and price savings. To look up actual dealer cost on the vehicle and options you are interested in, go to http://www.Edmunds.com.  To get an instant price quote for the model you want, go to http://www.CarsDirect.com.

For more on how to buy a new or used vehicle and keep up the maintenance read “A Woman’s Guide To Buying A New or Used Vehicle: Everyday Secrets Your Should Know” (Part 1 & Part II) – available as an e-book only.

Friday, June 12, 2015

How Can We Save Money On Our Home and Cell Phone Service?

June 12, 2015

Dear Cathy:

My husband and I are really strapped for funds.  We are a young couple and we have our first baby on the way.  How can we save money on our home and phone services? Strapped for Funds, Texas

Dear Strapped for Funds:

Some 20% of homes have only cell phones so you can drop your land lines. You can invest in a family cell phone plan with unlimited texting or get a low-cost pre-paid cell phone service for as low as $5.00 a month on the Internet to use only in case of emergencies.

You can also use a service in your area where you can get unlimited local and long distance calling such as Metro PCS (http://www.MetroPCS.com) for as low as $30 a month.  This service is now nationwide but there are other services also. Just conduct your own research.

To save more money read “Recession Survival Guide: How To Get Back Into the Driver’s Seat” – available as an e-book and paperback.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What is Budget Billing?

June 9, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I just finished with college and have my first home on my own.  My friends told me I should get on budget billing to keep down the cost of my utilities but they could not tell me exactly how it works.  Living On My Own, Tennessee

Dear Living On My Own:

Anyone can get on budget billing.  This is nothing to be ashamed of -- it just makes sense!  Call your light company and tell them to put you on budget billing.  This way they will even out your light bill in the summer time and winter time so it will stay around the same amount -- so you don’t receive any surprises.  

This way you will know around how much you will need to pay every month on your light bill.  Many times gas companies also have this service.  If you have trouble paying the bill after getting on budget billing, then just call them back and get on a payment plan.  They will allow you to pay what you can (at least half) now -- then the rest on the next bill when you might have more money.

No one wants to be left in the dark and many people don’t understand that these utility companies will work with you.  But you need to do your part in cutting back on your bills also by disconnecting all circuits when not in use (TV, radios, stereos, computers, cell phones, lights, office equipment, microwave, etc.); Wash clothes in cold water; Air dry clothes during summer; Use energy-saving mode on appliances; Install efficient showerheads – just to name a few.

You can find out more ways to save money by reading the book “Recession Survival Guide: How To Get Back Into the Driver’s Seat" -- available as an e-book and paperback.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Biggest Business Surprises

June 8, 2015

Dear Cathy:

What are the biggest surprises that you have seen since opening your business and advising other businesses?  Thinking Entrepreneurship, Kansas

Dear Thinking Entrepreneurship:

This is a great question.  Thanks for asking it.  I will tell you about two of the biggest surprises I have witnessed since starting my business and teaching business ownership: 1) Initially I realized the level of unethical practices in the entrepreneurial industry was quite alarming.  Many business entrepreneurs are good perpetrators and they will feed you misinformation in order to make a dime; and 2) Many entrepreneurs are afraid to admit that they don’t know everything.  They don’t want to be criticized so they are afraid to network or talk about their business ideas because they think others might steal their ideas. 

Unless you are brainstorming with legal, financial or marketing advisors, mentors, consultants, and coaches, you will have a hard time moving your business idea to the next level.

Friday, June 5, 2015

My Car is a Lemon – So What Are My Options?

June 5, 2015

Dear Cathy:

I am a female and I bought a new car at a dealership but I believe it is a lemon.  I have had to take it back in for service several times for the same thing but they have yet to fix it.  The people at the dealership, including the salesman who sold me the vehicle, have very bad customer service -- so what are my options? Car Trouble, California

Dear Car Trouble:

A lemon is a new car that breaks down repeatedly for the same reason and cannot be repaired.  Each state has a Lemon Law to protect consumers by allowing the car buyer to exchange the flawed vehicle for a new one or have the manufacturer buy it back.

In most states, the Lemon Law applies to problems that arise during the first year at 12,000 miles of ownership.  If you have a new vehicle with serious problems, you need to document everything.  Keep records of every phone call or repair attempt.

That’s why it’s important that the repair work tickets are written correctly in case you have to invoke your rights under your state’s Lemon Law.  You can contact the administrator of your state’s Lemon Laws and learn more at http://www.CarLemon.com or http://www.Autopedia.com.

You can learn more info on how to buy a new or used vehicle and how to keep up the maintenance on it by reading “A Woman’s Guide To Buying A New or Used Vehicle: Everyday Secrets You Should Know” (Part 1 & Part II) – available only as an e-book at http://www.AngelsPress.com.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Getting Rid of Cable to Save Money

June 4, 2015

Dear Cathy:

My cable bill at Comcast is usually around $200 to $250.00 a month.  I work during the day time and go to school at night so I realize I don’t need all these extra channels on my TV.  I am thinking about getting rid of cable in order to put some extra money in my pocket.  What are some of my options to watch movies and television programs? Holding on to my money, Virginia

Dear Holding On To Money:

Getting rid of cable is a great idea.  It will definitely put some extra money in your pocket.  Many people should rethink their cable bill.  Since most neighborhood Blockbusters have closed down, many people are watching Netflix.com along with Amazon.com Instant Video Streaming, VUDU.com and other paid services which only cost a few dollars a month.

Nowadays people don’t have time to sit down and watch television shows so they are catching many regular TV shows and movies on these media outlets.  Instead of television, many people are watching shows on ipads, laptops and phones.  

To save money you can also watch FREE shows and movies online at http://www.Hulu.com.   Hulu Plus, http://www.HuluPlus.com, is not FREE or use Red Box, www.RedBox.com to rent one dollar DVDs.  You can also watch movies and videos at www.YouTube.com and pick up free movies from libraries.

To put more money in your pocket read "Recession Survival Guide: How To Get Back Into the Driver's Seat" -- available as an e-book or paperback.