Business Ideas for 2015

In 2015, business opportunities abound. With the continued growth of the internet, the economy is in a constant state of shift, and new ideas are always being capitalized on by entrepreneurs. Below you’ll find a fresh list of business ideas for you to start in 2015. Many are online, some are offline, some are “lifestyle” businesses and others are scalable. Regardless, this list should at the least get some ideas flowing for what kind of business you want to start this year.

But of course remember that in the end, what matters the most is your execution. Whether you choose one of these ideas or do something else entirely, what will determine your success in the world of entrepreneurship is the action you take the problems you solve. Good luck!

Online Store

Do you have something you want to sell? You can sell the items online to give people the ability to buy 24/7 and around the world. New software makes it easy to set up the store. It’s possible to sell everything from cupcakes to marijuana vaporizers to clothes online, so you can sell something that is important to you. You can sell as much as you want based upon your ability to package things to go a long distance and ship internationally. The larger your market is, the easier it is to increase the overall revenue of your online store.

Personal Training

Personal training and nutrition has become popular and people don’t always have time to meet with a personal trainer or go into a gym. Personal training can be done online with Facebook groups, Skype to be able to show particular moves, and various other forms of technology. More clients at a reduced rate can result in the same income as doing it offline. You can create groups at a time where you offer meal plans, exercise plans, and much more to coach people into a healthier lifestyle.

Life Coach

If you want to help other people get their life together, you can become a life coach – and set your business up online. You can work on referrals from social media, so there is no need to try and get clients that are local. You can send emails and set up video networking calls to communicate. Best of all, you can take online courses to help you become a better life coach.

Individual/Couples Counseling

More therapists are beginning to offer Skype sessions with their clients. This allows you to set up a call with a client when they are having a crisis without having to run into the office. You may be able to obtain more clients this way simply because it is more convenient than other methods.

Affiliate Marketing

business ideas for 2015Affiliate marketing is an area of the Internet where a lot of people are making money. The affiliate ads are placed on your site and as people click on them to go to other sites, you make money. The hard part is getting a sizable volume of traffic to visit but it can be done. Once you establish a niche, you can have money coming in regularly. The Amazon Associates program is one of the most popular affiliate programs.

Psychic Readings

Many people don’t want to call 1-900 numbers to reach psychics anymore. Whether you have the gift of psychic vision or you can read tarot cards or palms, you can set up an online business where you can communicate with people. You can charge a certain amount for each reading and communicate via text chat or video conference.

Arts & Crafts Seller

If you love to make arts and crafts, you don’t have to wait until the next craft show to be able to sell all of your crafts. You can make your life’s work an online business through Etsy, eBay, or any of the other websites. This allows you to create the things you love and sell them to people all over the world.

eBay Trading Assistant

There are lots of people who make a living selling items on eBay and you may be able to become their trading assistant. You can be responsible for writing the product descriptions and even answering questions that come in. The products are with them, so you don’t have to worry about collecting money or shipping the items.

Marketing

When you know a lot about Internet marketing, you can operate a marketing business for other businesses. By establishing a B2B service, you can help businesses across the globe on such concepts as SEO, paid searches, social media marketing and more. There is no need to have a local office because people can email you with their marketing needs and you can do all of the work online.

Writer

If you are able to write well, you may be able to create an online business where you write for other people. Businesses are constantly in need of writers to create web content, blogs, press releases and even e-Books. The faster you can write, the more work you can get. Sometimes all it takes is a few big clients to provide you with all the work you need.

Become a Mentor

You can teach online due to all of the technology where you can be face to face with someone else. There are sites that allow you to set up a class or you can create your own website. It’s possible to teach anything from a foreign language to photography to how to play the guitar. The more you know how to teach, the more money you can make. There is no limit to the number of courses you can offer and it may be possible to spread the content into multiple courses so that you can attract beginner and intermediate levels of learners.

Virtual Assistant

If you have been a secretary or administrative assistant in the past, becoming a virtual assistant may be the perfect online business for you. This is where you work for a company or individual and perform an array of tasks that can include responding to texts, making updates on a website, writing press releases, answering phones and more. With VoIP technology, calls can be forwarded to you from anywhere in the world.

MLM Marketing

Otherwise known as multi-level marketing, allows you to take a product that is tried and true and push it. You can set up in-home parties with friends and family and even take it into some of the local businesses. As you get people to sign up under you and do the same thing, you make a percentage of their sales, thus allowing you to make more money as you get a down line.

Cosmetic Consultant

Plenty of people need help with their makeup. If people have always talked to you about how good your makeup is, it may be time to start showing others what you can do. You can be a consultant to help others do their makeup or even offer makeup application for special events.

Photographer

If you are good with a camera, you may want to consider becoming a photographer. You can decide what you want to photograph – children, families, special events or even weddings. There are many ways for you to promote yourself and once you develop a great-looking portfolio, it will be what ultimately helps you book all of your gigs.

Public Speaker

If you have something important to say to the world and you are good with words, becoming a public speaker may be a great career opportunity. You can be the inspirational voice that helps to kick off conferences and conventions. Regardless of what your experience is, you can turn it into a way of sharing your insight with others. Once you get started speaking with a few different companies, word can travel in terms of your skills so that you can be called upon to do even more public events – and even travel across the country or globe while you talk to large groups of people.

Web Design Consultant

Every year since the dawn of the internet, thousands of companies need help building and maintaining their online presence. Because of the increasing importance of a website for businesses marketing efforts, there is very high demand for individuals with web design talent. If you have these skills, you’ve set yourself up for a very high paying consultancy business. If you want to learn web design, you can easily do so through either formal or informal education.

Interior Designer

If you know what looks good and you can create amazing interior designs, you may want to consider becoming an interior designer. You don’t have to have a degree and when you can show a portfolio so that people know what you are capable of, word about your abilities can spread through the community so that more people rely on you when they want to redecorate their home or office.

2015 may be the year where you say goodbye to your boring 9 to 5 job where someone else is calling the shots. Particularly if you have a long commute to the office every day, you may decide that working online is better so that you can work from anywhere. Think about the possibilities! With all of these ideas, there is sure to be one that works well for you. You are good at something, so figure out how to bring it online and then make a business out of it. With more websites coming online daily to help entrepreneurs offer their services, you don’t have to do all of the work on your own.

Economic Predictions for 2015

Offering economic predictions should be based on facts, reasonable interpretation of available data, a review of history and other similar factors. Furthermore, it should be admitted by those making the predictions that there are two other elements involved. The first being the person’s own views, which may conflict with actual conditions and be based on a certain amount of guess work.

Therefore, it is safe to say that the economy will undergo a certain degree of change that will have an impact on the money supply. This will affect the gross national product and a continuing increase of many operations leaving the U.S. for other locations where labor is cheaper, and the environmental and safety laws are less stringent.

However, there are certain trends and issues that the economy and therefore, the business community and accordingly the people in their roles as consumers, investors and providers must consider.

Thus, it is necessary everyone starts with the current conditions and then looks to the future. We are seeking the market at record highs according to the major indexes, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

While this, along with the S&P and other indicators give an indication of where we are today and where we have been, they do not tell us exactly where we are headed.

Because interest rates are still relatively low, the upcoming holiday shopping season is expected to be more robust, and savings are increasing, 2015 should be off to a good start.

There will also be some additional confidence among consumers because the Republican Party will be in control of the House and Senate, while a lame-duck Democrat occupies the Oval Office in the White House.

While the Republicans have gained a majority in the House and Senate, they do not have enough votes to override presidential vetoes.

Thus, efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act will not be successful.

As the hallmark of his Presidency, Barrck Obama is not going to let the Affordable Care act be scuttled, despite the claims of any Congressman.

This is good for the economy. Insurance companies are selling more policies and thus are investing more and paying greater dividends. More people are buying policies, which will take some of the financial burden off the federal and state governments to provide health care.

Granted, subsidies for the AHC policies, Medicaid and local assistance for the needy will still be a major expenditure for governments, but not as big as it has been.

Prior to the ACH, many who could not purchase insurance because of age or prior health conditions can today purchase insurance. These people have viable options that did not exist in 2013.

It is necessary to look at the price of oil and its impact on the economy. Saudi Arabia, the leading producer among the OPEC nations has been dropping the price of oil. This is probably a short-term strategy and is not a new idea. The Saudi government has done this in the past in an effort to bring the other members of OPEC back to the table and to begin importing strict production quotas.

However, Saudi Arabia’s grip on OPEC is not as strong as it once was. Some nations, such as Venezuela, do what pleases them. That country has a tremendous investment in the United States refining industry. Therefore, that supply of oil will not be interrupted.

Secondly, despite the claims of the naysayers of a few years ago, the United States and the world is not running out of oil. It has been the discovery of shale oil and the use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and horizontal drilling that has made production possible, but expensive.

However, it is unlikely that there will be enough of a price drop to cause any serious decline in shale oil production. Refineries will take advantage of the drop in oil prices.

This will lead to lower gasoline prices and accordingly increased consumption. Together, those factors lead to higher profits for the refining industry. The cheaper oil lowers operating costs, thus reducing the price of gasoline. Lower fuel prices lead to more purchases at the pump.

The Stock market becomes the next big issues. While the market is doing well, it may be when some companies start to split shares. Some people like this practice and some do not. This can lead to a temporary sell off if such announcements begin to circulate.

Again because Congress is controlled by one political party, and the President is the leader of the opposing party, Washington is not going to be able to accomplish much. There will probably be delays in adopting the budget, which is not unusual, but is not helpful to the economy.

Finally, there is still uncertainty about what the Fed, or the Federal Reserve System, is going to do regarding interest rates. The Fed has kept rates at the near-zero level for an extended period, which has encouraged spending and large-scale investments where the returns were greater.

However, it has also made it harder for individuals to find attractive investment options such as certificates of deposits or CD’s. Eight years ago, interest rates for certificates of deposit were at the seven percent level with a five-year maturity date.

Since 2008, the CD, which is a primary investment option for many individuals, has dropped to the one percent.

The Fed will need to move the rates upward, with caution so the action does not fuel inflation or prevent the investment of funds in other opportunities.

Thus, to sum it up, the coming year looks better than the year that is about to end. This year, 2014, we have seen increased employment, major changes in the health care delivery system and the recent decline in energy prices. It is likely that the Fed will have to begin raising interest rates. Doing so can put more money in circulation. People see the CD and other similar instruments as secure and stable investment opportunities that pose virtually no risk.

The issue of military conflict has not been addressed because it is virtually impossible to predict how such events will affect the economy. WWII was responsible for lifting the country out of the depression that started in 1929. Other conflicts have led to dangerously high inflationary spirals. Forecasting the economy is much like forecasting the weather a year in advance.

There are things that happen that cannot be controlled or even prevented. Thus, the one piece of advice that can be offered is for the small investor, those seeking to invest the life insurance benefits of a deceased loved one, or who have sold a house and downsize to a smaller one and have idle cash.

Best Savings Account for 2015

One of the most widely used types of consumer financial accounts is the savings account. In this day and age, there are a variety of considerations to bear in mind when it comes to finding the most appropriate savings account. Indeed, there are a number of key factors to bear in mind when it comes to seeking and finding the best savings account for 2015.

Interest Rate Comparisons

When working to identify the best savings account for 2015, a person definitely must take the time to undertake a comparison of interest rates. The reality is that the interest rates associated with savings account really are quite minimal. However, there are differences from one bank to another. A consumer must keep in mind that even a small uptick in the amount of interest associated with a savings account adds up over time.

When it comes to the best bank account for 2015, a person also needs to be aware of options in which a person can garner a high interest rate by agreeing to a larger minimum balance in the account.

Rewards Programs

Because there remain limitations on interest rate levels in this day and age, another factor to take into consideration when seeking the best bank account in 2015 is any possible reward program associated with an account. Long gone are the days when banks offered things like toasters when a person opened a savings account. However, banks have some solid rewards programs associated with the best savings accounts at this point in time, rewards programs that will be highlighted in 2015.

As is the case with interest rates, banks that have started to include a rewards program with their savings accounts offer variety in that regard. These rewards programs range from gift cards based on different deposit levels, travel programs and the like.

Banking Across State Lines

With the explosion of mobile technology and apps over the course of the past several years, a person is no longer confined to opening up a savings account at the local bank. (Of course, there is something to be said for a neighborhood bank, a person looking for the best savings account in 2015 needs to take broad approach.)

In some instances, a person can get the best option on a savings account by opening an account in another state. With the technology available today, including apps that permit the digital depositing of checks, banking in this manner has become easy to master.

Brick and World Banks — Not the Only Option

In 2015, a consumer is no longer restricted to finding a savings account at a traditional brick and mortar world bank. Thanks to the innovations in digital technology, there are now an ever growing number of online banking options as well with institutions that exist only in cyberspace.

When a person seeks the best bank account for 2015, these online options can be positive alternatives. An important factor to keep in mind is that a bank operating exclusively online does save money on overhead. As a result, this type of bank typically is able to pass some of that savings on to its customers.

Easy Account Access

As part of an effort to identify the best account for 2015, attention must be paid to the issue of accessibility. In the final analysis, the best savings account for 2015 will provide easy accessibility to a consumer. For example, such an account will be readily accessible and manageable through the use of the full spectrum of electronic devices. This includes traditional PCs, tablets and smartphones. The best savings account for 2015 will be associated with

Liberal Withdrawal Policies

When selecting the best bank account for 2015, attention must also be paid to withdrawal policies. Of course, by definition, a person typically does not want to make a tremendous number of withdrawals from a savings account during a 30 day time period. Nonetheless, there are some savings accounts that have far more restrictions when it comes to withdrawal frequency. As a general rule, the better account provides a consumer with a greater level of flexibility when it comes to the number of withdrawals permitted during a 30 day time period without financial penalties being imposed on the account holder.

Account Interconnections

Another consider to bear in mind when seeking the best savings account for 2015 is the ability to interconnect such an account with another account (or accounts). For example, some consumers appreciate the convenience of linking a savings account with a companion checking account. Not all institutions offer this type of arrangement as a matter of routine.

Credit Card Options

Finally, in selecting the best savings account for 2015, there are institutions that offer an associated credit card with favorable terms when it comes to a particular account option. Many people appreciate having the ability to has different types of financial products associated with a common account at one financial institution.

Best Retirement Account for 2015

Planning for retirement can be easier than you may think. The sooner you get started; the more financial security you can accrue. A way to get started is with this straightforward knowledge of these vital retirement accounts.

Individual Retirement Account

An Individual Retirement Account, IRA, allows you to contribute a specific amount each year investing these contributions tax deferred. You also do not pay taxes on the yearly investment gains allowing them to grow more rapidly. You do not pay the income taxes until you withdraw your money when you retire. You can deduct contributions you make to your IRA on your income tax return each year if you do not contribute to a 401K retirement account at work.

Since the IRA is an investment account, you can invest the money in it in bonds, stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and other types of investments. Buying and selling investments within the IRA is also possible. However, if you try to get cash before you’re 59 ½ years old, you will undoubtedly have to pay a ten percent penalty and also be answerable to local, state and federal taxes.
IRA accounts can be opened by you at a bank or brokerage house. You can open an account in person or online. Be sure to have your social security number available as well as the social security numbers of your beneficiaries.

2015 IRA updates include:

  • For 2015, IRA contribution limits will remain at $5,500 for at least one more year. If you are 50 or older, your contribution for catching-up remains at $1,000 since it is not indexed for inflation.
  • If you have a 401 (K) or other retirement plan at work, you are limited as to what you can deduct of your IRA contributions. For single filers earning between $61,000 and $71,000, IRA deductions are phased-out in 2015. For those filing jointly, the range of phase-out is $98,000 to $118,000. If your spouse is covered, but you are not, the phase-out range is $183,000 to 193,000 in 2015.

Roth IRA

Contributions to a Roth IRA are made after you have paid taxes on the income. However, the money you generate from your investments is never again taxed. Additionally, you are able to withdraw money from your Roth IRA contributions before your retirement age without having to pay penalties. This allows you to invest your extra cash and give yourself an incredible tax break in the future.
A Roth IRA is an outstanding opportunity for retirement planning due to its tax-free growth potential. It is especially suitable to:

  • Persons not able to receive employer 401 (K) matching contributions
  • Persons who are able to save more than their employer’s matching contributions.

Roth IRA 2015 Update:

The limits for Roth IRA contributions will increase in 2015. If you earn too much money, you will not be allowed to contribute to a Roth IRA. The Roth contributions’ phase-out income range for a single person in 2015 will be between $116,000 and $131,000 with an increase of up to $2,000. For couples filing jointly, the phase-out income range will be $183,000 to $193,000 also with an increase of $2,000 over last year.

401 (K) Account

A 401 (K) is an employee benefit. This type is an account of your workplace. It provides you with an opportunity to contribute a before-tax portion of your paycheck and place it into this investment account that is tax deferred. You are not able to begin this type of account on your own since it has to be offered by your employer.

An advantage of this pre-tax contribution is the lowering of the income amount your taxes are based on. For instance, if you earn $100,000 and you contribute $10,000, you are taxed at that time only on a $90,000 income. In addition, your investment grows until you reach retirement.

Withdrawing money from this account before you reach retirement age will require you to pay a penalty of 10%. You could also be required to pay local, state and federal income taxes. To avoid the penalty and taxes, some employers provide 401 (K) loans.

The biggest benefit of the 401 (K) is the employer matching of your 401 (K) contributions. An employer’s matching contribution can, however, be “vested”. In other words, it is not always 100% yours immediately. It can be “vested” in one of the following ways:

  • Immediate – With this type of vesting, you gain total ownership of your employer’s matching funds the moment it lands into your account.
  • Cliff Vested – A cliff vesting employer matching contribution gives you 100% ownership after a specific period of service time. If you leave their employment before that period of time is over, you may lose the entire matching contribution. There is a limit of three years to this service requirement placed by federal law on qualified plans such as 401 (K) or 403 (b).
  • Vesting Graded – With graded vesting, you gradually increase your ownership of your employer’s matching contributions as your service length of time increases with a final result of 100% ownership. Federal law places a six-year maximum time of service of graded vesting retirement plans.

Other 401 (K) Type Accounts:

  • 403 (b) – Similar to a 401 (K), this type of account is available to educators and nonprofitmaking employees.
  • 457 – These are available to employees of the government.

Other Types of Retirement Plans

  • Roth 401 (K)
  • Simple IRA – With this retirement plan, employees of small companies make pre-tax paycheck contributions withdrawals allowing the money to grow with its tax deferred until retirement.
  • SEP IRA – This type account is only available if you are self-employed with no employees. With a SEP IRA, you can contribute a portion of your earnings to a retirement account of your own deducting them fully from your income taxes.

These are a full scope of investment possibilities for retirement. To begin retirement planning, a 401 (K) is a good starting point for tax-deferred growth, but a Roth IRA is also great for saving extra cash for retirement or special events.

Best Checking Account for 2015

Acquiring a checking account is one of the easiest methods of protecting the money you earn. When considering opening a checking account it is important to choose one that will afford you the most benefits. It is best to get a checking account that will work for you while costing you little to no money to maintain. Read on to find out what factors will ensure that you get the best checking account for your financial needs.

Features of a good checking account

A good checking account will offer options that allow you to bank more efficiently. Look for a checking account that has no monthly fees, low minimum amounts, pays interest on every dollar you spend, and a large no fee ATM network.

Finding an account with no monthly fees can be a challenge, but are not impossible to find. Having no monthly fee will give you peace of mind, that no matter how low your balance gets you will not incur bank charges. Often times checking accounts that have no monthly fee, require that a minimum of transactions are met each month. This quota is generally a number that can easily be met with two to three transactions per day. Since you will be issued a debit bank card when you open the checking account, you will use it to make most if not all of your purchases.

Be careful to find a checking account that has a low minimum requirement before opening the account. You’ll want to ensure that you will be capable of maintaining the account balance. As with no monthly fees, you can often times find checking accounts without a minimum account requirement as well.

Some banks offer interest payments on the balance in your account especially if you can maintain a higher balance. Select a bank that offers the best interest rate possible. Keep in mind that on-line banks tend to offer higher interest rates than traditional banks.

Choose a bank that has a large network of ATMs so that you can have access to your money with no added fees. Choosing a bank with plenty of ATMs will make it more convenient for you to gain access to your money when you are on the go. If you select a bank that has a smaller ATM network, choose one that reimburses fees for using banks outside of the network.

The Benefits of a Credit Union

A credit union is a popular alternative to traditional banking. Unlike banks, credit unions only service members who can join by meeting certain eligibility requirements like, place of employment, residential status or civil organization affiliation. Although eligibility requirements seem strict, most people will qualify for membership. Credit unions are often a favorable choice because they often charge lower fees. These lower fees often remain constant over a longer period of time in a credit union.

In addition to charging lower fees, credit unions are not for profit organizations. Since credit unions are not for profit, the money credit unions earn is filtered back to the members in order to offer higher interest rates on account balances.

Another benefit of choosing a credit union is the high level of customer service. Credit unions are able to implement more customer specific strategies that don’t depend on sales, or bureaucratic issues.

Credit unions also help banks improve the services banks provide, due to the high level of satisfaction of its’ members. Credit unions offer a full range of services similar to that of banks. The better credit unions perform, the more banks need to compete to retain and attract new customers.

Why a Checking Account is Vital

Minimum balances, account fees, ATM networks, and interest rates, can seem overwhelming. This apprehension can cause an avoidance of opening a checking account. Before you decide on this course of action consider the importance of having a checking account.

Your money is protected in a bank. Despite uncertainty in the financial market, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will insure your money up to $100,000. As previously stated, earning interest on your money is a benefit that can only be attained if your money is in a checking account.

Many people are better able to manage money with the use of a checking account. Receiving pay checks by direct deposit makes getting paid much easier. Paying with check cards eliminate the tedious process of writing checks and balancing checkbooks.

Along with easier money management, checking accounts offer simpler options for paying for products and services. Using a check card to pay for purchases on line offers convenience with a wide variety of online retailers.

A checking account is also vital for the protection against theft and other damages. If your wallet or purse is lost or stolen, you can immediately have the card deactivated in order to avoid unauthorized transactions on your account. You can then, have a replacement card issued. Victims of theft very rarely see cash money returned to them, even if the burglar is apprehended. In the case of a fire or natural disaster, leaving large quantities of cash in the home will be lost indefinitely.

Managing your finances well is important to securing your financial future. Now that you know what options are available, don’t hesitate to secure your money. Whether you select a traditional bank or credit union you are certain to increase your financial stability.

Best Health Insurance for 2015

Finding the best health insurance for 2015 is crucial to every consumer’s well-being. Consumers will want to take the time to compare policies and read the material in the fine lines that determine different features and coverage. The following is some advice for elements to look for in an insurance policy:

Special Services

The first step a person should take before choosing an insurance policy is creating a list of the services that he or she needs. Obviously, the person will need to visit the doctor when he or she feels ill. However, some policies cover special services that other policies do not cover. The person will want to create a list of necessary special services such as emergency room care, rehabilitation services, mental health assistance, immunizations, preventive care, prenatal care and so on. The consumer will want to check with several providers to see if they offer such services. Additionally, he or she will want to read the guidelines and requirements for each of the services.

Monthly Premium

The second most important aspect of health insurance is the monthly premium. Monthly premiums can be as low as $50 a month or as high as $600 a month. The amount of the premium depends on the number of covered individuals and other factors such as the deductible, which is another important figure in finding the best health insurance policy. The shopper will want to choose a plan that fits perfectly into his or her budget.

Deductible

A deductible is a monetary amount that a covered individual must pay before the insurance company makes any payments toward the services. A deductible may be as low as $50 or as high as $2,500 and beyond. A low deductible is every person’s desire. However, a consumer may need to choose a policy with a high deductible just to have a low premium or vice versa. Budgeting and financial planning play a significant role in a person’s health insurance choices.

Copays

A copay is a covered person’s contribution to the treatment. For example, a covered person may have to pay the first $10 for a prescription, and the insurance company will cover the rest. A person may have to pay the first $20 for a doctor’s visit or the first $75 of a hospital stay.

Network Size and Stipulations

A person who is shopping for health insurance will want to obtain knowledge on the different types of policies. An HMO or health maintenance organization plan has benefits and disadvantages. The benefit of such plans is that they carry low copays and deductibles. An HMO will usually offer such features as preventive services and routine checkups. The downside of an HMO plan is that the covered party can only receive care from network providers. Additionally, visits to the specialists often require referrals.

A PPO or preferred provider network plan is a little more flexible than an HMO plan is. In other words, the covered person can receive help from an out-of-network provider. However, the copays and deductibles may change in such a case.
POS or point of service insurance is similar to an HMO, but a person can use it as PPO, as well. The option to see out-of-network providers is available for an extra charge.

An indemnity plan is special plan that offers covered persons a discount on services that they receive. They can visit any provider they would like to visit, and the discount remains the same. Some people refer to indemnity plans as fee-for-service plans. Many consumers prefer these plans because of the freedom they have for healthcare providers.

Which Option Is Best for Whom?

The best health insurance plan will be different from one person to the next because of personal needs and situations. For example, a person who frequently moves may want to obtain an indemnity plan because of the flexibility. A person who has a limited income will want to choose an HMO because of the low premiums. An individual with an existing condition will want to select an HMO or PPO policy through the government market via the Affordable Care Act. The person could obtain an insurance policy through an employer, as well. Persons with children will want to choose plans that offer immunizations and preventive services (HMO). A thorough self-assessment is required before an individual can choose “the best” health insurance plan.

A broker can help a consumer to find an insurance plan, as well. A broker is a neutral party that earns a living by connecting people with “the best” insurance companies for their needs. Some of the top health insurance providers for 2015 are Aetna, CIGNA, Blue Cross, United Healthcare, Human, United and Allied Coverage. An interested consumer can begin with that list and start researching each provider for options that match his or her needs. Alternatively, he or she can request that the broker do such.

Best Car Insurance for 2015

If you drive a vehicle you know the importance of having adequate car insurance. Selecting the right company for your car insurance needs, will save you valuable time and effort. The following companies have the highest customer satisfaction ratings. These ratings are based on; overall rating, claims processing, customer recommendation, coverage options, and financial strengths. Read on to find the company that is right for you.

USAA

Founded in 1922 United Service Automobile Association (USAA), began as an insurance company that offered insurance to army personnel. Over ninety years later, USAA offers automobile insurance coverage for enlisted military personnel, spouses, widows and widowers of military personnel, and their children in both the United States and Europe. USAA has an A++ rating, with a 95% customer retention rate. If you are an active military personnel, or have an honorable discharge, USAA can meet your car insurance needs.

State Farm

Popular for coining the “good neighbor” slogan, State Farm has been providing car insurance since 1922. Originally formed to provide auto insurance to farmers in rural areas and small towns in Illinois, State Farm now has 18,000 agents serving customers in the U.S. and Canada. Headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois, State Farm instituted one of the first discount programs to students who received good grades in school. State Farm has an A++ rating with a 93% customer retention rate.

Farmer’s

Farmer’s insurance was originally formed to provide insurance for farmers and ranchers. Today Farmer’s insurance customers base spans across the United States. Farmer’s insurance was the first insurance company to offer a discount for hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles. Farmer’s has an A rating with 89% of its customers planning to renew their policies.

Geico

Geico was founded in 1936 as the Government Employees Insurance Company. The founders primarily targeted federally employees and military officers. Today, Geico has more than 11 million policy holders nationwide. Most famously known for the talking geico, and cave man, Geico insurance is one of the most recognized insurance companies. Geico has an A++ rating with 92% policy renewal rate.

Nationwide

The “on your side” company originated in 1925 out of Columbus Ohio. Its whopping 40 story headquarter building is the single largest office building in central Ohio. Nationwide was the first insurance company to offer discounts to its customers who completed a driver safety course. Nationwide implemented incentives for customers who wear seat belts. Nationwide has an A+ rating, with 76% of its customers willing to recommend the company to someone else.

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual started in 1912. Liberty Mutual created safe-driving manuals for high schools, a practice that is still being instituted today. Liberty Mutual is the sixth-largest auto insurer in the United States. Liberty Mutual continues to provide special auto insurance coverage for teacher’s vehicles, personal teaching and school owned vehicles. Liberty Mutual has an A rating with 4 1/2 stars for customer service.

Allstate

All State is ranked on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies in the United States. Allstate’s slogan, “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate” is well known across the United States. Allstate offers discounts according to your age, driving record, where you live, and your vehicle’s safety features. Allstate is rated A+ and has 5 stars for value for the price.

American Family Insurance

With over 80 years in existence, American Family Insurance has over 3,500 agents in over 19 states. Located in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance is the fourth largest insurer, consisting of 10 companies totaling over 17.3 billion dollars in assets. American Family Insurance is a mutual company since its customers are its owners. Similar to Allstate, American Family Insurance offers discounts according to age, driving record, where you live and your vehicle safety features. American Family Insurance, has an A rating with an 88% customer retention rate.

Progressive

Progressive is an insurance company known for several firsts. The leading feature that differentiates Progressive from other insurance companies is its all inclusive coverage policy. Progressive offers coverage to drivers of all types, including those considered high risk. Progressive also provides response vehicles to their customers to render services. Progressive also has a concierge service that assists customers in finding vehicles and financing for those vehicles. Progressive offers discounts for buying policies on-line and for purchasing more than one policy. Progressive has and A+ rating with five stars for value for the price.

Travelers

Travelers insurance was created in the mid 1800’s from the merge of two companies. Travelers got its name because it initially insured travelers who used the risky travel of trains and steamboats. Today Travelers insurance is not only limited to travelers, but covers drivers of all kinds. Travelers offers discounts for safe driving records, low mileage, payment of policy in full, good students and driver training. Similar to other leading insurance companies, Travelers offers discounts for the safety features of your car. Drivers of hybrid vehicles also receive a 10% discount. Travelers has an A++ rating with 90% policy renewal rate.

There are times when a substitution can be just as beneficial as the name brand. When considering which company to use for car insurance, choosing the best one should always be your goal. The companies listed abovehave a proven track record for satisfying customers, while providing a highquality ofinsurance benefits for its customers. Regardless of the company you choose, selecting one of the best will give you peace of mind, that your car will be covered by a company with millions of satisfied customers.

Where to Invest in 2015

Assuming you have a considerable amount of money in your bank account, you may be thinking how to invest it with 2015 right around the corner. Contrary to what most people think, investing money isn’t as risky as it seems. As long as you consider all the potential outcomes and have the best available information, it’s very possible to tip the scales in your favor and achieve success.

2015 looks very auspicious in terms of the global economy overall, which means smart investors with a keen sense of passion to make money in the coming year are going to experience great success. The following investment ideas aren’t complicated or hard to understand so you can immediately get busy implementing them. However, be sure you carefully review each aspect and seek expert financial advice if you feel you need it before you sign on the proverbial dotted line.

Stock Market Investments

If the idea of investing in the stock market peaks your interest, you’ll need to actually study the market first. Even though the market itself is fairly easy to navigate, it doesn’t protect you from potentially losing your money. It’s crucial to thoroughly understand how it continually fluctuates and what causes those fluctuations. But, if you’re careful, it’s definitely possible to double your money in a relatively short amount of time.

Land Investments

Investing in land can be very lucrative, particularly if you’re smart enough to pick the right location. Look for key land plots that are ideal for property development. By doing so, it’s likely you’ll get multiple offers from major companies that want to build homes, commercial buildings, or other kinds of establishments. And, because you’re the owner of the deed, it’s up to you to set your best price for which you’ll sell it. On the other hand, your investment could be seen as a long term investment since you may not receive any offers for a very long time, even years, depending on the location of the land and who wants to buy it. But, the good news is the longer you wait to sell, the higher the profit you can potentially make from it.

Local Area Business Investments

More new businesses were launched in 2014 than the past five years, which indicates that many companies have a strong desire to invest. Assuming you have a substantial amount of cash to invest, choosing a local business to help increase their business could be a smart move on your part. How profitable does the business appear? By investing in solid new businesses, you stand a very good chance of enjoying very profitable returns. With our list of business ideas, you could even start your own!

Got an extra $5,000 cash? Here’s what you can do with it:

You’re backup emergency fund is covered, your debts are paid off, and you’ve manage to save an extra $5,000 cash that you looking to invest. Should you put it in an exchange-traded fund, index fund, certificate of deposit, or a mutual fund? Before you get too far ahead of yourself, carefully consider how much you’re willing to risk and the fundamentals of investing first.

First, ask yourself at what point you’ll need that money to spend. In other words, how long of an investment do you want to make? In general, investing money is indeed a long-term concept, which for most people means at least five years but very often more than ten.

In order to help you decide how to invest your extra cash, asking an experienced financial expert may be the best way to go. Financial experts often recommend options for both long and short term if you want to grow your investment to retire on later down the road.

1. Long Term Investment

Investors with a number of years to still invest in can afford to risk a greater return by investing their cash in the stock market. Mutual funds are a relatively easy way for investors to access a wider range of various stocks. However, if choosing certain stocks is difficult for you or makes you uneasy, you can relax. By choosing actively managed funds, your fund manager takes the load off by making all the financial decisions on your behalf, including which companies are set to grow or undervalued, and which sectors in the economy are the best to invest in. Keep in mind though that mutual funds incur fees; on average a 1.26 percent annual fee. Money experts advise against purchasing any mutual funds that have an expense ratio greater than 1 percent overall.

2. Short Term Investment

The ideal place to put your money in the event you need to access it quickly is a convenient online savings account. Overall, they offer the best returns compared to what most brick-and-mortar financial institutions offer. Currently, the returns are very comparable to a CD, minus the penalties for early withdrawal.

These ideas should give you a good starting point to think about in terms of investing a bit of extra cash in 2015. It’s important to remember to do your homework first and consult the experts on anything you don’t understand. Who knows? 2015 could financially be your best year ever.

Best Investments for 2015

When it comes to investing, it’s all about putting money into something that could have a higher yield to it. Each year varies depending on what’s hot right then and there, since the investment market changes from one year to the next. Something that might be great to invest into this year may not necessarily be the right choice for 2015. For the average person looking to invest in 2015, you need to know what options are available to you, and then decide which one is the right one for you to make. Taking it slowly with your investments and not jumping the gun will prove to be more beneficial in the long run.

Why Invest in 2015?

2015 is proving to be a wonderful year for those looking to invest their money. The slight financial slump many of us had seen in 2014 is beginning to dwindle, and it’s a prime time to put money into a solid investment that will bring you more money in the future. Certain types of investments are pretty straight off the bat and begin giving you a yield right away. Others may take years for you to begin seeing any type of profit, so it’s important to stay patient and realize that most investments are well worth it long-term.

Investing money is an ideal option for both the young and the young at heart. Whether you’ve just turned 20 and want to begin making money off of new investments or you’re nearing retirement age, it’s never too late or too risky to consider investing. The key is to enter any investment slowly and with a careful eye. If you notice that you’re spending more on the investment than its worth, it may be time to find another alternative to meet your needs.

The Best Ways to Invest in 2015

Real Estate

Real estate is proving to be a wonderful investment for the average person, and it is only continuing to get popular. Many people who invest in real estate either do so to flip over the house and resell it, or they might rent it out to tenants who bring in a monthly income. When it concerns investing into real estate, you need to be very careful with what you’re choosing. If you don’t have the immediate funds to spruce-up a fixer-upper, you don’t want to buy a house that needs a ton of work. Also, renting can be detrimental in its own right, since many landlords have issues with tenants who either pay their rent late or don’t pay at all. This investment is ideal for those who do their research and homework before jumping the gun.

Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are professionally managed, and so they are a wise investment for beginners and experienced investors alike. You can create an investment account with many well-known companies, either locally or online, in order to begin investing into a mutual fund. There are a lot of funds available, so it pays to do adequate research to figure out which one is right for you. Keep a close eye on any fees and charges that come along with putting money into the fund as a shareholder.

Stock Market

The stock market is still booming, and many people are beginning to invest their own money into it. High-risk stocks are great for those who are more experienced or want to make quick cash without waiting. Low-risk stocks tend to accumulate money slowly, but they are a wise decision for the beginning investor. There are many sites available online where you can create your own investment account and begin putting money into stocks. Be sure to check your stocks regularly to see how they are doing, as you can buy, sell or trade stocks if you feel the need. There are many stock-watch apps available to you on smartphone and mobile devices.

Art and Antiques

While you may go zooming past the local antique store on your way to work each day, investing in art and antiques can be a wise decision on your part. Having a bit of knowledge about antiques can help, but you may be surprised to find that something you find at a garage sale is worth a lot more than you paid for it. The same theory can apply to art pieces, especially if the artist becomes quite famous after your purchase.

Gold and Silver

Gold and silver prices are continuing to fall, which makes both of these metals prime investments for just about anyone. Buying gold and silver should be done carefully, as you will want to make sure you’re purchasing the items from a reputable dealer. You should also consider storing these metals in a safe spot or in an account that handles these things, since the price of gold and silver is becoming more valuable than real money in many areas.

Yourself and/or a Small Business

It is never too late or too foolish to invest into yourself. You can do this by continually putting money into a good savings account that accumulates interest each month, or by opening a small business online or locally that you can continue to grow. When investing in yourself, be sure to create a budget and financial plan that works for you. Many small businesses tend to fail when they are brand new, so enter this investment carefully before putting too much money into it.

By making a wise investment decision for the year 2015, you’re doing something that is beneficial to your financial standing. Choosing the right investment can be difficult, but be sure to consider each one mentioned above as a viable option. From there, you will be able to start putting your money into funds, stocks, accounts and bonds that yield more money over time, giving you the chance to see that you had made the right investment decision when it really came down to it.

Summer Jobs for 2015

College and high school students wanting to work during the summer of 2015 should consider their job options far in advance. There are particular job categories that screen employees several months before summer arrives. Students should start to collect their vital information to write a professional resume as soon as possible to avoid competition for jobs at the last minute. The highest paying jobs with excellent benefits are the most competitive with literally hundreds of qualified applicants for each position. For unskilled or entry-level positions, an employer may receive thousands of applications from high school and college students.

One: Camping Careers

Jobs in the camping industry have always been popular with students because the jobs typically include housing. Many students want to live away from home throughout the summer months to enjoy their independence. Overnight and day camps want to hire young adults or teenagers who are physically strong enough to take care of campers of a variety of ages. College and high school students interested in future careers as educators often like to add working at a camp on a resume to assist in finding future employment. Camps are looking for employees who know about a variety of outdoor sport activities such as swimming, boating and hiking.

Two: Restaurant Careers

Almost every high school or college student works in the restaurant industry at some point in time. During the summer of 2015, many restaurants need to hire additional employees because of increased business. Selecting a job in the restaurant industry offers perks such as free or low-cost meals, uniforms and flexible hours. Most restaurant managers are willing to work around a student’s other summertime activities such as going away with their parents on a vacation. Jobs in restaurants include working as waitstaff, preparing meals or cleaning tables. Students interesting in future careers as chefs or restaurant managers can learn a lot during the summer.

Three: Cinema Careers

Students interested in the entertainment industry can apply for jobs at movie theaters located at shopping malls and other locations. Because many individuals have the summer months off from work or school, they go to movies more often. Modern cinemas need employees who can multitask at a variety of jobs, including selling tickets, ushering or preparing snacks. With experience and great work ethics, a high school or college student can advance to an assistant management position. Students with an understanding of technology might want to work in the movie projection room.

Four: Theme Park Careers

Large theme parks located in year-round warm climates hire additional employees for the summer due to receiving more visitors. Jobs are available in a variety of areas, including wearing costumes, operating rides or performing maintenance tasks. There is also a wide assortment of jobs behind-the-scenes such as preparing meals in kitchens, working as maids in overnight lodging or transporting visitors from crowded parking lots to entranceways. It is not always necessary for a high school or college student to travel to a faraway location to work in a theme park because many are open only during the summer months in other areas of the United States.

Five: Retail Careers

Retail establishments also hire more employees in the summer due to having more customers. There are jobs available in different types of stores, including grocery, clothing and hardware. College and high school students with a specialized interest in technology can apply to work at stores that sell computers and software. Students with knowledge of literature might want to work at a bookstore instead. Stores need employees to operate cash registers, stock shelves and provide customer service. Employees proving themselves as dependable can often advance to more lucrative positions as nighttime or weekend managers.

Six: Business Careers

Large corporations often want to hire college and high school students as temporary employees during the summer. Full-time employees frequently take vacations throughout the summer, leaving offices short-staffed. This is an excellent opportunity for a student interested in accounting or business to network with more experienced workers in a real-life environment. These short-term jobs might include filing papers, typing documents or running errands but are a good way to determine if working in this career is the best plan. Businesses frequently begin looking for college educated interns many months in advance.

Begin Summer Job Hunting Months in Advance

High school and college students need to begin thinking about summer careers far in advance due to their busy schedules. Communicating with perspective employers can take weeks or months of back and forth emails or letters to provide appropriate documentation. Depending on the job location, students need to supply a well written application, professional resume or criminal background documents. Contacting teachers, professors and former employers for personal references is also helpful to secure a fantastic summer job for 2015.

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