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New Debt and a New to Us Car

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I am going to sit down this weekend and put together a post on all my existing debt, I realize it is long overdue.  Unfortunately, I did have to accrue some new debt this past weekend.  I had to buy a car.

Back Story

About two years back, I got a great deal on a used car. We put miles on that car with all the back and forth between Virginia and Georgia over the past year, almost daily trips to the gym and now about 100 miles a day between my work commute and an hour drive one way to the gym…our used car served us well.  But about 7 weeks it died.  We have been making due with one car (my son’s 1996 Honda Accord) and borrowing a car (my Grandmother’s) one time a week when three of us had to be in different places.

The Search

I’ve spent the last 7 weeks trying to get by, and trying to determine the best plan moving forward and trying to save more money thinking I might could by a used car with cash. I have learned that I HATE car shopping and I hate the game of car shopping.

The Car

I settled on a 2011 Chevy Impala with 63K miles on it for $10K out the door (including everything, no other out of pocket costs.)  My uncle found it for me, knows the previous owner and made sure it was in good shape. It has new tires, new brakes and so on. Rather than cleaning out the emergency savings I have, I financed the entire $10K at 7% interest for 3 years.  My goal is to pay it off in 2.  I have scheduled payments of $400 a month automatically to start and will go up from there. (The required monthly payment is just at $308.) My uncle delivered it to me from Virginia and I am paying him back the $178 he paid for the tow trailer rental.

Conclusion

This is not the car of my dreams. It’s not one I would have even considered. But the price is right, it came with full service records, it’s a good size for our family while being reasonable on gas for all my driving and I am assured I can get 200K miles out of it if taken care of.  I spent a lot of time figuring out the best plan.

2011 Chevy Impala

Literally within the hour of driving away with this car this past Saturday, another tragedy struck our little family. More on that tomorrow.


Get Your Business Rolling!

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As a small business owner, one of the many challenges that I faced was financing. I think I speak for others when I say that business loans are one of the biggest challenges for SMBs today.

The reason I say this is that banks are tightening their requirements when it comes to approving individuals for business loans. Regardless, you need capital to grease the wheels of your business.

So, I got thinking. Where is the best place to apply for a business loan?

Remember, chance favors the prepared mind. So, I set about doing my research on precisely what I need the money for, what loan would best suit my needs, and which lender could best accommodate me.

Every business needs liquidity to stay operational. But when you’re applying for a loan, you need to have a blueprint of how that loan is going to help your business grow.

As a small business owner, I have to think carefully about the specific type of loan that I need. Since there are so many lenders out there, cost becomes an important consideration.

The terms and conditions of the loan (payback period, interest rates, early payoff penalties etc.) are paramount. Naturally, your credit score is going to come into the reckoning as well.

Fortunately, I maintained a credit score of around 770 for quite some time, thanks to regular repayments of my bills, low credit utilization, and a rather limited number of inquiries for additional lines of credit.

Over the years, I learned that one of the best ways to manage your credit score is to diversify the types of credit that you have available. In this vein, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, credit cards, and store credit will help you.

When you are managing your credit, you want to be sure that you shop around for the most appropriate business loan. I like to use credit loan aggregators services since these allow me to do comparative shopping.

Once you’ve got a short list of lenders, you can start to narrow them down even further according to the types of services they offer.

As I said earlier, I am in the process of expanding my business operations. I want to branch out into other cities by marketing my home-based business on the web. To do this, I need to create video retargeting content, increase my marketing budget, and employ the services of SEO experts.

Fortunately, I’ve been in business for several years now and this makes it easier to apply for a loan. As soon as you have a history of revenue streams, you are looked at more favorably by banks and non-bank lenders.

I’ve seen many of my friends being turned down because they were relative newcomers to the scene, and still operating in their first year of business. Remember this: Lenders want to see your ability to repay the loan, and this is why startups face so much pressure all the time.

If you’re wondering about different types of small business loans, consider that you can use different types of credit facilities. These include crowdfunding, microloans, business credit cards, and even loans from friends and family.

I don’t recommend the latter option since you don’t want your personal relationships to sour if your business does. My for-profit business has been fairly stable over time, and I needed to expand operations to keep on growing.

I didn’t want to go the bank route since I didn’t want to provide collateral. Banks typically take a little bit longer to approve loans than non-bank lenders, and that may work for some people.

The average SBA loan ranges between $5,000 on the low end and $5 million on the high-end. Small businesses like mine find it a little more difficult to get loan approval because our revenue streams are so much lower.

That’s the reason decided to go with a non-bank lender over the Internet. When you’re looking for quick funding options and smaller lives of credit, you can certainly go with an online lender. I secured a loan of $45,000 through online lenders at a rather favorable repayment term.

My business’s turnover is $65,000 per annum, which fits rather snugly into the requirement zone of $50,000 – $150,000. Be sure that you are within that range when you are applying for a small business loan.

FYI: before you apply for your small business loan, I recommend getting a free copy of your credit report from any of the top 3 credit reporting agencies. You can also use your credit card provider’s website to check your personal credit score.


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