Five Benefits Of Paying The Bondsman’s Fee

A bail bond helps you cover the cost of your bail so that you can leave jail until your trial date. Although the bond is returned to the bondsman by the court, you do not get a refund of the fees you paid. Is it really worth it? Should you even bother getting a bail bond? Yes, you should, and here’s five reasons why:

1. Financial Assistance

If you don’t have the cash to post bail, and you get help from a bondsman, you pay a fee for this service just like you pay a fee for any other financial product. For example, you pay interest on mortgages, and you pay a fee on payday loans. The fee is well worth the financial assistance you are getting.

2. Ease of Use

In some cases, the courts may accept a property title in lieu of cash. However, finding those documents and submitting them to the courts can be a difficult process. When you get a bail bond instead, you save yourself the hassle of dealing with alternative payment methods.

3. Personal Responsibility

If you don’t post bail, you will have to stay in jail until your trial, and that can be hard on your children and the rest of your family. By working with a bondsman, you can return to your life and take care of your personal responsibilities.

4. Trial Preparation

If you arrive at your trial looking clean and well rested, it will make a better first impression on the jury. You will also have the ability to meet with your lawyer outside of a jail to go over your legal strategy. Paying the bail bond fee buys you the time that you need for trial prep, and it gives you the chance to sleep in your own bed, rather than with one eye open in a jail cell.

5. Family Considerations

If you work with a bondsman, you don’t have to turn to your family for help. This approach is financially less complicated, and it takes potential strain off your family relationships. Rather than asking your family to post bail for you, consider how much less complicated it would be to just pay a small fee and work with a professional

Bail bonds require you to pay a small fee, but in exchange for that fee, you get a number of things that you need. For more details on how bonds can help you, contact America Bonding Co. or a similar company. These professionals will guide you through the entire process.

Need Money? Tips For Getting The Highest Price When Selling Gold

If you need cash and have some old gold coins or jewelry items, you could sell them to get the money you need. You could take them to a business that offers cash for gold, or you could mail them to a company that buys gold. This problem is finding a company that will offer you a fair price for your gold. This is especially hard to do if you do not know much about gold, but here are some tips that may help you understand how much your gold items are worth.

The Current Value

Gold.com is a website that records the value of gold every day. It reflects the value in ounces, and you can see the value in many different currencies. During June, 2014, the value of gold was around $1,270 per ounce, but this does not mean that you can sell your gold for this amount.

You should be able to get 90% to 95% of the value of the gold, according to Kiplinger. Companies that buy gold pay less than this because they must make a profit when they resell the gold.

You should also realize that the price of gold fluctuates, and this too could affect the price you get for the gold you have.

Gold Buyers vs. Pawn Shops

While pawn shops love buying gold, they generally will not offer prices as high as gold buyers. This is because gold buyers understand the gold market more thoroughly. They know how to appraise items, and they know what to look for.

You are likely to get more money for your gold if you sell it to a gold buyer. This could be a store that offers to buy gold, or it could be an online gold-buying business.

How To Know What You Have

As you look at your gold items, you may have no clue what features to look for, but the features of the gold have a direct correlation to its value. Here are some ways you can find out the type of gold you have:

  • Get an appraisal from a jewelry store. You may have to pay to have this done, but it will help you get more for it.
  • Weigh your gold. You can use a small kitchen scale to weigh your gold items, and this can tell you how many ounces you have. While your scale measures in standard ounces (28 grams per ounce), most gold buyers measure in Troy ounces (31.1 grams per ounce).
  • Look for the purity – pure gold is equal to 24-karats, but most items are not pure. Real gold items generally have inscriptions on them, and this will tell you how many karats the gold is.

Finally, ask about the prices offered on gold before you sell. Get a few different quotes before selling it to get the most cash for gold that you can. 

4 Important Tax Write Offs For The Self-Employed

Small businesses and the number of self-employed people continue to rise in the United States. According to statistics, some 52 percent of small business owners work from home. If you’re looking to quit your day job and branch out on your own, you need to understand the tax implications that come with the territory. Since you’re now responsible for more of your finances than ever, use these four tax write-offs to your advantage and keep them in mind as you operate your small business. 

Tax Write Off For The Home Office

Since the majority of self-employed people work from home, it is important to realize that you are able to receive a deduction when you file. The home office tax credit allows you to deduct portions of your rent or mortgage. This deduction is based on a ratio of your entire square footage and the square footage of the room or work area. This is the most common tax write off used by self-employed professionals. 

Materials Used In The Course Of Business

Now that you work for yourself, it’s important to keep receipts for everything that you purchase. Any item used in the course of your business can be written off, even if it is something as small as a box of paperclips. Some of the following materials are commonly written off:

  • Computer software and hardware
  • Printer ink and paper 
  • Waste baskets and service
  • Pencils and pens
  • Light bulbs and fixtures

You will be able to save a lot of money in this regard, as long as you keep accurate records. 

​Travel For Business

If you travel by vehicle or air for your business, you’re able to write it off on your taxes. The current mileage reimbursement rate per mile is 56 cents. So if you drive 100 miles, you’ll receive a deduction of $56. However, you cannot write off both miles and cost of gas and maintenance, so you’ll need to choose one or the other when filing your taxes. 

Additionally, any business-related flights can be completely deducted, so keep any receipts for airfare. 

Utilities And Subscriptions

When you use electricity, gas, internet, cable and other services in the course of your business, you’re able to write off the bill, or portions of it on your taxes. Make sure that you set aside a private line for your phone, so that you’re able to deduct the bill and furnish proof that it was used for business. 

With these four tax write offs, you are empowering yourself as a business owner and lightening your load for when tax time arrives. For more tips, contact a tax preparation service like Timmer Accounting and Tax Service LLC.

Bond Jargon: Understanding Bond Terminology

If you have an investment portfolio, you likely own bonds. However, just because you own bonds doesn’t necessarily mean you understand how they work. Many investors are often confused by bonds because they seem to have their own language. Bond investors and financial planning professionals use words like par, coupon, and yield. Those words can sound technical and complex.

Bonds are actually very simple investments. They’re loans that you make to a company or organization. In return, the company pays you interest. You can either hold the bond until the end of its term and get your principal back or you can sell the bond in the open market.

In those terms, a bond may not seem too confusing. However, start talking about the bond’s yield or credit rating and, all of a sudden, a simple investment suddenly feels very complex. Defining those terms can take the mystery out of bond investing and help you better understand just what is in your portfolio.

  • Par. The bond’s par value is the amount that is returned to the bondholder at the end of the bond’s duration. Many bond’s have $1,000 par values, which means the bond holder gets back $1,000 when the bond is complete.
  • Coupon rate. The bond’s coupon rate is the interest paid stated as a percentage of the par value. For example, assume a bond has a $1,000 par value and pays $50 in interest every year. You would then say that the bond has a five percent coupon because $50 is five percent of $1,000.
  • Price. This is the price that the bond would sell for on the open market. Bonds are traded on a market just like stocks. Their price can fluctuate as demand increases and decreases. For example, a bond with an attractive coupon may sell for much higher than its $1,000 par value because investors want the high coupon payment. Similarly, if there’s little demand for the bond, it could sell for less than its par value.
  • Yield. Again, this is the interest that the bond pays. However, this time it’s stated as a percentage of the price rather than a percentage of the par value. It’s a quick way to know what kind of return you’ll get if you buy a bond. For example, if a bond pays $50 every year in interest and is selling for $1,100, it has a yield of 4.545 percent. If that same bond was selling for $900, it would have a yield of 5.55 percent.

Bonds don’t have to be confusing and they should be a part of your portfolio. You can learn more about the bonds in your portfolio by sitting down for a consultation with an investment advisory service like Tegeler Advisory. A financial services professional can help you understand your bond holdings and make suggestions on whether your should make any changes. 

Credit And Mortgages: How To Increase Your FICO Scores To Qualify For A Jumbo Loan

As the price of homes on the market continues to skyrocket, home buyers are finding it hard to qualify for a jumbo loan from a place like Norwood Bank. Your mortgage lender will place heavy emphasis on your FICO scores before signing off on a loan. Most lenders require a score of 700 before you can get approved for a jumbo loan. Read on to learn how to increase your scores from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax as much as possible to save on interest when you finally close on your loan. 

1. Pay off your credit card balances as much as possible. About 30 percent of your FICO scores are calculated based on how much debt you are in. Pay your balances down to under 10 percent of your credit limit on each individual credit card. Don’t worry about installment loans; those balances won’t affect your utilization like credit card balances do. 

2. Attack the negative entries on all three credit reports. These negative entries could be late payments or collection accounts that are bringing down your scores.  If you have late payments on any credit account, contact the creditor through a letter and ask for a goodwill deletion. Essentially, you will ask them to delete the negative entry as a one-time courtesy. Many lenders are receptive to such letters and will delete them for you.

In addition, contact any collection agencies on your credit report and ask for a PFD (Pay for Delete) on any accounts that you have neglected to pay. Your creditor will get the money and you will get the negative entry off your credit report. 

3. Become an authorized user on a credit card. FICO 04 scores, which are used to qualify home buyers for mortgages,  weigh authorized user accounts generously as long as the cards are old and have no late payments on record. Ask a friend or family member to add you onto such a card so that you can gain the positive history on your credit reports. Remember, not all banks report authorized user accounts to the credit bureaus. Ask the bank before signing up to make sure that they do. 

4. Don’t apply for any more credit. Mortgage lenders don’t like customers opening new accounts within six months of applying for a mortgage. In addition, the act of applying for credit will ding your score. Credit inquiries on your reports can cost you several points based on your unique credit profile. Avoid credit card or loan applications. 

Conclusion

Increasing your FICO scores for your jumbo loan will take some patience and persistence. Talk to your mortgage lender for more tips and for information about other underwriting guidelines.