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Entrepreneurs – The Cost of Starting Out

October 17, 2018

Starting a business can seem overwhelming, but it takes the right kind of person. For many entrepreneurs, money can be their biggest concern. You’ve got the dream, but you don’t have the dollars. People will often look for assistance using commercial loans to gain the money needed to get started, but what if you already owed thousands of dollars? Let’s take a look at the cost of starting a business with student loans. In this example, we’ll use a pizza place.

 

Research and Planning

Before you begin investing your time and energy into a business, understand if and where there is a need for it. Where is there a lack of pizza places? Once you’ve determined a good area where there will be demand for the product look at your competitors. Look specifically at, prices, marketing, branding, and style. Now take a look at the median income for the neighborhood and surrounding towns that your pizza place would be located in. Is it a lower-income neighborhood or a higher-income neighborhood? Understand the area and price your product accordingly.

Now that you have a better understanding of what you’ll need to start your pizza place create a business plan. If you’re in need of additional funding for your business this business plan will be of the utmost importance. There are different formats available for business plans, some more traditional while others are fairly brief. Be sure to check online for samples.

 

The Cost of Business

Know what your expenses will be. Identify what those expenses are. The SBA has a list of expenses for starting businesses. These expenses include office space, equipment, supplies, utilities, licenses, permits, inventory, lawyer, salaries, marketing costs, and website costs. Once you have a list of your expenses, estimate out how much you’ll need to spend on each. Check out this handy worksheet that illustrates the starting costs for a pizza place.

The SBA expense calculator provides an estimation of $18,975 as the starting costs for a business. The estimation includes one-time expenses like equipment, security deposits, and legal fees and monthly expenses like rent, insurance, and advertising. Every business is different, but typically there is some type of investment that must be made upfront.

Now don’t forget that if you’re looking to start a business you can use some “startup costs’ as tax deductions. Tax deductions* per the SBA site include costs to get your business operation ready and costs of investigating the creation of a business. Once you have an idea of your expenses and what is tax deductible, you’re onto step two.

 

FUN-ds

Here is the “fun” part where many young entrepreneurs get caught up – getting the funds. Not only do younger entrepreneurs not have the dollars but, they owe thousands in debt. That thousand dollar debt is likely due to student loans. According to a recent survey, nearly half of Americans considering starting a business said that student loans were a major barrier to entrepreneurship. Refinancing student loans can help. When refinancing you may get a lower rate or change the terms of the loan. It can help lower your monthly payments, sometimes significantly, giving you more cash in your pocket.

Once your personal finances are in order (decreased student loan debt) figure out how much capital you can put towards your business. For this particular step, we’d recommend working with a financial advisor. By self-funding your business you will take on all the risk of the business, not to mention taking funds from all your accounts resulting in penalties. Instead of self-funding the capital fully, try crowdsourcing, small business loans which you’ll want to research heavily to assure you’re receiving the best rate or finding investors willing to provide capital.

If you take money from an investor for your pizza place, it’s a venture capital investment. This type of investment is usually offered in return for a share in the company and some sort of power position within the company. Therefore, if you do take on venture capital investments understand that the business is no longer just yours.

 

Naming

Once you’ve gained the funds you’re well on your way! Next, you’ll set up the internal structure for your business, register the name for your pizza place, set up your Tax IDS, and get the appropriate licenses. Licenses are usually industry, location, and state-specific so be sure you’re working with a legal team to meet all appropriate criteria or it could end up costing you. All decisions will have an impact on how your company functions, so be sure that you’re taking every necessary precaution and good luck in your journey.

Refinancing may not be the solution to all of your money problems, but it’s a step in the right direction. When you’re starting out, all it takes is to get going on the right path to continue moving forward. Don’t forget to open up a business bank account to help organize your business funds from your personal funds. Similarly to refinancing you’ll want to choose a bank with transparency, credibility, and great service.

 

Facts About Student Loans That Will Save You Money

*Please note Education Loan Finance is not a registered tax professional.

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2020-02-12
What the New FICO Score Changes Mean For You

Are you apartment hunting, trying to refinance your student loans or thinking of applying for a new credit card? If you ever needed the motivation to care about your credit score, this is it. Your FICO score is going to be an important factor when trying to do any of those things. Recently, Fair, Isaac, and Company, the company behind FICO, announced that changes will be made to how the score is calculated. Keep reading to find out about the changes and what they could mean for your FICO score. 

 

What is a FICO score?

The FICO score is a scale used to determine a person’s creditworthiness or risk. The score is used by potential lenders, such as banks and credit card companies. A FICO score ranges from 300 to 850, with a score of 700 or higher being considered good. A score of 800 or higher is considered exceptional. The average FICO score in 2019 was 703. 

 

A person with a higher score is regarded as being less risky to lend to than a person with a lower score. Your FICO score can determine whether lenders will lend to you, as well as the terms of the loan, such as your interest rate. The interest rate on credit cards, student loans, car loans, and mortgages are all affected by your credit score. A higher interest rate can sometimes cost you thousands of dollars more over the life of a loan. A FICO score may also be considered when applying to rent an apartment – for example, a low score may require you to pay a higher deposit.  

 

A FICO score is determined by assessing the following, among other factors:

  • A person’s payment history
  • How much debt a person has compared to how much available credit they have
  • The total amount of debt a person has or their debt-to-income ratio
  • The length of credit history

Typically, if you maintain a debt-to-income ratio of 30% or less and make on-time payments to your credit cards and loans, you can work towards a high score. If you’re ready to start improving your credit score now, check out our good credit-building guide.

 

New FICO Score Changes

The new changes coming to FICO are known as FICO 10 and are set to go into effect in the summer of 2020. They include:  

  1. Lenders will be able to look at payment history two years back as well as account balances. This will demonstrate to lenders whether you are an occasional credit user or someone who consistently maxes out credit and hardly makes payments back.  
  2. It will be noted if a person is taking out personal loans, and this could potentially negatively impact a person’s credit score. Personal loans may be considered riskier since they are unsecured loans, unlike mortgages and auto loans where your asset is the collateral for the loan.  
  3. Late payments and high credit card debt compared to a person’s overall credit will also more negatively affect a person’s score. 

Based on the new FICO 10 model, it is estimated that 110 million consumers will not see a significant change to their score, if at all. It is also estimated that 40 million people may see an improvement to their score by more than 20 points, and 40 million others may see their score reduced by more than 20 points. 

 

What it Means for You

It is unclear when this latest FICO 10 model will be utilized because it is up to the individual lenders to determine what model they use. Some lenders are still utilizing FICO 8, which was released in 2009. Therefore, these FICO changes may not mean much for you now but could be significant in the future.  

 

These new FICO changes could help your credit score if you have a credit card balance that is occasionally high but you pay off the full balance monthly. However, if you are one of the 40 million people whose credit score is negatively impacted by this change, this may cause you to receive higher interest rates when applying for loans. If this is the case there are options:

  • Try finding a creditworthy cosigner for your loan.  
  • Try strategies to improve your score and apply after you have raised your score. 
  • Refinance if you already have a loan, but now have a higher score.

If you have student loans and the new FICO model increased your credit score, you may be eligible for a lower interest rate on your student loans through student loan refinancing, thereby potentially saving you thousands of dollars. Do your research to find the best student loan refinance companies with low-interest rates, flexible terms, no application fees, and great customer service. Also, be sure to compare the student loan refinance rates from different lenders to find the lowest student loan refinancing rates available. Student loan refinancing can be an easy process and can potentially replace your high-interest loan(s) with a lower interest rate. 

 

Want to find out if student loan refinancing is financially right for you? Check out our student loan refinance calculator to see your potential savings. At ELFI, we have no application fees, no origination fees, and no prepayment penalty. When you apply for student loan refinancing, you receive a personal loan advisor to help answer any questions and guide you through the process of refinancing.*  

 

If you have student loans and your FICO score dropped, continue to make on-time payments and try to not take on any more debt. Refinancing may still be an option since different lenders require different minimum scores. However, if you are unable to refinance now, refinancing may be a good option in the future once you have demonstrated consistent on-time payments.

 

Bottom Line 

FICO models may change, but the basic principle is the same: try to reduce any debt you have and make on-time payments. 

 

Need additional help with raising your credit score? Check out these 5 habits for good credit score hygiene.

 
 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. 

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

2020-02-11
10 Cities With Best Job Markets

By Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

Once you graduate and start looking for a job, you may realize that your hometown isn’t the best place for your career. You may think about relocating to a new state to get the right job, but it’s a huge decision.

 

Where you live can have a big impact on your income and quality of life. Depending on your field, some cities can be better for your career than others.

 

To help you narrow down your search, we looked at Indeed’s Best Cities survey to identify the top 10 cities for job seekers.

 

10 Cities with Booming Job Markets

In its survey, Indeed looked for cities with low rates of unemployment, a prevalence of highly-rated companies, high average salaries, and low competition for jobs. With that research in mind, these are the 10 cities it identified with the best job markets:

   

10. Salt Lake City, UT

Utah’s economy is one of the fastest-growing in the country, and that’s largely due to Salt Lake City’s rapid development. While the U.S. economy grew as a whole by about 3%, Utah’s economy grew by over 4%.

 

Salt Lake City has become a hub of technology, with many tech and bioengineering companies relocating their operations to the area. Compared to other areas like San Francisco, Salt Lake City’s real estate market is relatively inexpensive, making it attractive to both companies and workers.

 

The unemployment rate is 3.1%. On average, workers in Salt Lake City earn $66,000 per year, which is significantly higher than the national mean wage for all occupations.

  Related >> Best Cities for Young Professionals  

9. Washington, D.C.

Known for its politicians and lawmakers, the Washington D.C. area is also the strongest economy in the entire United States. It’s home to over 400 international associations and 1,000 international companies, including 15 Fortune 500 companies, making it a prime spot for job seekers.

 

Total non-farm employment for the area grew by 52,300 jobs — or 1.6% — over the course of a year. That number outpaces the national employment growth rate.

 

The average salary in Washington D.C. is $75,000 per year — $24,000 more than the national mean wage.

   

8. Oklahoma City, OK

The economy in Oklahoma City is rapidly changing. In the past, industries like mining and manufacturing were the leading employers in the area. Now, transportation, construction, and leisure and hospitality have taken over and dominate the job market.

 

The unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and overall job growth is at 2.5% with 15,900 jobs added.

 

In Oklahoma City, the average salary is $58,000. While that’s lower than the salaries of some cities on this list, Oklahoma City has a much lower cost of living, so your income will go further.

   

7. Milwaukee, WI

Like Oklahoma City, Milwaukee’s economy has seen significant changes in recent years. Industries like mining and manufacturing declined, while leisure and hospitality is a booming field.

 

In the area, job growth increased by 1.6%, and unemployment reached 3.2%, which is slightly below the national average. According to PayScale, the average salary is $63,000. However, Milwaukee has a lower cost of living than other cities, so your income is even more valuable.

   

6. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

The Minneapolis-St. Paul area has lower-than-average unemployment and is seeing significant growth in a number of industries. The biggest industries include trade, transportation, and utilities, education and health services, and professional and business services.

 

The average salary in Minneapolis is $69,000, far higher than the national mean wage for all occupations.

   

5. Nashville, TN

The city known for its culture and music is also one of the fastest-growing economies in the country. It has more than 1.9 million residents and over 40,000 businesses in it. The biggest job opportunities are for workers in the service industry, including restaurants, hotels, and skilled construction workers.

 

The unemployment rate in the city is just 2.7%, which is far lower than the national average. The biggest employers are the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nissa North America, and HCA Healthcare, Inc. However, Amazon recently announced that it would build a center in Nashville, bringing 5,000 jobs to the area. This development would dramatically change the city’s employment landscape.

 

The average salary in Nashville is $61,000, but the city has a lower-than-average cost of living, making your salary worth even more.

   

4. Birmingham, AL

Birmingham boasts an extremely low unemployment rate at just 2.2%. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of total non-farm jobs grew by 1.9% in 2019.

 

Healthcare and banking are two of the biggest industries in the city, with major employers like the University of Alabama at Birmingham, BellSouth, and the Baptist Health System hiring workers.

 

The average salary for Birmingham workers is $59,000. While that’s relatively low for a city on this list, Birmingham’s cost of living is much lower than other cities, making the salary more valuable.

   

3. Boston, MA

Workers in historic Boston can command high salaries. The average salary for workers is $76,000.

 

The city also has unprecedented job growth. According to a GlassDoor report, Boston’s job listings grew by 8.4%, the highest in the country. The biggest employers are primarily in three industries: health care and social assistance, finance and insurance, and educational services. The largest employers are Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Boston University.

 

Boston also has an extremely low unemployment rate. At just 2.1%, it’s significantly lower than the national average.

   

2. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco is a hotly-desired area for job seekers. With an incredibly low unemployment rate — it’s just 1.8% — and big-name employers calling the area home, it’s easy to see the appeal.

 

The job growth rate is 2.4%, outpacing the national average. The biggest employers in the area are Advent Software, California Pacific Medical Center, and Charles Schwab.

 

The average salary in San Francisco is a whopping $95,000. However, the high income is tempered by the fact that San Francisco has a higher-than-average cost of living, cutting into how far your salary can go.

   

1. San Jose, CA

At $99,000, San Jose has the highest average income of any city on this list. Like San Francisco, its cost of living is higher than normal, but that salary is still impressive.

 

San Jose’s unemployment rate is just 2.2%, and non-farm jobs have grown by 2.9%. The area is home to hundreds of technology and research firms, including big names like Apple, Lockheed Martin, and the Stanford School of Medicine.

 

Maximizing Your Income

Deciding to relocate can have a big impact on your income and, consequently, your student loan repayment. If you do move to another state for a great job and secure a pay increase, you’re a prime candidate for student loan refinancing and you can get a low interest rate on your loan. You can get a no-obligation quote from ELFI without affecting your credit score.*

   
 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

young professional smiling after receiving a raise
2020-01-22
How to Use a Pay Raise Responsibly

Getting called into the boss’ office for the first time can feel a little reminiscent of getting called into the principal’s office. You immediately start sweating and wondering what you did wrong. But just like the principal's office, it's not always bad news. In fact, sometimes it's the best news of all: you just got a raise. Congrats! Take yourself out for a celebratory dinner and maybe even splurge on brunch this weekend. But come Monday morning, it's time to get down to business and determine how to use your raise.    You could just enjoy the extra cash coming into your checking account, yes. But, that little financial angel on your shoulder might also nag you about being smarter with that money. Unfortunately, most high school and college classes don’t teach us how to be responsible with our money. We learn all sorts of questionably-practical information like the Pythagorean Theorem but not how to file taxes or how to use a raise responsibly.    To cover that gap in information, we’re here with three actually practical suggestions to use that raise in a way both your principal and your boss would be proud of.   

3 Practical Tips to Use a Raise Responsibly

 

1. Boost Your Retirement Savings

If your employer has a 401(k) plan, you should already be allocating 3–5% of each paycheck toward a retirement account, especially if your employer offers a 401(k) match. This means they’ll contribute as much to your savings as you do, up to a certain amount. Many employers match contributions up to 6% of your salary, and this is, literally, free money. If you contribute 3% of your $50,000 salary, that's $1,500 a year from you and $1,500 a year from your employer for retirement savings.    When you get a raise, you should adjust your paycheck to dedicate a portion or the full amount of that raise to your 401(k) contributions. This is an easy way to save more without much thought or effort needed. If you do this right away, you don’t get used to the extra money, and you just continue living and paying bills as you did before the raise.    If you’re young, this type of contribution can be especially rewarding because of a concept called
compounding interest. This means the interest on your investment earns interest, not just the principal (or original) balance. If you invest $1,500 with a 10% interest rate, your balance would be $3,890 in 10 years. With a simple interest rate that only builds on the initial investment amount, your 10-year balance would be only $3,000.   

2. Pay Off Debts

Another savvy way to use your raise is to allocate a portion or the full amount to your debts. This can be credit card debt, student loan debt, or even repaying a personal loan from mom and dad. But debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Certain debts like student loans carry low interest rates so when you consider how to use your raise, consider that other accounts or investments with higher interest rates might make or save you more in the long run. For example, if your student loan has an interest rate of just 8%, it makes more sense to pay off a credit card with a 24.5% interest rate or invest in a stock with a 10% return rate.    >> Related: Should I Save or Pay Down Student Loan Debt?  

3. Allocate the Rest to An Emergency Fund

We alluded to this before, but you don’t have to put all your extra cash in one place. If you get a 5% raise, you can direct 4% toward your student loans and put even 1% in an emergency fund. You should build the emergency fund until you have at least six months of your salary in the account to help you cover bills and general living expenses in case you find yourself suddenly out of work. If six months seems unattainable, aim for at least one or two months to give you four to eight weeks to find work. This emergency fund can also come in handy if unexpected medical bills or car repairs pop up.    If you haven't been lucky enough to get a raise from your employer, or if you’re looking to boost your savings even more, you can give yourself a raise by refinancing student loans.    If you meet the eligibility requirements, student loan refinancing through companies like ELFI can get you a lower interest rate*, which means you could pay less each month and, subsequently, less over the life of the loan. Use the difference between your previous and current monthly payments as a raise. Then allocate that money to your retirement funds and toward paying off debts. ELFI customers reported saving an average of $309 every month and an average of $20,936 in total savings after refinancing student loans with Education Loan Finance.1 That’s a 7.4% raise, which is far above the predicted average 2020 cost-of-living raise of 1.6%. You can refinance both private and federal student loans.    Deciding how to use a raise responsibility is a big decision. Hopefully, with these tips, you can find ways to use those funds in a way that will give you even more play money in the future. The average raise is 4.6%, and with a little knowledge and discipline, you can turn 4.6% into thousands of dollars if you make the right choices on how to use a raise responsibly.  
  *Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.  

1Average savings calculations are based on information provided by SouthEast Bank/ Education Loan Finance customers who refinanced their student loans between 8/16/2016 and 10/25/2018. While these amounts represent reported average amounts saved, actual amounts saved will vary depending upon a number of factors.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.