Secured Versus Unsecured Loans — And Ways You Can Wield These Powerful Tools
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What's the difference between a secured and unsecured loan, anyway? Knowing the difference — and the best way to take advantage of each — can help you choose the right loan type for your life goals.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

6 Ways to Snag a Low Mortgage Rate Even If They Suddenly Jump Higher
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Over the past year, mortgage rates have been relatively steady near their all-time lows. This has continued to benefit existing homeowners who wish to refinance their mortgages. And has exacerbated an already too-hot housing market. But there has been increasing talk of rate increases, with the Fed eyeing a possible taper to its bond buying… Read More »6 Ways to Snag a Low Mortgage Rate Even If They Suddenly Jump Higher

The post 6 Ways to Snag a Low Mortgage Rate Even If They Suddenly Jump Higher appeared first on The Truth About Mortgage.

5 Ways Businesses Adapted To COVID-19
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In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic presented the most significant challenge that most business owners had seen in their lifetime. While the challenge was too much for some businesses to continue operations, those that were able to weather the storm and reinvent their business practices are well-positioned to capitalize on the rebounding economy. The following breakdown looks at 5 ways that businesses adapted to COVID-19 and how these adaptations will serve the business in 2021 and beyond.

1. Creation of Continuity Plans

When it comes to planning for personal financial health, people budget to have at least six months of expenses saved up in cash in the event of an emergency. Yet, when it comes to running their business, these same people were woefully ill-prepared to handle the COVID-19 crisis. As the pandemic was developing in March 2020, a Gartner, Inc. business continuity survey revealed that just 12% of respondents felt that their business had an adequate risk management plan in place. This led to mass layoffs, revenue shortfalls, and selling of businesses and business assets for pennies on the dollar.

As the economy begins to emerge from the pandemic, businesses are much better equipped to handle the next crisis, with 87% of small and medium business owners feeling confident that their crisis management plan is in a better place than at the start of 2020. Part of the beefed up continuity plans that have emerged include how to seamlessly transition to remote work, processes for fulfilling customer needs through a variety of mediums, and ongoing business valuation efforts should the need to sell a business arise.

2. Digital Marketing

The pandemic put some serious stress on most businesses' marketing budgets. When you consider that it costs a leading company like Netflix about $44 to acquire a single new customer, the strain that this created for many businesses becomes apparent.

Thus, businesses are turning to digital marketing solutions to help control costs while reaching the broadest audience possible. Paid search and SEO have become particularly popular because, after a relatively modest initial set-up cost, web searches essentially help generate free traffic. Businesses have also doubled down on their social media marketing efforts and have begun to host more digital events, such as Zoom webinars and product demonstrations.

3. Multi-Channel Distribution

With customers forced to boycott physical stores during the pandemic, many businesses were left with no way to get their products into the hands of consumers. As a result, the pandemic created a delivery-or-die culture in which businesses were required to bring their products directly to consumers in order to compete.

Unfortunately, many businesses had a poor delivery infrastructure in place and were forced to pay through the roof for couriers, eating as much as 20% of delivery costs in order to make the final price tag palatable for customers.

With months to iron out the situation and work with professional third party logistics companies to help handle complicated last mile delivery scenarios, businesses are able to offer their products through a number of channels, including in-store purchase, online order pickup, and delivery. For service-based businesses, companies are increasing their number of outdoor offerings and having service providers travel to customers' homes, when feasible.

4. Enlightened Schedules

The expedited shift to remote work is arguably the most pronounced change to business wrought by the pandemic. However, supplementary to the increase in remote work is the fading away of the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule.

While the pros and cons of remote work is a topic of heavy debate among professionals, a Pew Research study found that 49% of professionals reported feeling like they had greater say in creating their own schedule as a result of the pandemic, an important consideration for working parents and multi-income households.

Although this has created some challenges for businesses in keeping their firms fully staffed during peak hours, the migration away from the traditional 9-to-5 has helped businesses adapt to peak performance styles and retain top talent, with reporting that 66% of millennials being likely to consider leaving a job that does not support schedule flexibility. This makes the enlightened schedule a pandemic trend that is here to stay.

5. Innovative Compensation Plans

Restricted revenues led many companies to cancel bonuses, freeze cost of living raises, and reduce the hours of some employees during the pandemic. And even though the economy is expected to grow by as much as 6.5% amid subsiding lockdowns in 2021, it will still take some time for businesses to make up lost ground from the revenue they missed out on in 2020.

Therefore, businesses that are continuing to struggle to pay employees their former salaries are turning toward innovative benefits packages to help their positions appeal to professionals, with offerings such as counseling sessions, free childcare, and gym memberships a few of the examples of contemporary lifestyle benefits. Although companies may have used this as a means of bridging the gap to when revenues return to normal, there is evidence that such modern benefits packages could be here to stay.

Wellsteps reports that those companies that take steps to improve employee well being are much less likely to experience losses due to mental and physical health than those who do not.

5 Travel Stocks to Buy in a Tricky Environment
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The COVID-19 Delta variant has thrown a wrench into 2021's travel recovery. But these travel stocks still offer plenty of promise.
11 Top Healthcare ETFs to Buy Now
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Healthcare ETFs, such as these 11 funds, patch investors into an area of the market that offers both defensive properties and long-term growth.
Build-to-Rent Single-Family Homes: Who Wants Them and What They Expect
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Thinking about renting a built to rent home? Here's what you need to know.

The post Build-to-Rent Single-Family Homes: Who Wants Them and What They Expect appeared first on The Blog : A Renter’s Guide for Tips & Advice.

Crude Oil Futures – What Are They and Should You Invest in Them?
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Learn more about the basics of crude oil futures - including what they are, who should invest in them, pros & cons.
12 Questions Retirees Often Get Wrong About Taxes in Retirement
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You worked hard to build your retirement nest egg. But do you know how to minimize taxes on your savings?
Complete Guide to the Volume Weighted Average Price Indicator (VWAP)
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Complete Guide to the volume weighted average price indicator (VWAP)

What Is Volume-Weighted Average Price (VWAP)? The volume-weighted average price indicator (VWAP) is a short-term trend indicator used on intraday charts (time frames that occur throughout the day, e.g., 1 minute, 5 minute, 1 hour, etc.). It measures the average price of a stock weighted by trading volume and shows up as a single line. […]

The post Complete Guide to the Volume Weighted Average Price Indicator (VWAP) appeared first on SoFi.

6 Beautifully Boring Dividend Stocks
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Instead of popular but volatile stocks, owning under-the-radar defensive gems will let you sleep at night.
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