Hub Blogs

Hub Blogs contains fresh contributions written by Financial Independence Hub staff or contributors that have not appeared elsewhere first, or have been modified or customized for the Hub by the original blogger. In contrast, Top Blogs shows links to the best external financial blogs around the world.

5 small business ideas you can start for under $10,000

By Emily Lil

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Have you ever dreamed of opening up your own small business but wondered where you’d find the capital to do so? It turns out that there are scores of businesses that require no more than US$10,000 to start. With such a low start-up investment, there is no excuse to wait before launching your dream business.

1.) A Cleaning Business

All you need to start your own residential cleaning business is a mop, a vacuum, and some bulk cleaning supplies. Develop a game plan and begin by cleaning residential spaces. When you’re ready, commercial clients tend to pay greater hourly rates. Cleaning services make up a billion-dollar industry. Advertise in your local newspaper or register your business with Amazon Services to help customers discover you more quickly. When business is booming, consider embracing the high-paying niches in the cleaning market, such as bio hazard cleaning and commercial janitorial services. While these jobs require more complex equipment, they could lead you to earn a six-figure salary.

2.) Gardener

If you’re an avid and successful home gardener with a wide knowledge of plants and an artistic eye, garden consulting may be the perfect start-up for you. Garden consultants are typically paid by the hour to work with home gardeners, answering questions, and guiding decisions. You may also be asked to develop a cohesive plan including what types of plants, soils, and rocks to incorporate into a garden. If you’re planning on becoming a full-time garden consultant, work on developing a portfolio, advertise in local directories, and develop meaningful contacts. You’d be surprised at how many people desire to skip traditional landscaping services for a more in-depth informative service like garden consulting.

3.) Freelance Writer

If you’re a skilled writer, you can start a home-based business with little to no start-up investment. Continue Reading…

Ask Tyler: Should I sell my stocks, given the North Korea situation?

By Tyler Mordy, Forstrong Global

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Diversifying Fire & Fury

What danger does the North Korea situation present for global investors? Clearly, Trump’s indulgence in nuclear brinksmanship carries risk. Pyongyang potentially firing missiles at US territory in the Western Pacific is also real. And there is a global existential threat should it ever escalate into intercontinental warfare.

Yet, rather than add to the volumes of prognostications about North Korea’s specific situation, consider the track record of major events and their impact on markets.

Most geopolitical events are false alarms

First, most geopolitical events are false alarms. As card-carrying members of the change-anticipation field, we understand the desire to divine the big events: to be first to spot the outlines of a looming disaster can be glorious (and career-enhancing).

But most warnings are false alarms simply because big turns are rare events. Remember Y2K, Saddam Hussein’s so-called “weapons of mass destruction” and, recently, Brexit? None of these widely-feared threats materialized or they delivered benign outcomes.

Second, more often than not, geopolitical events create opportunity. Rummaging through past post-crisis periods produces a long list of stellar returns after the initial event. For example, the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 was a 13-day confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union, widely considered the closest the Cold War came to full-scale nuclear warfare.

However, after the crisis subsided, the Dow went on to gain more than 10% that year. Or take the Korean War, when the North invaded the South. This conflict lasted from June 1950 — July 1953. During that time, the Dow was up an annualized 13.6%. History is brimming with similar examples.

Such events often have binary outcomes

Finally, geopolitical events may have binary outcomes. By this we mean that a negative scenario would either produce an extremely large portfolio loss or gain. There is no knowing which ahead of time. As such, narrowly focusing on one type of risk is speculative at best.

Continue Reading…

Sharing mortgages with unequal incomes

By Alyssa Furtado,  

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

When you decide to buy a home with another person, there’s a good chance there will be a difference in your incomes. Whether the difference is big or small, it raises questions about how expenses will be split up. Two people with unequal incomes getting a mortgage together is a very common occurrence: couples make up a vast majority of homebuyers. But you can also buy a home with a friend or family member.

If you’re planning on sharing a mortgage with someone else, here’s what you need to know to make it work.

How will the home be owned?

If you’re purchasing a home together, you need to discuss how the ownership will be structured. If you’re a married or common-law couple, you’ll probably opt for what lawyers call joint tenancy. Both parties share a 100% stake in the property and both are fully responsible for everything related to the home, including the mortgage, taxes, and maintenance. If one partner dies, the other becomes the sole owner of the home.

If you’re buying with a friend or family member, you might opt for what lawyers call tenancy in common. With this structure, each person owns a separate share in the property and is responsible for their share. If you’re planning on being tenants in common, and one of you earns a higher income, you’ll need to discuss how that affects each partner’s ownership stake in the home and who will be responsible for what payments.

Who pays for what, and why?

When making decisions about how to share expenses, couples in joint tenancy usually take on equal responsibility. Since both partners are 100% owners of the home, finances are joined and mortgage payments are made using a joint account. Household income is the only thing that matters in this situation. Couples have to work together to make decisions about their budget to ensure the mortgage, property tax, and maintenance costs are all paid.

For tenants in common, you can choose to split up ownership and expenses a few different ways:

Continue Reading…

India’s ambitious renewable energy plans

By Caroline Grimont

(Sponsor Content)

Greater access to electricity — one of the pillars of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reform program –is powering increased economic activity, enhanced efficiency and improved productivity in India.

Modi has pledged to achieve universal electrification in India by the end of 2022; and to make increasingly greater use of solar power. In fact, India hopes to derive at least 40% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030.[i]

Although India is the 6th largest country in the world in terms of power consumption,[ii] almost 300 million of its people, particularly in rural areas, did not have access to 24×7 power supply prior to Modi assuming office. As of June 30, 2017, 14,834 census villages out of 18, 452 have been electrified.[iii]

Even as it expands the production of coal-generated electricity, India has started ramping up its solar capacity and hopes to generate 100 Giga Watts of solar energy by 2022, which will make it one of the largest users of solar power in the world. This will help to bring sustainable, clean, climate-friendly electricity to millions of India’s people.

“The world must turn to (the) sun to power our future,” Modi is reported to tell the 2015 COP21 climate conference in Paris. “As the developing world lifts billions of people towards prosperity, our hope for a sustainable planet rests on a bold, global initiative.”

And to support India’s solar power ambitions, the World Bank has approved a $625 million loan that will support the Government of India’s Grid Connected Rooftop Solar program by financing the installation of solar panels on rooftops across India. The project draws funds together from the Bank, as well as from the Clean Technology Fund of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), and will mobilize additional funding from public and private investors.[iv] Continue Reading…

4 emerging family-friendly Condo trends

By Penelope Graham, Zoocasa

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

It used to be that high-rise living was the domain of young professionals and couples; those who were happy to sacrifice outdoor and living space if it meant dwelling close to all conveniences of the downtown core.  However, as real estate prices in Canada become less affordable for the average family, the idea of “moving up” in the market has taken on a whole new meaning.

Priced out of traditional low-rise homes in the biggest urban markets —  prices hit $707,269 for Toronto townhouses in July while all home types rose above the million-mark in Vancouver– those with kids in tow are increasingly embracing the condo lifestyle. That means the industry —  from developers to municipal planners — is taking notice.

Here are four emerging trends we’ve noticed as condos become more popular with growing families.

Demand for larger units

Not so long ago, micro-units –- apartments under 500 square feet — were considered the future of condo dwelling. You could fit loads of them onto a floor-plan plate, and young homeowners and renters enjoyed their sleek and modern aesthetic. Now, though, the pressure is on developers to increase their unit sizes and to include more multiple-bedroom units in their builds.

Continue Reading…