Author Archives: Evan

Illinois Has a Big Unemployment Problem

Illinois has an unemployment problem. Greedy and incompetent politicians ran the state into the ground. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Illinois’ average unemployment rate as 6.01 percent. The nation’s average was 4.85.

A leading factor in the unemployment problem is the state’s financial woes. Illinois has more than $14 billion in unpaid debts, a running deficit of $6 billion, and a pension liability that is $130 billion. Moreover, the state hasn’t passed a budget in two years, which has sunk its bond rating.

Surviving the Financial Crisis

It’s a terrible situation for the state’s unemployed population. If you’re unemployed, you’re urged to apply for Illinois unemployment as soon as possible. It’s one of the few state-funded programs that receives funding, because unemployment funds are in special reserve. The Department of Employment Security collects unemployment insurance from employers, and it’s used only to pay unemployed workers.

You may find that unemployment benefits are the only benefits the state can provide. It’s a dire situation in Illinois currently. Social service agencies are closing shop. There is little funding to provide low income people with temporary assistance, such as food stamps or cash assistance.

Historically, unemployed people would attend universities or community colleges with state-provided grant funds. The state’s universities aren’t receiving enough funding, and their enrollment numbers are way down. If going back to school was in your plan, you may find yourself paying out of pocket for some (if not all) of the costs.

Before you write off furthering your education, consider what federal funding is available to you. In 2009, Obama increased Pell grant benefits. This may be enough to fund your higher education.

Managing Your Finances

Plain and simple the state is hemorrhaging money, so what can you do to get back on your feet? You can become a better money manager. If you have some savings, try not to touch it. Try to rely only on the money coming in if you can, and try to spend as little as possible.

Create a budget and use it to determine how you’re spending money. You’ll need to quantify your daily spending and determine exactly where to make cuts. Eating out, extraneous shopping, and cable television may need to be cut so you can survive this difficult time.

That doesn’t mean you should suffer, but try to limit treats. If you and your spouse went to dinner and a movie once a week, try reducing date night to once a month and doing one or the other. Dinner at home and then a movie; or, dinner at a restaurant and a movie at home.

It goes without saying that now isn’t the time to make any big new purchases; however, you could renegotiate the cost of the expensive things you already own. You could consider refinancing your auto or home loans for lower cost payments and reduced interest rates. If your credit score is good and you have a history of paying on time, you could be a candidate for refinance.

You should communicate your unemployed status to all your creditors, including any credit cards you may have opened. They may be willing to lower your payment, or they will defer payments for a period of time (usually 90 to 180 days). If you’re able to get deferments, your credit score will not be affected.

Don’t stop looking for employment. The state’s unemployment program will help you in your job search, but you can help yourself, too. Set up Google alerts for open positions in your field. Although the state is broke, it’s not completely broken. Some programs are still functioning, so find out which government programs are available and contact them to see if you qualify for help.

 

Starting a Business

Many individuals have a dream to start their own business. They have a business idea and want to make their dreams come true by starting their entrepreneurial adventure. Ideas, business sense and time are all required to make this happen but a major factor in starting a business is money. A lot of money is needed to jumpstart your ideas.

Some people are blessed with already having startup funds either by saving, inheritance or previous success. However, for most of us, it is required to take on a source of debt to start your business. Below are examples of different sources to help you in your journey.

Loan

The most popular form of debt for a business to start is a loan. Most loans are an offered product from a bank but some people take on loans from investors.

When an individual or business offers funds for you to borrow, it can be referred to as a loan. When someone does this they typically ask for a percentage of ownership in the business. They are taking a risk on your idea and think you will succeed so ask for this in return.

If you do not have individuals lending you money, you must go to a bank to acquire a loan. There are many things you need to consider when you apply for a business loan. In order to be approved for a loan, you and your business need to have good credit. If you do not have good credit than you may not be approved or you may receive a high interest rate. In some cases, business owners have people co-sign the loan in order to allow them to be approved. It is also important that you evaluate if your business should even take on the debt. Taking on debt is a major responsibility and can affect your credit if not paid back in a timely manner.

Credit Cards

An easier form of funding for a business is a credit card. The total dollar amount will be smaller than a loan but it can help you afford smaller start up costs. The application process is a lot easier than applying for a loan, however the standards as to which you can be approved are similar. You still need to have good credit. It is best to shop around for the best interest rate and rewards to make it the most economical.

Line of Credit

Another form of debt that can be acquired to start your business is a line of credit. A line of credit is basically a combination of a loan and a credit card. You are approved for a sum of money and you can tap into it/pay it back however you like. An advantage to this product is its flexibility. Your business can be approved for a certain amount but you do not necessarily need to use it. This means that you only spend the money that you need to and aren’t tempted to spend the whole lump sum.

Overall, there are many resources out there for businesses to tap into. If you have a business idea and want to follow your dream, look into any of the products above to help make it happen.

What do you need to do to maintain your swimming pool?

When the weather is hot, it’s great to be able to just jump in the pool and splash about. A swimming pool can also be an excellent place to get the exercise you need. Of course, you need to actually enjoy spending time in the pool, and this is only going to happen if you make sure that it’s a healthy and safe place to be. In order to do this you need to maintain your pool on a regular basis.

Let’s take a look at some of the actions you need to take, in order to keep your pool in good condition. If you do this, then you have a focal point of your outside space, where you can socialize and have fun.

1. Make sure you have a cover for your pool. This needs to be used when the pool is not in use for a period of time. It helps to stop debris from falling into the water.

2. Rake your pool each day. When the pool is being used regularly, and the cover is off, you should rake out any debris each day. If you do this job daily, it only takes a couple of minutes. While you are doing this, it’s a good idea to take some time to use a garden rake to rake the leaves from around your home too. Leaves help to create pools of moisture which attract pests to your property. Clearing the leaves is an effective means of pest control. So, it makes sense to do all the raking you need at once.

3. Vacuum the pool. You should use a pool vacuum on a regular basis; to make cleaning the sides and bottom of the pool easier.

4. Make sure the condition of the water is right. The pH of pool water should be between 7.2 and 7.6. If the pH is too high, or too low, you need to use a pH adjuster. You should check the water at least twice a week to make sure that there are no issues. You also need to add chlorine to the water in your pool; this helps to cleanse the water.

5. Take care of the pump and filter. The pump in your pool circulates the water so that it passes through the filtration system. You should seek expert advice about how often you should operate the pump in your pool. You need to make sure that the pump and the filter are kept clean, in order for them to work effectively. Keep an eye on the pressure gauge for the filter. If it’s reading lower than normal there may be something stopping the water from entering the filter as it should. If it’s reading higher than normal, this means that the filter is having to work extra hard. It may need cleaning.

All of this maintenance work is essential, if you want your pool to remain in good condition, and to be a safe place to spend time. Of course, you do not have to do all of the work yourself. You can get professional help; you can learn more about this. The important thing is that, whoever is doing the maintenance, does so in a timely and effective manner.