Seven Signs of Financial Instability

Seven Signs of Financial Instability

Are you keen on knowing if you are financially stable? People worry about their finances all the time for obvious reasons. You can’t be able to live a comfortable life if you don’t have money. It also takes money to elevate your lifestyle. It’s important to understand the difference between lacking access to money and being broke. You should also appreciate the fact that money is scarce. However, how do you tell when things are seriously going wrong?

1. Your expenses are more than your income:

If you spend more than you earn, you are already in serious trouble. Your income should be more than your expenses otherwise you are living beyond your means. You need to cut down on your expenses immediately to avoid serious financial trouble in the future. You should consider downgrading your lifestyle immediately. For instance, move to a cheaper house, take a bus/train to work, shop for discounts, etc. Your expenses should never exceed your income.

2. You borrow to fund recurrent expenses:

If you take out payday loans among any other types of loans to fund recurrent expenses such as; food, rent and transport expenses every month, you are already financially unstable. Loans such as payday loans are meant for funding emergency expenses. Using them to fund your lifestyle is a scary sign of financial instability.

3. You don’t have savings/an emergency fund:

You can never be financial stable if you don’t have savings. An emergency fund is highly recommended for taking care of unexpected expenses. You can lose your job or get into an accident that affects your ability to work. Without an emergency fund, you can’t be able to survive without taking up loans from friends/family members. If you don’t save/have an emergency fund, start setting up one today.

4. Your debts are greater than your assets:

You can take loans as long as you are in a position to repay them. Loans become a problem when you can’t afford them when the worst happens. If you lose your job for instance, can you be able to pay for all your loans with your assets and still have some money for subsistence? If not, you are not financially stable. This highlights the importance of investing the money you get from loans wisely. If you use loans to buy assets, instead of liabilities, your assets will always be greater than your debt.

5. Your credit score is dropping:

Your credit score tracks all your credit activity. If your credit score is increasing, it simply means you are using your debt wisely. If your credit score is dropping, this is a sure sign that you are engaging in dangerous credit activity such as; misusing your credit cards, defaulting on debt, etc. The ratio of the amount of money you owe over your available credit (i.e. credit utilisation ratio) should not exceed 30% otherwise you will start hurting your credit score even if you make all payments on time. Overusing credit is a scary sign of financial instability even if the credit is available to you.

6. You lose sleep over your finances:

Financial problems are bound to cause stress. However, you should be overly concerned if you lose sleep thinking about your finances. It is advisable to seek financial help if you find yourself worrying too much about money. A financial expert can help you identify your financial problems as well as craft ways of dealing with them effectively. If you are already losing sleep over your finances, seek help immediately to avoid worsening your finances as well as physical health.

7. You have considered debt management/bankruptcy:

Debt management and bankruptcy are measures taken as a last resort when debt spirals out of control. If you have thought about debt management or filing for bankruptcy, you are already financially unstable. People usually contemplate these measures before taking them, so it’s a sure sign of financial instability. You can avoid these measures by seeking financial help immediately.

Summary

People don’t find themselves in financial problems overnight. There are common signs to look out for if you want to know the status of your finances. Discovering the scariest signs of financial instability is important because you have the opportunity to take the necessary measures and change your fortune.

Top 5 Strategies For Reducing Investment Risks

Top 5 Strategies For Reducing Investment Risks

Most investments fail because people take in too much risk. So, what should you do to reduce risk when investing? Below are proven strategies regular investors can use to manage risk.

Strategy 1: Invest in financial education

Most people make investment mistakes because they don’t take time to invest in financial education. You can’t be a successful investor if you don’t know anything about investing. You can hire an investment professional to invest for you. However, you’ll need to a lot of money for such an approach to work. Financial education is very important. You need to know why investing is important in the first place. You should also know the different types of investments available to you among other basics. Financial education helps you make informed investment decisions. You may not become an investment expert yourself by studying basics, however, you will be able to avoid common investment mistakes made by most people if you are financially literate.

Strategy 2: Choose investments you are familiar with/passionate about

Another great way of reducing investment risks is to invest in opportunities you are already familiar with or passionate about. Sometimes it may take a lot of time, effort and money to get adequate financial education. If so, invest in an opportunity you are familiar with or passionate about. It could be anything really. It’s easier to set up a business revolving around your passion or something you know a lot about rather than attempting to learn something new from scratch. Remember, risks emerge mostly from the unknown so, choose investments that you know much about or have an unmatched interest in.

Strategy 3: Take the relevant insurance

One of the best ways of managing/avoiding risk is taking insurance. The insurance industry in the UK as well as globally has countless insurance covers that take care of all types of risks imaginable. If you are investing in rental housing, for instance, you can take loss of income insurance to cover you when you don’t have tenants. Such a cover eliminates risks associated with having empty rental units especially when you are servicing a loan. Before you start investing, shop for relevant insurance products that can help you reduce risk.

Strategy 4: Start small

You can also reduce investment risks by starting small. This strategy is perfect when you don’t know much about the investment opportunity you want to pursue. When you start small, your risks are also small. Your financial stability stays intact regardless of the outcome. You can then grow your investment when you can handle more risk.

Strategy 5: Focus on organic growth

This strategy is perfect when the investment in question is a business. Most people make the mistake of growing ahead of the actual business. According to most investment experts, you should allow your business to grow organically if you are keen on avoiding risks such as lack of customers. For instance, you should take a loan to expand your business when you have already started your business and noticed the demand for whatever you are selling is increasing. Taking a loan to expand a business when there is no demand for your products/services exposes you to a lot of risks.

Strategy 6: Reinvest profits

It’s less risky to reinvest profits instead of borrowing a loan to invest. When you take out any loan, there is always the possibility of being unable to repay the loan for reasons that may be beyond your control. To avoid such risks when investing, consider reinvesting investment profits first before you think of investing using a loan.

Strategy 7: Diversify

Diversifying is one of the best ways of reducing investment risks although it might reduce your ROI. Concentrating on one investment opportunity is bound to increase your profits. However, it comes with immense risk. Considering anything can happen, your financial future should not be at the mercy of one investment avenue. You should invest in many markets to reduce risk in case one market crashes.

Summary

Incorporate the above strategies when investing and watch your exposure to risk decrease drastically. Many people expose themselves to investments risks by being financially illiterate. Many people also land into investment problems because they fail to start small, take insurance, focus on organic growth and diversify. It’s also advisable to consider reinvesting profits before you take out an investment loan.

Here Are The Top Debt Myths Debunked

Here Are The Top Debt Myths Debunked

There are many debt myths today that stop people from getting the best out of loans. It’s important to discover what is true about debt to avoid being part of the problem. The 1st step to getting the best out of debt is debunking the most common myths. Below are the top 5 debt myths debunked.

1. Debt is bad

There is this general notion globally that debt is bad so, it must be avoided. This is far from the truth. Many people have been led to think debt is bad because of the consequences faced by people who are unable to service debt. Debt isn’t bad if you can meet your repayment obligations. If you can take and repay a payday loan in time, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, debt is a good thing in such an instance because you get access to money for taking care of emergency expenses. Debt is also useful when you have a solid plan. You shouldn’t take a loan just because it is available to you. Have a good reason first as well as a solid plan for repaying the loan. You should also understand the type of debt you are taking. Many people don’t pay attention to the terms and conditions of loans, so they end up branding loans negatively. Debt is good as long as you have good reasons for taking up debt and a solid repayment plan.

2. Debt is for the poor

People also associate debt with the poor although many rich people have made a fortune because of taking up debt. Loans are for everyone regardless of your social class. The only difference is the type of loans the rich take. Most rich people take up long term loans for investment purposes. The poor tend to take short term loans for subsistence purposes. You can take a payday loan or any other type of short-term loan to cater for unexpected expenses. So, applying for a loan doesn’t mean you are poor. In fact, your chances of succeeding using your own savings are very slim. Everyone, including the rich, take up loans. The difference is in the type of loans they take as well as what they do with the money.

3. Your credit history/score is better off when you avoid debt

Many people also believe that they can keep their credit score and overall history intact by avoiding debt. This is far from the truth. In fact, you hurt your credit history by avoiding debt since there is nothing to report about. As the name suggests, credit reports record your credit history. If you don’t take up loans, such as credit card debt, payday loans etc., your credit report won’t have any entries. A person’s credit score improves when they show they are capable of meeting their debt obligations. This simply means you have to take up debt. Otherwise, your credit score won’t change for the better.

4. Debt terms and conditions are set in stone

Most people are also of the notion that debt terms and conditions can’t change. This is far from the truth. Lending institutions are usually flexible. However, you have to put in work to get better terms. For instance, you need to be a regular customer to be able to negotiate for better terms. You also require a good credit score and solid assets. Being knowledgeable also helps. Your chances of getting the best possible debt terms and conditions are slim if you have basic borrower information. You need to invest in financial education to be able to negotiate on the next level. Most people believe loan terms and conditions don’t change because they don’t push their lenders hard enough. Lenders also tend to be less flexible on short term loans. Considering most people take short term loans, it’s easy to understand why people believe this myth.

5. Debt settlement is unethical

Lenders love portraying debt settlement as an unethical practice that portrays lack of character. This isn’t the case. Of course, there are people who take up loans and use them irresponsibly. However, most of the people who turn to debt resettlement do so because of circumstances beyond their control such as unemployment, emergency bills, family problems, etc. For this reason, there is no problem with seeking this alternative when you don’t have any other option.

Summary

There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding debt today. To get the best out of loans, you need to understand the myths surrounding debt. Although there are countless myths about debt, the above myths offer valuable basic information.

A Complete Guide To Estate Planning

A Complete Guide To Estate Planning

Estate planning is about planning for what will happen to your assets when you die. You don’t have to be super rich to prepare an estate plan. As long as you own one or more assets, you should have an estate plan in place as soon as possible. Generally speaking, estate plans cover the accumulation, conversion as well as the distribution of an estate (assets). Good estate plans maintain and enhance the financial security of people as well as their families.

Estate planning basics

Estate planning encompasses several components. Below is a review of each of these components to help you understand everything there is to know about estate planning.

a. Wills

Wills are the backbone of all estate plans. A will is a legal document highlighting a person’s intentions on how their assets should be distributed or disposed at death. Since death is uncertain and disputes usually arise when people die, everyone should prepare a will.
A will is enforceable after a person death. A will can be amended or changed anytime before a person dies or becomes mentally challenged. A properly drafted will has instructions that are executed by an individual’s personal representative (the executor).

Benefits of a will

There are several advantages of having a will the most notable being the fact that you can be able to control what happens to your assets when you are gone. A will enables you to take care of the needs and interests of your dependants among other people who may otherwise be unable to take care of themselves when you are gone. Having a will can also reduce your estate tax. Last but not least, you get unmatched peace of mind when you have a will in place.

People who have assets but die without preparing a will surrender their rights of asset distribution to the legal system. In such a case, courts decide who gets those assets that don’t have outright beneficiaries.

Important characteristics/information about wills

Wills are inexpensive to prepare. The cost, however, varies depending on complexity, the size of your estate as well as your location.
Wills transfer property which is in your name only. Any jointly owned property is transferred to the designated beneficiary.

Wills are still necessary even for individuals who have trusts because they cover assets which trusts don’t cover.

b. Trusts

Trusts are another important component of estate planning. Trusts are about transferring property to corporate or individual trustees who manage the property on behalf of beneficiaries. There are various kinds of trusts depending on factors such as; when the trust is effective. A living trust is effective during a person’s lifetime. A testament trust becomes operative after a person’s death.

Trust terms can be amended provided the testator (the person who creates the trust) is still alive and mentally competent. Living trusts have special attributes i.e. they are revocable or irrevocable. Revocable living trusts can be accessed by the creator when he/she is alive. On the other hand, irrevocable living trusts seize belonging to the creator once they are created. The trusts are owned by trust entities once they are transferred. Once the creator dies, the beneficiaries can access the trusts.

Benefits of trusts

People set up trusts for many reasons. The most notable reasons include (but aren’t limited to);

To manage property more effectively: Most people set up trusts to ensure their property is invested and managed by professionals. Trusts complement wills in this regard. Instead of simply living your beneficiaries with property, trusts ensure the property is managed well by professionals on behalf of the beneficiaries.

Minimise taxation: Trusts also offer mechanisms for minimising the amount of gift and estate tax paid in most jurisdictions.
Better distribution of assets: Trusts are more efficient in the distribution of assets/property to beneficiaries. For instance, there are fewer delays. The expenses are also significantly lower.

Creators have more say: Trusts allow creators to place more conditions on the distribution of assets. For instance, it is possible to prevent squandering of property on luxuries like cars using a trust.

Summary

Estate planning is about engineering the accumulation, conversion as well as distribution of your assets when you are gone. Estate planning is about preparing wills and trust and why it is important to do so. Although there is more to estate planning that what has been discussed above, you have enough basic information now to get started.

Here Are 6 Saving Tips Nobody Ever Tells You

Here Are 6 Saving Tips Nobody Ever Tells You

You can get investment capital by either taking a loan or saving. Most people today prefer taking loans because it is faster and easier. Saving consistently takes a lot of time, effort, and sacrifice. Although this is usually the case with almost all savers, saving doesn’t have to be a daunting task. There are some secrets you can consider to make saving easier/more fruitful.

1. The magic is in the deals:

Saving is a seemingly slow process when it comes to accumulating money since we never seem to have enough money to save. It is possible to change this by shopping for deals. It would be easier accumulating a lot of money in a short time through saving if you saved a higher percentage of your income so, how do you do it? Well, start by cutting on your expenses by shopping for deals. Many people fail to realise the fact that most expenses aren’t fixed. It is always possible to spend less on food every month if you buy food in bulk. You can also save money on your house rent by moving to a cheaper house. You can also save on transport costs by taking the bus or train instead of your car. Saving isn’t just about putting aside a portion of your income every month. To make significant progress, you need to shop for deals.

2. Automate:

You also need to eliminate complacency to get ahead as a saver, and one of the best ways of doing this is automating the saving process. You should have a standing order on your account to automatically deduct your savings when you receive your salary. Most people aren’t disciplined enough to accumulate savings in their current accounts. To avoid being tempted to spend the money, save automatically before you start spending.

3. Go against the spending wave:

You can get a good deal for a vacation by comparing prices. However, you are better off going for vacation when everyone else is at work. This same principle applies to almost every spending wave. Avoid ”following the crowd”. Participating in spending trends can hurt your saving potential immensely. Even if what you are spending on appears to be discounted, you can always get a better deal when everyone else gets bored with the spending trend. You should spend when everyone else seems broke to enjoy huge savings. For instance, February would be a great time to go for vacation, instead of December. Summer would also be a great time to buy a heating system.

4. Pay cash:

In this era of credit cards and online banking, people hardly pay for anything using cash. Although it is safer and more convenient, you end up spending a lot in fees. If you consider the number of times you run your card in a month, the fees can easily translate to more than a thousand pounds every year. Buying things using loans is also expensive because you pay interest plus fees. Furthermore, businesses extend discounts to cash buyers. Most successful savers don’t buy anything unless they can pay for it in cash.

5. Don’t over save:

Saving is usually unbearable to some people because it is overdone. All successful savers know this. If you want to save consistently for years, you shouldn’t over save at the expense of necessities. You should focus on developing a sustainable saving culture instead of one that leaves you feeling miserable. Shop for deals, go against the spending wave, pay cash and automate your saving process, however, don’t overdo it. Focus on leading a comfortable life as opposed to over saving or leaving beyond your means.

6. Saving:

On its own, won’t get you far: Most people know it’s good to save. However, you won’t get far if you just focus on saving. You should save to invest as opposed to saving to spend. The goal of saving should be accumulating enough money to start an income generating venture. You can use savings for emergency expenses when you don’t want to take out short term loans like payday loans, however, focus on making your savings work for you in the long-term. Get financial education to discover the best ways of using your savings.

What Are The Best And Worst Ways To Use A Loan?

What Are The Best And Worst Ways To Use A Loan?

It’s always advisable to live within your budget, stay away from debt, etc.. However, there are some cases when it’s justifiable to take on debt. Sometimes it’s inevitable to take debt. When you have an emergency expense for instance (such as an unexpected medical or car repair bill), you may be forced to take a payday loan or any other type of short-term loan. It’s a bad idea to take up a loan if you don’t really need one. With that said, let’s get into more detail on the best as well as the worst ways of using a loan.

Best ways of using a loan

1. Starting a business:

It’s highly recommendable to take a loan and start a business. Business loans make the most sense because they are put into one of the most productive loan uses. Provided you prepare a solid business, it’s always a great idea to use your loan to start a business.

2. Debt consolidation:

You can also take a loan to help you manage your debt better. Managing debt can be stressing when you have many loans. Debt consolidation allows you to clear off multiple debts so that you remain with one manageable loan. If your loans have gotten out of hand, it’s a good idea to consolidate as long as you still have the capacity to service the resulting debt.

3. To build your credit score:

You can also take a loan to build your credit score. If you have a bad credit score that needs to be improved fast, taking a loan is a good idea. The benefits of having a good credit score are enormous. As long as you can repay your loan in time, there is nothing wrong with building your credit score by taking loans and repaying them in time. This tip works perfectly with credit card loans/debt.

4. To cater for emergency expenses:

As mentioned above, you can take a loan to cater for emergency expenses. Medical bills, car repair bills, roof repair bills among other kinds of bills may arise when you don’t have money. In such cases, you can take a payday loan among other types of short term loans to cater for those emergencies.

Worst ways of using a loan

Let’s turn to what you shouldn’t do with loan money. Ideally, you shouldn’t take in debt to spend on unnecessary expenses. Although the definition of ”unnecessary” expenses can vary from one person to another, here’s what you need to know.

1. Never take a loan for gambling:

Gambling is very risky. The odds are usually against you. There is nothing wrong with gambling with your own money if you really want to gamble. However, it is not advisable to get into debt because of gambling. In fact, you should avoid taking loans to engage in any activities whose outcome can’t be controlled.

2. Funding luxuries:

You should also avoid loans if you are taking them to fund luxuries i.e. buy the latest furniture, electronics, go for a holiday, buy a second home, buy new clothes/shoes. Most people get into debt because of taking loans to enjoy lifestyles they can’t afford. To avoid this mistake, fund luxuries using your own money. You can take a loan if you already have the money to fund luxuries. For instance, you may be waiting to get paid. Unless you are in such a scenario, avoid debt by all means. If you can’t afford something at any given movement, save up and get it later. You should, however, consider putting your money into better use i.e. funding income generating ventures such as a business.

3. Paying everyday bills:

It’s also a bad idea to get into debt every month to pay rent, energy bills, grocery bills, etc. You can take a payday loan once in a while to sort out expenses when you have some financial difficulties. However, it’s not a good idea to pay for everyday bills with debt. If you find yourself doing this, it’s time to adjust your lifestyle to match your income. It is possible to avoid short-term loans by living within your means and building a savings account.

Important Money Questions Everyone Should Ask Themselves

Important Money Questions Everyone Should Ask Themselves

The importance of having money can’t be overlooked given the fact that we need money to live. Without money, it’s impossible to get food, shelter, clothing, medicine, education among many other basic needs. It also takes money to get the better things in life. No wonder people spend a lifetime trying to accumulate enough money. But do most people understand money? In an effort to help you know if you understand the most important things about money, here are some important money questions to ask yourself.

What is money?

Most people think of paper money when they think of money. However, anything can be used as money as long as it is deemed valuable by the parties engaging in a transaction. Originally, valuable commodities such as gold and silver were used as money. Paper money was simply used to back gold among other valuable commodities in an effort to ease trade as well as solve other problems associated with using commodities as money.
This however changed with the birth of fiat money (money declared as legal tender by governments) but isn’t backed by valuable commodities like gold. Fiat money is dependent on the faith people have in an economy as well as the debt levels of that economy. If people lose faith in a country’s paper money (fiat money), the money will seize being valuable. This highlights the importance of using money to buy tangible assets as opposed to valuing and storing money in its paper form. It is hard to get financially independent if you don’t understand what money is in the first place.

Why am I in my current financial situation/status?

This is another crucial money question everyone should ask themselves. You are where you are financially because of the financial decisions you have made in the past. If you are in a better place than you were years ago, you have been making good decisions. If not, you need to identify your mistakes and move on. The best ways of identifying bad financial decisions is; reflecting on your past decisions. You need to ask yourself other questions. For instance; do you budget? Do you follow your budget? Is your budget balanced? Do you invest? How much risk do you take on? Are you in debt? How did you spend past loans? If you don’t make an effort to find out why you are where you are financially, it will be difficult to progress. It doesn’t matter if you are doing well or not currently. Just find out why you are in your current financial status to be able to take the necessary action

How do I attain financial freedom?

Financial freedom can be defined as the state of having enough money to cater for all living expenses without having to ever work again. Rich people have financial independence. As long as their money is invested in activities that generate recurrent income, they never have to work another day in their lives. The importance of figuring out how to attain financial freedom can’t, therefore, be overlooked when talking about money. If you aren’t asking yourself this question on a daily basis, then your chances of being rich are slim.

In fact, asking yourself this question is the first step to becoming rich. There is no need of working hard and earning a lot of money if you are not thinking of ways of making your money work for you. There will always be something to spend your money on so, if you keep spending without investing, you will keep working for the rest of your life. You should focus on investing and gaining recurrent income streams instead. After working hard for decades, you should sit back and let your money work for you. Investing in financial education is the best way to start discovering how you can generate income for a lifetime without having to work every day.

Summary

If you are able to ask yourself and answer these three money questions, you will be a step closer to financial freedom. Start by understanding what money is and why you are where you are financially. Proceed by understanding what you need to do to make sure you attain financial freedom. Seeking financial education is a good place to start.

How Do You Ask Your Bank For A Business Loan?

How Do You Ask Your Bank For A Business Loan?

One of the biggest hindrances that people face when starting businesses is; lack of capital. This hindrance can be easily eliminated if you understand what banks look for when selecting borrowers. You can make it easier for yourself if you understand what you want to do with the loan in the first place. Here’s everything you need to know about asking your bank for a business loan.

1. Understand why you need a business loan

You must ask yourself why you need a business loan before you approach your bank. Most people have more money than they think. Remember, it is possible to start a business with little to no money. Furthermore, banks aren’t the only lenders. You can borrow from friends, take out a short term loan i.e. a payday loan, turn to a pawnbroker, etc. In a nutshell, there are many options available today when you need a loan. Ideally, you should take a business loan when you really need one.

For instance, a business loan is recommended in instances where you don’t have access to any other funding sources. Most importantly, you must have a business idea. A business loan should also be used for starting/funding a business only and not any other purposes. It’s recommendable to take a business loan to start a business or boost the working capital of your business/grow your business.

Banks actually look at your need for a business loan. If your need is important i.e. you want to start a business/ boost working capital or expand, your chances of getting a business loan will be higher. The idea here is to make sure you are asking for money to engage in a business activity that is bound to generate income. Banks are interested in funding borrowers who show promising signs of repaying their loans so, make sure you convince your bank you need a business loan.

2. Prepare a solid business plan

To convince your bank to give you a business loan, you need to prepare a solid business plan. Banks look at the viability of your business when deciding whether or not to give you a business loan so, make sure you show your bank how you intend to setup and run your business profitably. To do this effectively, the money you get should be put into productive use. For instance, your business plan should state that you intend to spend the money to buy stock for your business as opposed to buying brand new furniture for your office since such spending doesn’t generate revenue. If your business plan shows great potential for making money, your chances of securing a business loan are high.

3. Find the right bank

Sometimes it’s just about finding the right lender. Different lenders focus on different aspects of business. Some banks focus on giving business loans while others focus on personal loans. To increase your chances of getting a business loan, you need to go to a bank that focuses on giving the type of loan you are looking for. Such banks need less convincing. If you have to change banks, do so by all means. The right bank for you is one that offers business loans. Furthermore, you are bound to enjoy other benefits such as lower fees/interest, expert advice, etc. since such banks understand the needs of entrepreneurs more and are interested in seeing you succeed.

4. Ensure you have whatever it takes to qualify

To qualify for a business loan or any other loan for that matter, you have to meet certain requirements. For instance, some banks require businesses to attain certain annual revenue figures before business loans are granted. Some business loans may also require collateral. Banks also require certain documents before they disburse business loans. For instance, if you already have a business, your business’s financials i.e. financial statements must be in order. To avoid wasting precious time, find out what it takes to qualify for a business loan before you apply for one.

Summary

To secure a business loan, you need to make sure you don’t give your bank any reason to deny you the loan. First and foremost, make sure you need the business loan in the first place. Your business plan also needs to be solid. Banks can identify viable business ideas at a glance so, makes sure you do your homework. Your focus should be proving that the money you will receive will be put to good use i.e. it will generate income allowing you to repay your loan with ease. It’s also important to find the right bank i.e. one that specialises in funding businesses. Lastly, you need to make sure you qualify for a business loan before you apply otherwise you’ll waste precious time.