John Hancock Investments Does Things Differently

John Hancock Investments does things a bit different. They are team players, specialists, and family office advisors. In any role, their approach of managing the managers gives them a unique benefit that perfectly complements what financial advisors are already doing. Check out the video below to find out more:

The Positives of Starting Your Own Business

The Internet is full of stories quoting dreary statistics on the number of small businesses that fail each year. This article isn’t one of them!

There are many benefits to starting your own business. It offers unique financial and leadership opportunities that are detailed here.

More Money, More Wealth

According to, the median income for someone with the title of Small Business Owner / Operator is $70,642 per year. This figure breaks down to weekly earnings of $1,358.50. Here is an important fact: the median weekly earnings for a full-time worker (wages or salary) in the United States is only $799. The typical small business owner clearly pulls in more income than his or her counterpart employed for someone else.

Then there is the subject of wealth. The median net worth of business owners is almost 2 ½ times greater than non-business owners. Business building is a long-term project; therefore, it encourages people to engage in behaviors that have long-term benefit. Planning, saving, and staying ahead of competitors are important for growing a business and wealth.

Sense of Security

People contemplating a new business venture often hear about the “risks” associated with such ventures. However, a business can add to one’s financial security in important ways.

First, business owners have a diversified revenue stream. This situation gives them an advantage over their salaried counterparts. For instance, business owners sometimes have “clients from hell” while people who earn wages and salaries sometimes have “the boss from hell.” A business owner who needs to replace a customer who is belligerent, disrespectful, or just plain unprofitable must only replace a small source of his or her revenue. Contrast this situation to a worker employed for someone else. If a worker has a boss that is belligerent or disrespectful, he or she must replace 100% of his or her income.

Second, a business enhances retirement security. Think about it from this perspective: A salesman employed at a company builds a customer base that creates value for the employer. When a business owner develops a customer base, it benefits himself. That value becomes an asset that can help fund a retirement. An hourly or salaried position, no matter how well-paying, is still growing someone else’s asset. At a time when pensions are going the way of the dinosaurs, this distinction is important to keep in mind.

Be a Leader / Direct Innovation

There are many outstanding large companies in America. Large companies can also be very bureaucratic, intensely political, and hostile to change. Being large does not immunize a company from potential failure. The liquidation of Circuit City and the ongoing struggles of RadioShack prove this point. If a person has a great idea, starting a business may be the only way to make that vision a reality.

Sometimes an entrepreneur’s vision is an invention. People know the product Spanx because Sara Blakely took a risk on her idea for a new type of hosiery. Other times, entrepreneurs improve an existing type of business. Walmart, the largest private employer in the United States, grew because Sam Walton took the concept of the General Store and made it extremely efficient. While these are examples of companies that became huge, America’s successful business owners create niche products and provide services that generate value for themselves.

Put Risk in Perspective

There are, of course, risks to starting a business. It’s important to put the risks in perspective. Millions of Americans ended up under water on their mortgages because they believed that housing prices could not fall. After sharp declines in the stock market, the joke was that many Americans now had “201Ks” instead of 401Ks. Let facts, not fear, be your guide. With good planning, a business provides outstanding opportunities for wealth building and professional development.

Extra Costs to Budget for When Buying a Home

Most people dream of buying their own homes at one stage or another. You work hard and save up the deposit and then put an offer in on your dream home. If you are not prepared for the extra costs that will crop up, your dream could turn into a nightmare.

On a property deal of $500,000, for example, the additional costs could be as much as $15,000, excluding stamp duty, and this amount will vary depending on the state that you are buying in. You need to budget for these costs over and above the deposit saved so that you do not get caught off-guard.

Here is a basic break-down of what fees you can expect to pay:

Stamp Duty and Other Government Costs

Stamp duty is often one of the most expensive fees and how much you pay varies from state to state. It is a good idea to find out what you can expect to pay in your state before you start looking for the home.

If you are a first time home owner, there are grants and concessions available to you and these will often cover the cost of the stamp duty.

If you do not qualify for any concessions, you are looking at a minimum fee of around $10,200 in Victoria right up to around $24 000 in the Northern Territories. It is a good idea to consult your Melbourne Property Managers or to consult one of the many online calculators to determine what this fee will be.

You will also need to pay to have the title registered with the state.

You will be required to pay the town council pro-rata rates calculated from the time of purchase to the end of that year.

Lenders Mortgage Insurance and Other Lender’s Fees

This is a fee that catches most people by surprise and it can be quite a chunk of money. This is a fee that is charged when you are borrowing more than 80% of the purchase price of the home.

Loans of more than 80% of the purchase price are considered to be higher risk – not only are your monthly repayments going to be higher, but there is a greater chance of the lender losing out if the property is repossessed and has to be sold urgently to defray costs.

If you are buying a house for $500 000, and only paying a $50 000 deposit, this fee is going to be around $8000. You will normally not have to pay this upfront – the lender will usually add it onto your mortgage.

Your lender sometimes charges a fee of a few hundred dollars to prepare the lending contract. They might also charge a loan establishment fee of around $600 and a valuation fee of around $400.

Legal Costs

These costs will vary depending on the type of property you are buying and how complex the transfer will be. These are attorney’s costs and could set you back as much as $3000.

Costs Involved in Protecting Yourself

These additional costs can total around about $1000 but help to protect you as a home buyer.

A pest and building inspection is usually optional but is always a good idea. Considering the value of the investment that you are making, a fee of a few hundred dollars is not much at all. This can save you a lot of headaches in the long run – the inspector will check for structural issues and will confirm that there are no pests.

Title insurance may seem like a bit of a waste but it protects you should anyone make a claim against your property’s title. Say, for example, that the council wishes to sell your property due to unpaid rates and taxes. This insurance protects against such claims.

There are also various searches that need to be conducted in order to make sure that the property is unencumbered. Once again, this is a necessary fee to protect you.

These fees can total a pretty penny so it is a good idea to understand what extras you will be paying before you sign on the dotted line.