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What exactly is a reverse mortgage?
A reverse mortgage is a loan insured by the federal government that allows you to convert a portion of the equity you’ve built up in your home into tax free single lump sum disbursement, line of credit or monthly payout.
Will the bank own my home?
No, you will still be the sole owner of your home. The bank will not own your home when you take out a reverse mortgage.
What’s the point of taking out a reverse mortgage?
Americans are living longer than ever, and many are not prepared for the costs that come along with living longer. If you are 62 or older and have enough equity in your home, you can convert the equity into funds to use to pay for anything from long-term care costs or debt to home renovations to make aging in place more accessible.
Is a reverse mortgage safe?
Yes, the home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) reverse mortgage is insured by the FHA – Federal Housing Administration.
What qualifications do I need to meet?
To qualify for a reverse mortgage, you must be 62 or older, have no mortgage balance or have a low mortgage balance that can be paid off with proceeds from the loan. You must live in the home as your primary residence. You must go through a financial assessment that helps determine you are financially stable enough to pay for property charges like taxes. Additionally, you must complete reverse mortgage counseling from a HECM counselor before you are approved for the loan.
What types of homes qualify?
You must live in either a single-family home or a two to four-unit home, one unit of which you are living in. There are some circumstances where the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will approve some condominiums and manufactured homes for a reverse mortgage, if they meet FHA requirements. See HUD’s website for details.
How much money will I get?
The amount you will receive from a reverse mortgage loan will depend on the age of the youngest borrower or eligible non-borrowing spouse, current interest rates as well as the appraised value of the home. The amount is capped at the HECM FHA mortgage limit of $726,525 as of January 1, 2019. Previously, the lending limit was capped at $669,650. If your home value exceeds the national FHA limit, we recommend taking a look at the Jumbo Reverse Mortgages to $5 Million.
What happens to my estate if I use up all the equity?
When the loan becomes due and payable, your heirs will be responsible for paying it off, usually with the sale of the home. If there is home equity remaining after the loan is paid off, your heirs will inherit it.
How do I receive the payments?
There are several payment options: lump sum, term or tenure payments, or a line of credit. The options can also be combined under some circumstances.
How is a reverse mortgage different than a home equity line of credit?
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) can be frozen or changed at the lender’s discretion, but if you have an adjustable-rate HECM and choose the line of credit option, you will never have that taken away as long as you adhere to the terms of the loan.
Can the lender take away my house?
If you do not adhere to the loan terms, such as keeping up with taxes on your home, insurance, or if you let the house fall into disrepair, the loan can go into default and potentially become due and payable.
What if I want to move?
If you want to move before you apply for a reverse mortgage, there is a reverse mortgage for purchase option where you can use the proceeds from a reverse mortgage to purchase a new home. Otherwise, if you want to move and already have a reverse mortgage the loan will become due and payable.
When do I have to pay the loan back?
If you move out of the home, the loan will become due and payable. Other situations where the loan would become due and payable include if you are not keeping up on insurance, taxes or other home payments, or when the last borrower in the home passes away.
What happens if my home is worth less than the amount due when the loan comes to term?
If the loan becomes due and payable but the proceeds of the home sale do not cover the loan amount, which could be the case if your home depreciates in value, the government insurance would kick in and cover the difference. You nor your heirs would be responsible for paying back more than the home is worth at the time of sale.
The call center and contact center software market is booming, with an impressive outlook valued at an estimated 47 billion dollars by the year 2025. This resurgence in popularity seems to be antithetical to the idea that phones have been replaced by text messaging and messaging apps like Facebook Messenger.
However, what many people don’t always realize is that the call center software market encompasses more than just phone-based communications. Thanks to advances in omnichannel cloud software, the term “call center” actually includes other mediums of communication like email, video chat, web chat, and even SMS texts. Here are three major takeaways that illustrate why the call center software market is thriving.
Customer service has become increasingly important
Recently, for an article in the Telegraph, expert Teakaau Piho shared with a round table on digital trends that “customer-centricity is driving everything”. In an era where many brick and mortar stores are closing up shop because of the proliferation of ecommerce, customer service has become increasingly important.
If a shipping deadline is missed or an item is delivered damaged, the type of interaction a customer receives when searching for a solution can be the difference between a repeat customer or an angry Yelp review. As a result, more and more businesses are looking to beef up their front lines of customer service, calling on powerful call center software solutions that allow them to track, understand, and solve their customer’s problems with greater efficiency.
Agents are more productive than they used to be
One reason why the call center software market is thriving involves the way that various software innovations have empowered agents to become even more productive. Gone are the days of manually calling leads via phone; today’s agents use a host of powerful software features (from predictive dialers to CRM databases) to ensure that their communications are as efficient as they are effective.
One such advancement in call center software is the ability to use an automatic call distributor to boost customer satisfaction and agent productivity by pairing the best agent with the right call. Also known as ACD, automatic call distribution ensures that an appropriately skilled agent is matched with each type of communication, whether it’s via telephone, web chat, or SMS message.
This type of routing ensures that a customer’s needs are handled effectively the very first time they reach out for support, increasing the chances of a positive customer service interaction.
Call center software developers have stayed agile
Threaded throughout the two points above is an important takeaway about how software developers have remained agile as customers’ needs and buying behaviors have shifted. This goes to the heart of why the call center software market is thriving, since developers have continued to meet their clients’ needs, adding innovative features that help agents work smarter, faster, and better.
By approaching the market this way, enterprise-level clients duly reward the call center software industry by continuing to invest in its work and doubling down in their methods to improve the way they conduct business. All of this creates an ecosystem of happy parties, allowing for dynamic growth and powerful improvements to the software solutions these businesses rely on.
Thanks to an agile approach and the ability to deliver powerful features that make businesses more efficient, the call center software market is thriving. But as an industry, this list barely scratches the surface of the myriad reasons call center software continues to thrive. With a bright track record for innovation and an even brighter valuation over the next several years, it’s clear that the call center software market is here to stay.
Social media has bloomed over time to become this incredible and innovative multitool in the digital age. Of course, every feat of technology has its own unique impact on the world, but in the case of social media, the impact has been varying. Initially starting out as a virtual network of social communication platforms, social media has since blossomed to encompass so much more than its initial reaches. Today, social media is a digital marketing strategy that spans the globe. Hailed as a multitool in advertising and marketing in the digital age, social media has proven its value time and again.
Social media was not always the powerful digital marketing strategy that it is, but in recent years it has more than made its mark on the modern business world, doing its part to establish and then transform businesses across varying industries around the world. These last few years have seen the rise of digital marketing, with social media standing firmly in the forefront of this new age in advertising and marketing.
Modern consumers’ focuses have changed
It is no secret that modern consumers have a different focus than those before them. Before social media was invented, consumers got a lot of their marketing intake from traditional marketing efforts, like print marketing and door-to-door sales tactics (to name a few old-school marketing trends). When technological advancement first became a mainstream concept brought to vivid life, it took just a little bit of time before traditional marketing efforts were no longer as effective as they once were; traditional ideals were out, and modern marketing was in.
Modern businesses have taken note
The businesses that flourish and thrive today are the very same companies that have thrived on looking long and hard at the way that modern consumers pay attention to marketing efforts, and putting their newfound knowledge into practice. Consumers today spend more time than ever online, and so the businesses that are most successful are the ones that use that reality to their distinct advantage. Social media marketing is the perfect way for businesses to establish and maintain strong consumer relationships and trust.
How businesses are using social media marketing
Social media marketing is powerful because it effectively places both businesses and consumers in a circumstance of having intermediate ties, always. Through social media marketing, businesses have complete control over how they come across to consumers, and yet they have no control at all – it is a unique line to walk. Businesses can alter their power appearance through social media in a few ways, one of the most common and effective being the notion to buy Instagram likes.
On the other hand, in using social media to promote the business and stay in touch with consumers (both existing and prospective), businesses put themselves in a vulnerable position – consumers are more in control, and have the power to make or break a business’ reputation with a few clicks on their keyboard. This is a brand-new era in marketing, and social media is leading the way into this new future.
When we think about technology, our homes never the first to come to mind. We may think about self-driving cars or drones; but for most of us, home technology reaches as far as having HD tv. But technologies are merging, and the idea of a smart home is now in the foreseeable future. Curious to see what the trends are in home technology? Let’s take a look at what to expect this year.
Homes becoming even smarter
Back in 2018, smart homes were just emerging as an upcoming trend. However, this year, it’s expected that smart home devices will significantly jump in sales. These devices range from smart lighting to security cameras to thermostats. But the big difference this year is the synchronization of smart devices from different brands. By doing this, the industry is essentially creating a smart ecosystem.
Google’s jumping on board
Though Google may be known as a search engine, it’s looking to create smart home technology that can understand the present and future needs of the user. Google started with a one-size-fits-all approach for user needs; however, it’s quickly changed it’s functionality, providing a more personalized feel to users. They’re hoping to implement personalized smart technology into homes to improve user experience.
Entertainment heading to the next level
Though we don’t like to admit it, television takes up a decent part of our daily lives. Whether it’s Netflix or the news, everyone enjoys being entertained from the comfort of their homes. Most of us thought that 4k Ultra High-Definition was the next generation of television, but the future of smart televisions won’t end there.
With smart homes continuing to trend, technology will continue to be pushed to the next level, and this includes tv. Soon, smart homes will have 8k televisions hanging on their walls, providing an enhanced user experience whether it’s clarity or increased streaming services.
With the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), comes the advancement of cameras. Though this goes further than simple security cameras. A great example is an app called Smoke Detective which turns on camera-enabled devices into smoke detectors. Through the use of AI algorithms, the app can detect smoke quicker than a traditional smoke detector. Other enhanced cameras include “smart imagining” which can depict specific individuals, and “food recognition” which can adjust temperatures to ovens.
Smart speakers will be everywhere
If you’re in the garage and notice the door falling apart, all you’ll need to do is talk into a voice-controlled smart speaker to get the phone number for professional garage door installation. It’ll be that easy; you won’t need to even touch your phone. As of now, 52 percent of smart speaker owners have two or more devices in their homes. And this number is only going to increase as more people are expected to use voice controlled devices to conduct online searches and more.
When it comes to the future, no one really knows what’s going to happen. But one thing is for sure, smart devices are here, and they’re not going anywhere.
There is a growing interest in owning a business and being one’s own boss, and it is not at all difficult to understand why that is. This is especially true in younger individuals with interest in business management – so young, in fact, that many of them are students. There is a surging drive and excitement for students in the idea of being the master of their own creative idea, and turning that idea into a thriving business that they can bring to the world. Many students go through their academic careers making sure that they get through to the other side and onto the graduation stage on time, and this is of course the primary goal.
However, more and more often, students are becoming hungrier for more, always reaching to excel and flourish further. It might seem like starting your own business while still attending university is a crazy ideal – and it absolutely is – but more than that, it puts you ahead of the pack and teaches you life lessons ahead of your time, putting you in an extremely advantageous position before you have even officially entered the workforce. So, if you are on the fence about starting a business in college, here are the three biggest reasons why you should take the leap.
Your teachers and peers are your best resources
Make use of them. Getting funding for student startups is often easier than obtaining funding as an entrepreneur fresh in the workforce of their chosen field of study. That might sound strange at first, but here’s the thing. When you work hard in your classes, and you go out of your way to communicate and listen to others, then they see the type of person you are and they grow to know and understand that you do the work to back up the creative energy behind your ideas. These people – especially your educators – could well be your investors or future business partners if you do the work and you do it right.
Your position as a student is an opportunity to rise up
Take advantage of it. As a student, you have a truly unique chance to put yourself deliberately out of your comfort zone. Creating a startup is the surest – and potentially the most successful – way to dive out of your comfort zone and learn as you go. Learning as you go is a massive benefit to you, because you are learning about an industry that you are not technically a part of yet. In short, you are getting ahead. And that is always a positive thing. Creating, maintaining, and growing a startup is hard work, but you will never lose opportunities if you become an entrepreneur as a student – in fact, quite the opposite is true. When future employers see that you have traceable experience of you
You can attend all the university seminars and networking events you like
So, do exactly that. As a student, there are always events and seminars happening that you might not even ordinarily be aware of. You generally must do some research to find out more about the events on your own. This is where your networking skills begin to flourish. If you are going to initiate a startup business, then networking is your best friend. This is where you can learn about the industry in real-time. These events are where you can get advice, opinions, and even forge connections that will ultimately benefit you in the long run. Your business needs some backing, so network – this is where a lot of backing can come from.
When it comes to understanding the impact that digitalisation and technological advancement have had on varying industries, it goes without saying that each scope of impact is at once familiar and unique at this point. The packing and moving industry, for example, mirrors some of the other digitalisations and feats of technology that are being utilised to modernise and revolutionise other industries. However, these revitalisations are being applied to the industry in such a way that they are unique in and of themselves in their conception and further application.
Moving is often considered to be expensive and time-consuming, because historically this is exactly what it has been like. Until now. Moving technology is amping up on a global scale, and today people can move much easier, cheaper, and smarter thanks to the many technological innovations in their corner. To have an industry that has been renowned for being frustrating, time consuming, and somewhat inefficient completely turn the tables by introducing all-new feats of tech to help streamline it into a more wholly efficient practice is amazing, in every sense of the word.
Ordering packing and moving companies online
Getting help from movers used to be a frustrating experience. Doing the research to find a reputable company with the best deal could take hours, days, or even weeks. Expensive to boot, nobody wanted to pay more money than necessary to adequately and safely get from point A to point B. Now, the introduction of ecommerce has introduced a brand-new way of tracing, reviewing, and finding moving companies, and it all happens online.
There is something exciting about jumping online and only having to type in a keyword, location, and getting a full comprehensive list of all the available moving companies near you, within a split second. Further, companies today do everything from packing to unpacking for you, meaning that technology has literally gifted moving parties the gift of not having to lift a finger if they do not want to, or do not have the time to.
Selling items no longer needed online via designated apps and spaces
Technology has been innovative for the packing and moving industry in more ways than one. Thanks to the introduction and expansion of the online landscape, people can now sell their belongings easily online, making the move lighter and smoother. Websites like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are designed to make selling and purchasing easier than ever. Effectively removing the middleman, these apps and spaces give moving parties the chance to lighten the load, easier than ever, before the big move.
Setting reminders for to do lists, moving company times, etc via Google Home
Virtual home assistants are becoming more and more popular, and they can be incredibly useful when one is packing up and moving homes. It goes without saying that moving to a new house puts into motion a lot of varying to do lists and reminders. It can be hard to remember it all. And while people can write out to do lists, it is easier and even more efficient to be able to have someone recite your to do lists to you as you move around. Packing and moving is hard work. You are always on the move. Having the tech of a virtual home assistant to help you navigate the (somewhat) organised chaos can (and often does) make the world of difference.
When it comes to home design, there is something to be said about keeping things elegant and minimalistic. However, a house is just a house until you make it a home, and bringing in fresh designs is the best way to make your home truly yours. In the modern world, home design is all about being flowing, organic, natural. The most beautiful, sweeping, and coveted homes are the ones that are designed to mimic the elements, to bring nature inside, and to make the living spaces feel as calm and organic as possible (sometimes with a fresh twist to add a pop of personalisation, even drama). There are many ways to incorporate this approach to home design into your own home, but they all pretty much fall into three mainstream design strategies.
Creating a natural flow throughout the home
Ideal home design in this digital age is all about creating a natural flow throughout the property. Boxy home designs are out, and open plan, sweeping scapes are in. There is something welcoming, inclusive about a home that is open plan in design, and that is that the open spaces create a sense of collective inclusion, rather than the exclusivity between rooms that comes with boxed-in home designs. Additionally, Bigger windows bring in more natural light, and can open a space tenfold. This effect is made even more impressive if the backdrop surrounding the other side of the windows is a view that draws attention and leaves people feeling inspired and impressed.
Bringing in pops of colour in statement pieces and features
Sometimes, bringing in a vibrant pop of colour (think this year’s favourite tone, living coral, or sky blue, to name a few examples) can elevate a room and give it that extra ‘Wow’ factor. It does not need to be bold or dramatic, either (in fact, less is more, in most cases). Having a bright collection of vases on an end table filled with native flowers, or an awe-inspiring painting or sculpture, for example, creates a talking point in the room and gives it a sense of personalisation that makes it feel exciting and unique. To give another example, plants and their respective pots add a pop of texture and vibrant colour that can truly bring a room together and make it both welcoming and unique.
Incorporating natural tones to bring the feel of nature inside
Whether it is having copper or gold tones as bathroom and kitchen fixtures, or having a driftwood and glass coffee table (or any other manner of home design queues in between), bringing natural tones and textures into the home is a design trick that delights and impresses. Stone grey couches and marble countertops, and even splashback-style kitchen windows, create a natural atmosphere in the home, as well as making it feel more calm and pleasant to be in. These days, home design is all about bringing nature into the living spaces, and letting the organic beauty do its thing to take the home’s overall atmosphere design to another level.
The world of fashion has been an exciting one, with many passing phases and trends pushing it through to the next era, time and again. Of course, fashion is one of those industries that is a pillar industry. Clothing is something that is paramount in modern society, and it will always continue to be, and so this is a sector that has – and will continue to do so going into the future – been overwhelmingly successful. Over the years, it has naturally experienced its fair share of innovations and tidal shifts. Today, with younger generations being the major market for fashion (and practically everything else) these days, the changes keep flowing. Sustainable fashion is the latest innovation in an ongoing series of bids by the younger generations to improve their actions and interactions with the planet.
Heightened awareness of impact on health of Earth
In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on the health of planet Earth, and our role in its decimation. The heightened awareness of our role in exceedingly rapid climate change is deafening, and changes are finally being actioned fast and heavy. Sustainable fashion is one of the most currently-prominent of them all, and it is making the rounds and becoming more and more successful as time goes on. Currently, sustainable fashion is a niche, but it is growing exponentially with every passing day. People are more concerned than ever not only with their own health, but the health of Earth, and sustainable fashion is one of the best and most significant ways to improve the health of all.
Millennials are becoming parents
The rise in emphasis on the impact of our actions on the planet has resulted in a flurry of people activating for healthier approaches to multiple aspects of modern human life – including, now, the world of fashion. This is particularly true for kids’ fashion, as the generations whose influence is most heavy now happen to be millennials and onward. This is a generation of people who are now becoming parents, and they want not only themselves to be wearing clothes sourced and sold sustainably, but their children to be doing the same. There are some aspects of fashion that cannot get any more natural (think picking out and carrying out cool haircuts for boys, for example), but in the case of fashion choices, this is a component of modern life that can be improved exponentially.
The future of fashion is finally here
The jury is in. The facts are crystal clear. People no longer want to invest their hard-earned money or their support into fashion brands that are not doing their part for the health of the planet. Sustainable fashion for kids is on the rise because more and more parents are becoming aware of the significant impact that their own actions and choices have on their own health and the health of Earth. This is the beginning of a new era for the fashion industry, and it only going to get bigger and better from here on out.
There are no two ways about it. Running, owning, and operating a business is hard work. This is especially true if you want the business to be successful (and who in their right mind doesn’t want their professional endeavours to be successful?). There are, of course, many moving pieces to keeping a business thriving, but one of the most important – and yet also one of the most commonly overlooked – of them all is the financial standing of that company. Obviously, the finances are one of the most crucial moving parts in any business, and no company – no matter how brilliant an idea – can hope to succeed in the long run if it does not have active and conscious control of its financial holdings. The world runs on money, and so no one can afford not to pay attention. So, what are the key strategies to adequately and acutely managing the financial aspect of a business?
Take the time for the mundane musts
There are some aspects of running a business that are just bland. Checking the influx at the end of every business day is one of them. Uninspiring as it is, this is one of the central components to long-lived success in business. All the greatest companies in their respective industries got to where they are at least partially because of their commitment to keeping a watchful eye on their financial position. Often, the most seemingly mundane tasks end up holding the most value for a company, and so it is crucial that all business owners take the time out of their day to sit down and give attention to the less inspiring (i.e. the finances) components of the business.
Keep records of business funds
And back up all records. There is nothing more frustrating than going back to find a key date or piece of data, only to be met with an error code that does not let you access anything. Go digital – but go smart, too. Keep track of every financial movement in the business. Whether that is the moving of funds on a designated business rewards credit card, or the invoices that show the influx of payments coming into the business, the primary goal is always the same: have records of everything you possibly can. This not only makes your financial records nice and tidy, but it provides a cohesive, easy-to-navigate
Outsource if possible to save time
Sometimes, some components of the business are too time-consuming to wrap your head around. This is okay, even expected. In cases where certain components of the finances are more time-consuming than they feel worth, outsource when possible. Outsourcing the financial components of the business often opens way more opportunity for business owners to spend more time on the other, more demanding aspects of running their business. Not all financial aspects can be outsourced, but some of them can be, and you should be making use of outsourcing when possible to increase productivity and maximise on current circumstances and installations.
When it comes to actively taking control of one’s finances, to say that it can be difficult to get to a place of routine and stability, would be a serious underestimation. In fact, our financial position is something that people struggle with more and more, as everyday life becomes more expensive and it feels like the costs continue to pile on top of one another. A person’s finances are one of the most important attributes they possess, and so we should be taking more consistently active care to ensure that we are dedicating enough effort and time to improving and maintaining our financial positions.
While of course we all want to get there, there is something to be said about the difference between wanting something and working to make it possible. There are many reasons – countless reasons, even – to take active and constant control of one’s personal finances, but there are three that ultimately create the trifecta that gets people from point A to point B. But how do you make it happen?
The top tips to achieving financial stability
We have all heard before that budgeting is the only sure-fire way to achieve financial stability. But more than that, how can we stick to the self-imposed budgets we enforce on ourselves? For many of us, it is so easy to say, “I have my next paycheck coming in next week, I can spend a little now and save more of that paycheck”. This is where the problem starts. The three best ways to enforce financial stability are simple.
First, have two separate bank accounts – have your income go into one, and then actively transfer a set amount into the other (your allocated savings bank account). This establishes the mindset of not having access to it – keep the bank card in a secure place at home, so you do not have it on you all the time. Second, map out your monthly income, then segment it into sections (bills, groceries, fuel, social, etc). This makes it easier to stick to the budget, and creates a log of where all your money is going so you can easily trace it. And third, have a savings jar for loose change – it sounds silly, but after a year (or even six months) you could have an extra few hundred dollars.
Being comfortable, while also being prepared for the unexpected
It goes without saying that sometimes we are all in a position of having to sacrifice something we love because we do not have the means available to obtain it, or maintain it. Taking control of your finances allows you to budget and dedicate money to every facet of your life. Being financially stable means that you are more easily able to commit (without guilt) to unexpected costs like home or vehicle repairs, as well as being able to commit to drawn-out costs like lawsuit loans repayments if you require legal representation but cannot comfortably pay for it upfront.
Why forging financial stability is so important
When you are financially stable, you can take on new hobbies or engage in new activities, even purchase new small and big ticket items, that ultimately make your life more comfortable. While money cannot buy happiness, it does indeed buy comfort, and that is something that we all crave. Rather than having to cut back on the things that are not deemed immediate necessities, one can enjoy them plus all their creature comforts. Is this not a good enough reason to take control now?