Top 10 Equity Crowdfunding Sites for Investors & Entrepreneurs

crowdfundingTranslating an innovative concept into a thriving business is a complicated and unpredictable proposition. For entrepreneurs without the resources to fund a startup out-of-pocket, it’s essential to secure adequate financing – often before the nascent company has any revenues – or even a marketable product – to speak of.

Traditional banks are often reluctant to fund vulnerable startups with what they perceive as unproven ideas. And though there are numerous nontraditional startup financing options, not all are suitable in all situations.

What Is Equity Crowdfunding?

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What Is a Radiant Heating System – Costs, Benefits & Drawbacks

radiant heating systemOutside of tropical climates, every dwelling requires a reliable source of artificial heat. Depending on the type of dwelling, geographical location, and the property owner’s budget, heating systems take different forms: forced-air ducts connected to heat pumps or central furnaces, steam radiators connected to boiler units, electric baseboards, and electric space heaters that plug directly into wall sockets, to name several.

When the weather is cool, heat is a nonnegotiable expense, no matter what type of system you have. However, there are many ways to reduce your heating bills, such as installing a programmable thermostat or bulking up your home’s insulation.

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Buying an Old House? – Common Problems, Hidden Costs & Benefits

colonial homeAmerica has lots of old houses. According to HUD’s 2013 American Housing Survey, the average owner-occupied structure is about 37 years old. For reference, that’s higher than the U.S. median age.

In some parts of the country, the housing stock is far older. On average, owner-occupied housing in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania is more than 50 years old. Though there are exceptions to the rule, homes tend to be older throughout the Northeast and Midwest, and in urban cores across the country.

By contrast, newer homes and bona fide new construction homes are more common in Southern and Western cities in general, and in suburban and exurban communities across the country.

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7 Ways a Bad Credit Score Can Negatively Affect You – How to Track Your Credit Score

bad creditWhen you swipe a credit card or take out a loan to make a purchase, you probably don’t think of the experience as a test of your personal integrity or reliability. You’re more interested in how you’ll feel behind the wheel of your new car, walking through your new home’s kitchen, or sitting in front of your new flat-screen TV.

But your creditors don’t care about how your purchasing habits improve your personal happiness or quality of life. They just want to recover the money they lent you – with interest.

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How to Use Reloadable Prepaid Cards for Budgeting and When It Makes Sense

Sponsorship Disclosure: A huge thanks to Green Dot and Visa Clear Prepaid for working with us to bring you this content.

prepaid debitI’m the first to admit that I’m not always faithful to my personal budget. While I’m frugal by nature, I have weak spots, like the occasional nice meal out or live sporting event. Some months, these vices make it harder for me to reach my financial goals.

The consolation is that I’m far from being alone in this predicament. For numerous reasons, many consumers find it difficult to stick to their monthly spending budgets. But what if there were another way?

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What Is DIF Insurance (Massachusetts Depositors Insurance Fund) – How It Works

Boston photo by Jay YuanIf you have a bank account – or even if not – you’ve likely heard of FDIC insurance. FDIC insurance is deposit insurance overseen by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a federal entity created by the Banking Act of 1933.

FDIC insurance guarantees the safety of deposits in checking, savings, and CD accounts held with FDIC member banks. When a member bank fails, the FDIC reimburses each depositor up to $250,000 per account. As of mid-2015, there are about 6,400 FDIC member banks, according to the FDIC.

Origins & History of the Depositors Insurance Fund (DIF)

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7 Common Types of Theft Abroad – How to Protect Your Money While Traveling

passport and moneyThough we aren’t able to travel as often as we’d like, my wife and I love planning and taking trips, from outdoor adventure excursions and fitness vacations, to quick jaunts back home to reconnect with family. Regardless of the destination, we both take joy in escaping our daily routines and being part of something different for a little while – both during the planning process and throughout the trip itself.

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11 Best Free Checking Accounts at U.S. Banks

checkingIt’s becoming increasingly difficult to find truly free checking accounts. At many banks, you’re now required to pay a monthly maintenance fee for the privilege of keeping your checking account open. Such fees can range from a few dollars to $20 or more, depending on the bank and other associated perks. To avoid these fees, you may need to maintain a high minimum daily balance, make regular deposits of a certain size or frequency, or execute a minimum number of transactions in a statement period.

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FNBO Direct Review – No Frills, Online High-Yield Checking Account

fnbodirectFNBO Direct is the online banking arm of First National Bank of Omaha, itself a subsidiary of financial conglomerate First National of Nebraska. While First National Bank of Omaha’s physical branches and account holders are confined to several states in the middle of the country, FNBO Direct accounts are available to anyone with a U.S. address.

FNBO sets itself apart with a high-yield checking account that features no minimum daily balance, no recurring fees, and a nominal opening deposit of just $1. It also has a savings account and multiple CDs, all of which have decent but not spectacular yields, and all of which come with FDIC insurance up to $250,000 per account. Additional perks include person-to-person transfers via Popmoney, Apple Pay functionality, and a Visa-branded rewards credit card that’s exclusive to account holders (but is contingent on qualification).

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Prosper Review – Online Loan Marketplace for Peer-to-Peer Lending

prosper logoProsper, a popular peer-to-peer (P2P) lending network that offers unsecured personal loans with terms of 36 or 60 months, has embraced the sharing economy with gusto. By matching individual borrowers with individual or institutional investors willing to lend funds at competitive interest rates, Prosper cuts out the middle man (traditional banks or credit unions). Relative to those institutions, Prosper has more relaxed approval standards and faster funding times for borrowers.

The platform earns money through origination and servicing fees. Its top competitors include other P2P lenders, such as Lending Club and Peerform, and low-cost personal credit providers such as Avant, which doesn’t use the P2P model and thus isn’t available to prospective lenders.

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