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How to Locate Unclaimed Money

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If you’ve lived in various apartments in multiple cities, or switched banks or employers at one time or another, you may actually have some unclaimed funds that you didn’t know about. If these funds were indeed meant for you, it is possible to reclaim that money. What is difficult, though, is locating the exact source of those funds.

Luckily, we’ve done the dirty work for you. These seven helpful websites will help you in your search for re-tracking your own money. So go ahead and become a modern day treasure hunter with a little web surfing.

1. https://www.unclaimed.org/
This is the best website to begin your search for unclaimed funds. The nonprofit group, titled the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, put this site together so can locate money held by your state, from such sources as uncashed checks, old security deposits, and forgotten safety deposit boxes.

2. http://www.treasuryhunt.gov/
Just as its name implies, this website is truly a treasure hunt paradise. This site is where you can discover bonds you’ve forgotten about that are still rightfully yours. You do need to put either your social security number in, or the social security number of the person who gifted the savings bond to you. Once you locate a bond that was truly intended for you, you simply start the claims procedure on this website, and a federal representative will contact you to complete the process.

3. https://www.irs.gov/Refunds
Yes, the IRS actually has a website especially for those of us who never did receive their federal tax refund checks in the mail. This “Where’s my Refund?” website option is something you definitely need to take advantage of if you haven’t received money owed to You just need to enter in your social security number, and the amount you were supposed to receive.

4. https://www5.fdic.gov/funds/index.asp
Banks are insured by the FDIC (The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), so if a bank happens to fail, the FDIC is supposed to provide the funds back to the bank’s depositors (up to $250,000) dollars. If you had your money in an account for a bank that is no longer operating, check out this website and see if the FDIC is keeping it safe for you.

5. https://www.ncua.gov/services/Pages/asset-management/unclaimed-deposits.aspx to When credit union funds go out of business, what happens to the money you deposited into it? It goes to a federal agency called the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Thankfully, this website will allow you to locate those funds from the credit union that failed.

6. https://www.unclaimedretirementbenefits.com/
If you, like most of us, have changed employers, it’s very possible you failed to roll over your retirement plan (401K) or place it into another retirement plan (e.g, an IRA). This website will allow you to search for that money that you worked so hard for and deserve to have. Claim the money from your former employers that is rightfully yours.

7. https://www.pbgc.gov/wr/trusteed/plans.html
This site is geared to those have not received a pension that was due to them, usually because the company responsible for sending it has gone out of business. If you haven’t received your pension and you have had no luck contacting your former employer, try this site, which is run by a federal agency, called the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), geared to protection private pensions.

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First Financial gets you cash fast
Hopefully these helpful websites can help you track down those funds deserved to you. We are the leading source of short-term personal loans and cash advances for those with low or bad credit scores, and we will even arrange easy online transfers. Just apply for the cash advance from the comfort of your own home. Start the process now, and you can have cash the very same day.

Will a Solar Car Finally Hit U.S. Streets in 2020?

With our country’s growing awareness of our environment’s sensitivity, it’s no wonder that solar energy has been skyrocketing in popularity. Harnessing solar power makes sense, as our sun is a constant source of energy, unlike our other natural resources that risk depletion, such as fossil fuels. With this mindset, it would seem as solar cars would become a popular trend here in the U.S. Unfortunately, no manufacturer has yet to create a viable solar family car.

Solar technology is challenging. The number of solar panels required to power a solar car inevitably creates a top-heavy vehicle that won’t pass even a basic crash test. In addition, the interior of these solar powered cars can become hot enough to endanger to the driver. Cloudy days make storage batteries unavoidable, but so far these batteries have caused the average solar car to weight too much for solar power to move it.

These setbacks haven’t stopped auto manufacturers from trying to develop the perfect solar powered car, however. In Australia, there has been a World Solar Challenge competition held every year since 1987. There, engineering schools and private companies enter their versions of the solar cars. Generally, the cars entered only have room for a driver, and no passengers, because the solar panels inevitably take up so much room.

Most solar cars only have room for one . . .

Can “The Immortus” Be the First Widely Available Solar Car?
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The tide may be turning, though. At the 2020 SEMA Auto Show, the largest auto show in the world, Australian manufacturer EVX, debuted its solar sedan, called “Immortus” for its ability to run forever. The sportscar not only allows two persons to ride comfortably (along with two, small carry-on bags) it provides solar energy storage. In order to avoid the tough regulations of the crash-test requirements in most countries, the Immortus won’t be mass-produced, but rather, built per order in 2016.

Up until now, the only other commercial vehicle that has been running on solar power is one produced by Organic Transit, called “ELF” (Electric, Light and Fun). This 3-wheeled bicycle/auto hybrid combines solar power with human pedaling, and can reach speeds of about 30 mph. So far, around 500 of these models have already been purchased, and although they are not safe enough for highway use, they are still legal anywhere else that bicycles can be used.

It will be interesting to see where the future of solar powered cars will take us. With our country’s ingenuity and creativeness, it’s only a matter of time before solar powered cars will soon become the norm. Maybe 2016 will be the year it finally happens … we’ll just wait and see.

No matter what your dream car is, First Financial can finance it.
Even if you have low credit scores, bad credit, poor credit, no credit or even bankruptcy, First Financial can help you finance your dream car. We are the leading American provider of bad credit auto loans, and we approve 93% of all applicants through our easy, confidential application and quick email response. We can do this with the same level security and protection as the big banks provide. So apply today! You’ll know in a day whether you qualify for up to $45,000.

3 Trends to Consider Before Buying a New Car

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Cars are synonymous with our nation’s coolness factor. Many car owners have so much pride in their beloved vehicle that they even belong to fancy car clubs.

Yes, Americans have always had deep affection for their cars … or at least they did. Recent auto industry research now indicates that only half of the millennials even bother to get their driver’s license by age 18. This is due to rapidly changing trends that have pervaded our culture recently, affecting our automobile purchasing choices.

So while the general population still longs for their dream car, these three popular trends have changed its shape:

1.Cell Phone Dependence: With the overwhelming popularity of cell phones taking over just about every facet of our everyday life, it makes sense that today’s savvy car shoppers want an automobile that can fully utilize this device. As of 2020, many automobile makers, such as Volkswagen, Chevrolet, and Hyundai, are building their new models with Apple’s new connected-car application, called “CarPlay” (for Android cell phone owners, it’s called “Android Auto.”). This software on the dashboard makes it easier to safely interact hands-free with all of the features on your cell phone, eliminating the need for a blue tooth device. Many more car manufacturers are expected to utilize this technology in the coming years.

2. Safety Concerns: With the Internet and social media informing us of every tragic, scary, life-threatening event the moment it happens, Americans have become preoccupied with their own safety, and trying to protect it above everything else. Because of this mentality, cars have also come under pressure to provide ample safety features. Therefore, automobiles with excellent safety ratings and even driver assistance technology are essential to today’s car buyer. Whether it’s a blind spot monitoring system, a backup camera, or even a self-parking assist feature, all of these provide an added level of comfort and security to today’s cautious driver.

3. Caring for the Environment: Our culture is now preoccupied with taking care of our environment. Even Barak Obama has put his climate change action plan at the forefront of his presidential legacy. This trend means that when the next generation buys a car, they want to factor in its total carbon footprint. Big gas guzzler cars are waning in popularity in favor of smaller, economical cars that get excellent gas mileage. Electric cars are also on the forefront of this trend, as the Tesla and Prius brands’ skyrocketing car sales have proven.

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First Financial Provides Auto Loans, Whether You Have Good Credit or Bad Credit.
When you’re shopping for a car loan, remember that First Financial has been in business long enough to recognize the subtleties in each borrower’s financial situation. We also know that more than 50% of Americans fall into the subprime category, with credit ratings ranging from “fair” to “poor” to “bad.” Thankfully our lending partners accept auto loan applications and approve these types of borrowers every day, so apply for an auto loan here today. You can also follow us on Facebook to get frequent financial planning tips and research.

Finding a Business Partner? Weigh the Pros and Cons First

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• Apple Partners Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak met in an early summer job
• Microsoft Partners Bill Gates and Paul Allen met in high school
• Hewlett Packard partners Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard met in college
• Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream partners Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield met in high school

Stories like these may inspire you to find a business partner or even bring in a pal, but each year thousands of failed business partnerships end up in court with accusations of negligence, mismanagement, embezzlement and even theft. Even the best of friends break up, turning into bitter enemies. Business partnerships can be like a marriage in many ways, and we all know how 50+% of those go. Before you find a business partner,
consider what’s best for your personality, the business you envision and the market you plan to serve.

Business Partners Provide Great Help with:
• Start-up costs and continuing cash flow. If you and your business partner both work, you’ll be able to use income from two jobs rather than one. You also have access to another’s assets as start-up and continuing costs. It may be easier to get an affordable business loan with two borrowers as well.

• Benefits of collaboration. Most business coaches encourage owners to pick a partner with complementary skills. That way the initial partner doesn’t have to learn all new skill sets, a process that requires extensive time and energy. Having two opinions on business matters can either be a great help or cause for contention and stress.

• Shared risks and business loan costs. Depending on the terms of your partnership, you split all loan costs.

• Pooled network. A business partner brings with him or her a network of contacts who can provide services or ideas for the company.

• Company and support! As mentioned above, comparisons of marriage and business partnerships pop up everywhere. A common quote about marriage is that it needs to be, “more bulwark than confinement.” Similarly, the connection that emerges from the business partnership should have far more positives than negatives.

Business Partners Can Hinder a Business and It’s Owner When:
• Partners default on loan. You will be liable if your partner declares bankruptcy or disappears.
• Business profits can’t support two people. While of course how profits will be shared should be set out in the business plan, poor income can create stress between two individuals when the rent or mortgage is due.
• Shared decisions cause friction. Two different personalities and life experiences lead to very different opinions on important matters. When each one of you is certain they’re right and the success of the business depends on the right decision, the stakes are high. Think of how you operated in college. Did you appreciate working in groups and partnerships or where you a solo operator? Take a careful self-inventory before you find a business partner.
• The friendship starts breaking up. Good friends are hard to find. Do you really want to jeopardize a nurturing friendship by becoming business partners?

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A+ Rated First Financial Supports a Wide Range of Business Borrowers, Even High-Risk!
First Financial is the nation’s leading provider of business loans for all kinds of businesses and even those in the high-risk category. Big banks and processors put many reputable businesses in high-risk categories like golf club manufacturers, vendors and imply because they’re new. Fill out our business loan application in minutes and find out how much you qualify to borrow. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart cash flow, marketing and business growth tips online, too!

How to Manage Cash Flow For New Businesses

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If you watched CNBC’s Shark Tank recently, maybe you caught Mark Cuban telling a hopeful business owner that it can take a lot longer than expected to get to consistent positive cash flow. Financial instruments like the business loan and the merchant advance have helped millions of business owners keep cash flow positive long enough to get that late payment from the big client who just happened to be traveling overseas, in the hospital or just behind. As e-Healthcare Solutions founder and president RJ Lewis remarks in an Inc. article,

“I do some angel investing in new businesses and in my experience, whatever the business plan says in terms of money and time needed to get to break even, the reality is it will take twice the money and double the time.”
Just as losing weight is the delicate balance of reducing calories IN while increasing calories OUT, positive cash flow happens when business owners can delay their own payments OUT to employees and other overhead while speeding up payments coming IN. Tackle the two jobs delineated below and you’re on your way to a flush future.

Job 1: Take Time to Measure
Seat-of-your pants entrepreneurship works in the beginning months of your business, but after a year or so, you need clearer cash flow expectations and projects. Getting these figures takes measuring incomes and outflow for this moment in time (or this month).

The simplest way to start gaining cash flow control is to divide a piece of paper in half. Write down your clients along the left hand side. Draw a line down the middle. On the right of the middle line write down costs for your employees, each vendor and other expenses. These current expenses should be easy to find and track. Don’t discount this low-tech method of cash flow analysis. Even having a cash flow analysis is a step ahead of MANY entrepreneurs.

For those ready to move beyond the sheet of paper, software helps keep cash flow positive. While we could go into detail about how to document each expense in a spreadsheet, it can be more fun to download a little app to your smartphone or computer. These low-cost software tools let you upload expenses and revenues once for repeat accounting. We like Pulse ($14/month), which—made by a small business for small businesses—helps you keep a finger on the pulse of your income and expenses. It also anticipates your business expenses and cash flow management needs, taking the thinking out of it for you. Your business makes you think enough! Another app, Float ($24/month), brings you a simple, intuitive interface and backs up all your data to the cloud.

Up Your Cash Flow costs more ($395 to $795 one-time fee) because it BRINGS more. It takes the thinking out of developing a cash management plan and provides consulting services. Great for the overwhelmed business owner, Up Your Cash Flow helps you drive income and revenues up, up . . . up! For businesses that have outgrown the solopreneur stage, Up Your Cash Flow helps you make the tough decisions and get clarity on your most lucrative products and services.

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Job 2: Take Baseline and Make Projections
For those of you using the piece of paper cash flow program, your cash flow for the next month will be column one minus column two. Will that amount pay for your living expenses? More marketing? An additional employee? These baseline measurements inform your decisions going forward. Those using one of the convenient apps mentioned above get their numbers crunched for them. With these figures in hand, it’s important to look at them with clear eyes.

To nail down your cash flow, you now must project revenues over the next three months. Perhaps everything stays the same. In that case, you can relax. Cash flow plans are not absolutely accurate future forecasting. They depend on your customers’ payment habits, your ability to foresee upcoming expenditures and the time your vendors give you to pay. Make sure you include costs like: loan interest and principle payments, marketing expenditures for seasonal campaigns and one-time fees like subscriptions, insurance and parties.

A+ Rated First Financial Steps Into Cash Flow Emergencies
We are firm believers that, if set yourself up for positive cash flow and positive results will follow. The abstract plan of trying to make as much as possible does not help business owners find where they can increase revenues. Specific management and planning reliably increases revenue month after month.

First Financial is the nation’s leading provider of merchant accounts and other merchant services, particularly for the high-risk borrowers. Big banks and processors put too many reputable businesses in high-risk categories like information technology, simply because they’re new. Fill out the application in minutes. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart business tips online, too!

9 Smart Steps to Choosing Your Business Merchant Services

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Industry research confirms what we all suspect and even have experienced: consumers using credit cards spend from 20% to 250% more than those who rely on checks or cash.

The average cash payer at McDonald’s spends $4.50 while those using debit or credit cards part with $7.00. The theory goes that those handing over dollar bills want to conserve them, but those using credit cards focus more what they’re getting from their purchase.[ii] In short, this second set focuses more on that steaming burger than the money in their hand.

American consumers love convenience of credit cards. Where 66% use credit and debit cards to buy both items and services, just 27% use cash. Further, experts expect the number of cash-using consumers to drop another few points to 23% by 2017.[iii]

These statistics lead to one conclusion: even the smallest business needs to accept credit cards to maximize sales. While a large corporation can put a team on finding the best merchant services provider for their needs, small business owners must evaluate competitors in the minutes between running their marketing program, taking calls and re-stocking shelves. It’s not easy juggling so many tasks. We well understand the saying,

“It’s great having a small business.
You get to choose which 100 hours per week to work!”

If you are looking to accept credit cards while maintaining solid creditworthiness for your business, finding an ethical merchant services provider who will be your partner in success is critical. These steps will shorten and clarify your research process.

1. Understand that to be able to accept credit cards you need to create a merchant account with a third party so that the money can move from the customer’s account to the merchant or business owners.

2. Determine your monthly sales volume. This step will weed out the merchant service providers that have a monthly minimum higher than your volume.

3. Determine whether you’ll be processing transactions online or at a bricks and mortar location. Equipment and software options will vary depending on this factor. You may need to integrate your account with third party services that also charge monthly fees.

4. Determine how many times each day will you run cards. Estimating this keeps you from over-buying features you don’t need.

5. Determine whether you’d prefer to rent equipment ($20 to $50 per month) or buy it (several hundred dollars). If you’re not sure about the business viability, renting for the first few months could be your best option.

6. Create a comparison sheet with these features listed down the leftmost column.

• Transaction rates: the majority of small business costs
• Equipment and setup costs
• Customer service: critical for small business owners who are not finance or technology experts
• Contracts and service terms: make sure you have clear confirmation
• Funding and processing time
• EMV capability: for smart cards that read data from integrated chips rather than magnetic strips. Credit card companies switched to this method in fall of 2015.
• Customization
• Simplicity of setup and use
• Possible third-party disintegration
• analysis and reports: to make your costs clear
• Types of processing
• Types of payments they accept: Visa, Mastercard, giftcards, debit cards and more
• Service constraints: what your merchant service provider WON’T provide
• Any additional features and benefits

7. Call the merchants you’re interested in and fill in the details.

8. Make sure the new merchant services integrate with any other ecommerce or other accounting software you currently use. Ask your tech people about the merchant services provider you’re considering.

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A+ Rated First Financial’s Small Business Merchant Accounts
Accept Revenue-Boosting Credit Cards to Ensure Your Business Longevity

First Financial is the nation’s leading provider of merchant accounts, particularly for the high risk borrowers. Apply for a small business merchant account here. We know that lots of reputable businesses exist in high-risk categories like Information Technology, simply because they’re new. Fill out the application in minutes. Follow First Financial on Facebook to get smart budgeting and saving tips, too!

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