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Business Ideas with (Almost) No Startup Costs

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Starting a business is quite the financial undertaking. There is a lot to consider, and lack of money can sometimes be a deterrent for would-be entrepreneurs. For those who are dreaming big but are on a small budget, here are a few low-cost businesses to inspire that entrepreneurial passion.

Social media and the 24-hour news cycle have created the perfect storm of opportunity for creative professionals like writers and graphic designers, who can use their talents to create high-quality, shareable content for businesses and media outlets. Thanks to a growing part-time economy of freelance and contract workers, it’s easier than ever to market yourself as a professional freelancer.

If you’re a highly organized, detail-oriented individual who loves putting parties together, you might have the right personality to launch an event-planning business. Working for weddings, birthday parties and class reunions, event planners make it easy for others to host an exciting party. LinkedIn, cold calling and planning a few pro-bono events will help give you the proper experience. This will also help you build up a solid database of vendors and contacts so you can help your clients orchestrate the event of their dreams.

Parents are busy with job responsibilities and driving their children from one activity to the next. So most working parents have very little time left to take care of personal errands like grocery shopping, making returns at the mall or mailing packages. The right, driven individual can take care of these time-consuming errands for clients and free up their days for the important things in life. Account for travel expenses when determining your rates, which can be hourly or by the task.

For the musically gifted, offering lessons to others who want to learn an instrument can be a great source of extra income. Unless you’re teaching piano, students can likely bring their own instruments to your home for hour-long lessons. Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in varying genres and aimed at various skill levels so you can offer a wide selection for your potential clients. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local high school and community theater groups.

Larger firms can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts and blogs, but small businesses often have to take care of their own social media marketing. With so many other responsibilities, business owners may be too busy or overwhelmed to spend time coming up with a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower counts grow, so will your business.

What are you passionate about? Yoga? Baking? Web design? If you know something inside and out, you can help others enrich their lives by offering virtual classes. Create downloadable instructional packets and videos, or schedule real-time Skype lessons with clients. Another option for aspiring educators is to start a virtual or home-based tutoring service.

This business requires you to plan and prepare weekly or daily meals for your clients, so strong cooking skills and a working knowledge of nutrition and special diets (if applicable) are a must. You don’t necessarily need to have graduated from culinary school, but having some cooking classes under your belt will boost your credibility. While you may have to do some traveling to and from supermarkets and client homes, your customers should cover the cost of ingredients in addition to your service charge.

If you’re fluent in a second language, you can find work converting written and spoken words from one language to another. Broadening international ties and an increase in the number of non-English speakers in the U.S. make this a fast-growing field, with the Bureau of Labor Services predicting 42 percent growth by 2020. You can start your own independent service and market yourself to businesses, schools, hospitals, courtrooms and conference centers.

Are you proficient in a highly specialized software? There’s a big demand for training from amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to understand. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour when giving a full tutorial of the program. Patience and a great personality are critical.

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Financial Emigration – What it is and does it apply to me?

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Simply put, financial emigration is the amendment of your status with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) from “Resident” to “Non-resident”.

This status effects on how the exchange control regulations are applied to you but does not affect your citizenship. Until you formally financially emigrate you are still considered to be a “Resident”. This has resulted in many people, having left South Africa for other countries many years ago, still being considered as a Resident by the SARB because they have not completed the formal process of financially emigrating.

There has been much consternation since an amendment to the Income Tax Act was proposed in 2017 regarding the exemption of foreign income for calculating income tax. As this amendment
came into effect on 1 March 2020 the interest surrounding this amendment has increased fairly dramatically in the run up to the change.

At issue is the application of Section 10 (1)(o)(ii) of the Income Tax Act and the determination of where the taxpayer is considered to be resident – on 1 January 2001 South Africa changed the basis of its tax system from sourced to residence based.

Current Position

Section 10 (1)(o)(ii) provides that a South African tax resident’s employment income that relates to services physically rendered outside of South Africa is exempt from tax, providing that individual is rendering services for or on behalf of their employer outside South Africa:

  • For a period exceeding 183 full calendar days, in aggregate, during any 12-month period (commencing or ending during a year of assessment) and
  •  In the same 12-month period, must be outside South Africa for a continuous period exceeding 60 full calendar days.

Where the above situation applies to an individual, all remuneration earned in relation to the foreign employment will be exempt.

This situation applies to many “ex-pat” South Africans who are currently working abroad.

The original intention of this exemption was to avoid double taxation on this income. SARS; however, has stated that while this was the intention, it was not meant to provide a mechanism
through which South Africans could avoid paying tax i.e. where work is performed in countries that have zero or low tax rates.

To prevent this SARS has amended Section 10 (1)(o)(ii).

Future Application

The initial amendment was to limit the amount of exempt income to R1 million but in the budget speech on 26 February 2020 this amount was increased to R1.25 million.

When determining this foreign income, the taxpayer must include the value all benefits received as part of their foreign employment such as accommodation, flights back to South Africa or elsewhere,school fees etc. In this scenario it is conceivable that the foreign income could fairly easily exceed the R1.25 million threshold.

Any amounts in excess the R1.25 million threshold would be subject to income tax in South Africa.

Options

Affected South Africans may still avoid having to pay South African income tax if

  • There is a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) in the foreign country where they employed to provide services which applies or
  • They can claim a foreign tax credit in respect of taxes paid in the foreign country on their foreign sourced income now subject to income tax in South Africa (this may not help South
    Africans in no or low tax jurisdictions such as Dubai).

Financial Emigration

While applying a DTA may be an option, the application of the DTA only applies for a particular tax year. This then requires the taxpayer to make a separate application every year – a potentially costly and time-consuming exercise.

The process of financial emigration, whilst more onerous, is a longer-term solution. If required, this status may be reversed at a future time but there are implications if this is this is done with 5 years of the SARB approving the emigration.

While Financial Emigration is an option for individuals who do not intend to return to South Africa, there are costs involved with the process. It is recommended that you speak to a Tax Practitioner regarding the implications of financial emigration to establish if this is the preferred option for you.

Written by: Derek Pettitt, Tax Practitioner and Registered Financial Planner

Get in touch with Derek by filling out the below form:


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Saving for your child’s education

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A parent wants to ensure the best future for their child. One of the best ways to give your child a head start in life is to help them get quality education.

A lot of South Africans. However, are not saving up for their child’s education. This is mainly due to the challenging economic situation in our country and living expenses. The cost of education rises faster than inflation unfortunately. If education seems expensive now, in the future, it will be even harder to cover all the costs.

If you have or are going to have a child soon, here are a few tips for saving for your child’s education:

1. Start Now

Start saving for your child’s education as soon as possible- if you can, before your child is born. The sooner you start saving, the faster your money will grow and the less you must save monthly.

2. Consider taking ownership of the investment

While it may seem like a good idea to invest money in your child’s name, you may want to keep it in your own name. If the money is in their name, once your child turns 18, they can spend the money however they want- and they may not have their priorities set on education at that stage of their life.

3. Do your homework when it comes to fees

Although private education in South Africa is excellent, the cost to send your child to a prestigious school can be crippling. Decide early on what type of school you’re going to send your child so that you can save accordingly. Remember a goal without a plan is just a wish.

4. Find the best method to pay for fees

Some schools offer a discount if fees are paid upfront for the year instead of monthly or quarterly. This may be a good offer to take up if the discount is a significant amount. On the other hand, you may want to consider whether you should rather invest the money and pay the school fees in monthly instalments. Often, debt is the deciding factor for parents. If you must take out short-term debt, such as credit card and retail card debt, it may cost you more than the rebates offered by the school. There is no such thing as good debt though.

In conclusion start now and have a set plan. Our kids are our future leaders and you want the best for their future.

Written by: Andre Becker, Ubuntu Capital Momentum Financial Planner

Get in touch with Andre by filling out the below form:

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How can a Financial Planner help me?

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When you are sick you go to a doctor right? When your plumbing acts up you call a plumber right? Who would you call then if you need help with your Finances? A financial planner, right?

And here’s why:

Do you need the services of a financial planner?

How do you know if you could benefit from the services of a financial planner?

You may not have the expertise, the time or the desire to actively plan and manage certain financial aspects of your life. You may want help getting started. You may benefit from an objective, third-party perspective on what are often emotional and difficult decisions. And in today’s hectic world, it can be beneficial just to have a financial expert looking over your shoulder to double-check your planning efforts and make sure you stay focused and follow through with your financial plans.

Like most people, you have hopes and dreams and life goals for yourself and your family. These might include buying a home or business…planning for life’s unforeseen events…estate planning…saving for an education for your children…taking a dream vacation…reducing taxes…retiring comfortably. Financial planning is the process of wisely managing your finances so that you can achieve
your dreams and goals, while at the same time helping you negotiate the financial barriers that inevitably arise in every stage of life.

I again ask the question; do you need a financial planner?

A Financial planner can help you do the following:

  • Set realistic financial and personal goals (to become financially and personally organised)
  • Set up a valid executable Will, living Will and medical power of attorney
  • Assess your current financial health by examining your assets, liabilities, income, insurance, investments and estate plan
  • Develop a realistic, comprehensive plan to meet your financial goals by addressing financial weaknesses and building on financial strengths
  • Plan for life’s unforeseen events and be ready should they occur (Life cover, Funeral cover etc)
  • Put your plan into action and monitor its progress
  • Help you stay on track so you can meet your financial goals
  • Saving enough for retirement, or rolling over a pension or just saving for a specific goal
  • Handling the inheritance of a large sum of money (easy come easy go). Unless its managed properly
  • Preparing for a marriage or divorce
  • Planning for the birth or adoption of a child
  • Facing a financial crisis such as a serious illness (Critical illness and Disability cover)
  • Caring for aging parents or a disabled child
  • Coping financially with the death of a spouse or close family member
  • Funding education
  • Buying, selling or passing on a family business
  • Protecting a key person valuable to your business

In essence making sure should life unexpected events occur that you are READY to take them head on.

Written by: Andre Becker, Ubuntu Capital Momentum Financial Planner

Get in touch with Andre by filling out the below form:


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