Facebook’s Push to Make Money Off WhatsApp: A Mobile Payment


©iStock/gutaper

Facebook has been seeking ways to make money from the messaging service WhatsApp and has been testing payments via the app since last year in India, WhatsApp’s largest market with more than 200 million users.

Where will the rollout start?  Facebook intends to drive a global expansion of mobile payments on WhatsApp from London, accelerating its efforts to make money off the popular messaging service.  They are dispatching engineers from Britain to support its initiative.

Read more about how Facebook is plotting a global expansion of mobile payments on WhatsApp.

4 Creative Ways To Save Money for your Small Business

You may call me “Captain Obvious.” But I will point out one of the most important factors in growing a small business. Make sure you are saving as much as possible when purchasing goods and services for your company. Now you may think everyone should know this. But many entrepreneurs aren’t sure how to maximize their spend. And don’t know how to ensure they are buying the type of resources their companies require.

Creative Ways To Save Money

This article will give you some easy tips that will help you save money. When you follow these guidelines, you will have a better cash flow that you can use to invest in other areas of your business.

Use Comparison Sites

Choosing which products and services to purchase for your business can be tough. Depending on your industry, there are likely many different resources you might need to keep your business running efficiently, and each of these items come with different pricing, quality, and service levels. Determining which one is right for your business can be quite taxing at times.

One of the ways small business owners can streamline the process is to use comparison sites that do much of the work for you. They gather the data and the relevant facts of each product and packages them in a way that is easy to understand. In this way, entrepreneurs can take advantage of better pricing and quality without having to spend an inordinate amount of time to discover the right products.

Barter With Other Businesses

As a growing business, bartering is both a fantastic skill to utilize and a great way to save on cash. Other local small businesses are in the same position you are—trying to scrimp and save at every corner. Bartering services is a great way to assist both organizations.

For example, if you are a mechanic and you require plumbing repairs in your office, you could offer auto or appliance services in exchange for them. When you are in need of a service, always try to barter before offering to pay—you may not always succeed, but there’s no harm in trying!

Don’t Buy New Office Equipment

When you’re in need of office materials, there’s no shame in exploring your options. It makes sense to buy gently used equipment when you have the option and bandwidth to do so. New technology, printers, desks, and other daily-use supplies are perfect items to purchase used.

Look at your local newspaper or neighborhood Facebook pages for going out of business sales — these will often have all the furnishings you’ll need to stock your entire office on a budget. In many cases, the used equipment may be just as serviceable as if you had purchased it brand new.

Outsource As Much As Possible

Employees are essential to getting work done, but employee costs—from salaries to office space to insurance—can be the biggest chunk of a small business’s budget. Georgette Pascale, owner of PR Firm Pascale Communications, chooses to keep her full-time staff to a minimum and outsources work to independent contractors for the work that her staff cannot cover as needed.

Deborah Sweeney, CEO of My Corporation Business Services, Inc., uses the same method by hiring consultants as needed; Sweeney maintains that she can not only negotiate a lower rate with consultants, but that her business benefits from their more varied experience in their fields of expertise.

Money Saved Is Money Earned

Making sure that your business is being smart with the way it spends its money is essential to your success. The better you are at preventing unnecessary spend, the easier it will be to grow your business and earn more profit.

Image: Depositphotos.com

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Can You Still Make Money Dropshipping in 2019?

The short answer is no.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Ecommerce continues to grow at a breakneck pace, with virtually every business and aspiring entrepreneur trying to make a buck one way or another via digital salesmanship. Nonetheless, certain ecommerce strategies are sounder than others, and some tactics like dropshipping have become less popular over time, thanks to new constraints that make it less profitable.

2019 is a year as disruptive and confusing as ever, though, making it an open question as to whether dropshipping is entirely dead or not. Many continue to assert that dropshipping is a surefire way to earn a profit. Can you still make money dropshipping in 2019?

Related: 6 Routine Mistakes People Make When Setting Up a Dropshipping Online Store

Customers simply must be a priority.

The truth of the matter is that dropshipping is only a profitable endeavor if you strive to ensure that customers are always your top priority. Far too many newcomers to ecommerce believe that dropshipping is an easy, effective way of making a quick buck, when it’s actually a deeply complex process that requires you to stay on your toes. While dropshipping eases your workload by reducing the amount of goods you need to keep in stock, it creates additional challenges, especially when it comes to issuing refunds and ensuring customers receive gratification.

Many of those who once saw dropshipping as an outlet to business success quickly realized that they had deeply misunderstood dropshipping and paid the consequences for it. Having learned from their mistakes, some ecommerce professionals can tell you about the common dropshipping mistakes that almost cost you their business, but countless rookies will doubtlessly keep making those errors. This is because far too many who try to enlist the power of dropshipping for their business misunderstand what’s needed to make it work in the first place.

You’ll have to learn to grapple with high shipping cost, for instance, which is regularly recognized as a plague upon the potential profitability of any dropshipping ecommerce operation. Other shipping problems will abound, too, as you’ll soon discover that such things like quality control are a total nightmare in the world of dropshipping.

Dropshipping can lack accountability.

To put it simply, dropshipping isn’t nearly as secure as many who are considering it would like to believe. Given that you and your customers usually won’t be interacting with your suppliers in a face-to-face manner whatsoever, it’s immensely easy for either or both of you to get scammed. Sometimes, you’ll simply discover that suppliers you rely upon for dropshipping really dish out low-quality products that leave consumers irritated and unsatisfied.

This is why it’s imperative to only enter into valid dropshipping agreements with suppliers you trust after undertaking extensive dropshipping training. Finding a wholesale supplier isn’t always easy, and it’s certainly not always cheap, but finding the right supplier is usually the key difference between a dropshipping operation that’s a thriving success and one that’s a miserable failure. Any budding entrepreneur seriously tugging at the leash to give dropshipping a try should review a breakdown of how to locate dropshippers and other supply-side professionals you’ll need to make it in this niche market.

As always, stress honesty and efficiency above all else. Certain suppliers may try to lure you in by offering you better profit margins, but you need to understand that customers will quickly abandon your operation in droves if they’re receiving shoddy products so that you can earn an extra penny or two. Ensuring that you enjoy repeat business from satisfied customers will earn you more money than luring in new, naïve customers who will make one dropshipping order before ditching your business forever.

Related: 4 Simple Strategies That Will Help You Offer Excellent Customer Service

Prepare yourself for extra homework.

Business owners should also recognize that dropshipping models require that you prepare yourself for some extra homework. Dropshipping can only work for your company if the people running the operation are constantly doing market research to find new suppliers, products and engagement models to profit off. Rather than alleviating your workload, then, it’s important to recognize that dropshipping means additional hurdles will be put in front of you — though you could leverage some of that newfound work for better profits.

You’ll also need to prepare yourself for new aspects of the job. Quality control is entirely out of your hands, for instance, so you’ll need to establish a new method of guaranteeing that your customers aren’t getting ripped off. You’ll also need additional customer support representatives, as any dropshipping model is likely to result in some complexities that will baffle some consumers. The return process, for instance, is famously difficult when dropshipping is concerned; with about 30 percent of all online purchases eventually being returned, too, it’s safe to say this is a problem you’ll encounter sooner rather than later.

Finally, you’ll discover that relying on a dropshipping model for your business doesn’t always guarantee items will be in stock when your customers want them. Fulfilling customer orders in a satisfactory way is the name of the game, and you’ll need a system in place for when stocks dramatically become unavailable with little warning. Seasonal changes in the business cycle, for instance, like Black Friday shopping sprees, can upend dropshipping models just as they can normal brick-and-mortar businesses.

So, is dropshipping even worth it?

Despite these difficulties, many entrepreneurs still have their hopes pinned on dropshipping because of the immensely low startup costs usually involved in the dropshipping model. Elsewhere, those who find themselves in niche industries can become deeply familiar with the supply chain of their unique market and come to dominate it entirely. Thus, dropshipping can be safely labeled as an immensely challenging business model that nonetheless holds profitable potential for those entrepreneurs keen enough to master the process.

Related: How Strategic Warehouse Multichannel Fulfillment Can Help Budding Entrepreneurs

Cutting down on shipping costs and mastering the supply chain, for instance, has helped many dropshippers turn record profits in an otherwise cutthroat ecommerce industry. Outsourcing your shipping model, for instance, is something that’s helped ensure dropshipping is still a viable strategy well in 2019. One thing is increasingly clear — despite the ever-growing complexity of the digital marketplace, shortcuts like dropshipping will still be relied upon by clever entrepreneurs for years to come.

How to Start a Business with No Money

start a business with no money
Image source: Photospin.com

Starting a business with no money isn’t the ideal way to start out, but depending on what type of business you start, it can be done.  

The secret to getting started with no funding is to get creative and be determined. Contrary to the cliche, it doesn’t always “take money to make money.”  There are many entrepreneurs who started their businesses with little or no cash. Here are 14 ways strategies that work.

How to Start a Business with No Money

1. Start a Service Business

If you don’t have any startup capital, service-based businesses are perfect. Product based businesses require you to purchase and then resell. Service-based businesses like consulting, coaching, virtual assistant, web design, or home cleaning services only need the knowledge and equipment you probably already have.

2. Save Up the Money for Your Startup

Saving money isn’t easy to do, but neither is starting a business. If you’re serious about starting a business, look for ways to cut back on your spending. For instance, could you save money by cooking at home instead of eating out, or by bringing lunch to work instead of buying it? Could you enjoy local beaches and attractions instead of going on an expensive summer vacation? Can you watch movies at home instead of going out?  Learning to pay attention to and minimize spending will not only help you save cash to start the business, it will also help you keep business costs down once you get the  business going, too.

3. Work from Home 

Renting office or retail space is expensive. It’s something you may want or need to do to grow the business, but when you’re just starting out, look for ways to work from home. If you work from home, the business won’t need money for rent, utilities and office furniture.

4. Use What You Have

Depending on what business you’re starting, you may already possess the basic equipment, software and tools you need to get started. Hold off buying new or upgraded equipment and software until you start bringing in business and getting paid.

5. Use Free and Low-Cost Marketing Techniques

There are dozens of free and low-cost ways to market your business. Learn them and implement them before you start spending money on paid advertising. Using free promotional strategies at first will help you see if there is a market for your goods or services, and it will help you start to understand what attracts customers so you don’t make expensive mistakes once you are ready to buy ads.

6. Get Creative with How You Raise Funds

Consider the story of how Outbox Systems started. The founders had a dream of connecting two software applications together but didn’t have the money to build it. Instead, they worked out a deal with another company where they would build a similar product for a discounted rate yet retain the rights to sell the product to others. That’s creative financing. How can you get creative with how you raise money?

RELATED: Where to Get Money to Start a Business

7. Do All the Work Yourself At First

Rely on your own sweat equity to start a business with no money. Expect long days and the need to learn how to do things you haven’t done before such as marketing or selling or accounting. Doing all these tasks yourself at first save you money and will also help you understand what type of skills each activity requires when the business is making enough profit t hire employees. 

8. Investigate Non-Bank Funding Sources

Yes, there’s friends and family but today we have crowdfunding, local and national incubators, accelerators, and microfinancing. If you don’t know what these are, do some Googling and learn about them. Look for communities of investors in your area and tell others about your business. There’s plenty of funding that doesn’t involve banks and credit cards.

9. Start Simple

Your dream might include a pretty big business offering a wide variety of products and services but for now, keep it simple. Sell a single product or service. Build your customer base and later branch out into other products and services.

One of the most expensive parts of running a business is acquiring customers. If you gain their trust with one product or service now, selling something else later is much easier.

Free Business Startup Checklist

Starting a business can be overwhelming! Use this free Business Startup Checklist to make sure you don’t miss any important steps. This downloadable Word document lists the steps you need to take to get your business up and running, and includes space for you to note your own comments and deadlines. You can get the checklist free when you subscribe to the free Business Know-How Newsletter.

Request your free Business Startup Checklist

10. Start as a Hobby

At some point you’ll have to quit your day job but that day isn’t today. Hobby businesses often come from the person’s love of something. Maybe you have a corporate job during the day but you love to bake when you come home. Start with people you know and allow your network to grow from there. Your marketing costs are zero and you still have money coming in from your day job.

11. Work for Somebody Else

Although they may not admit it, most business owners became entrepreneurs thinking they knew more than what they did. In fact, many businesses fail because the person was ill-equipped to build a successful business.

Before you start your own business, work or intern with somebody in the business already. The experience you gain will allow you to start your business knowing what you truly need to spend money on and what you don’t. You’ll also gain insider knowledge of the industry and possibly a healthy customer list from the beginning.

12. Use Free Services

The Internet is full of high quality services you can use for free. Mailchimp is a powerful e-mail marketing platform that’s free for the first 2,000 e-mail addresses. Wufoo allows you to make online forms, and although Facebook and other social media platforms won’t put your ad in front of large amounts of people unless you pay, you can still gain some traction by telling people what you’re doing.

There’s also freelance platforms like Fiverr, Elance, and Upwork that have quality freelancers willing to help with logo and web design, and other service for cheap. You could get a logo made for $5!

13. Barter

Don’t have any money? Offer to barter your services in exchange for somebody else’s. There aren’t many small business owners that aren’t looking for ways to get quality services for little or no cost. What you have, they want, and they’re willing to trade for it.

14. Hustle!

Finally, go into your business endeavor with a hustling mindset. Be ready to do anything legal and ethical to get your business off the ground. Don’t like cold calling? Do it anyway? Not a graphic designer? You can find templates online for just about anything. Don’t want to do any free work? It might be worth it to get your name out there. If you don’t have the money to pay for services, you have to do them or find somebody who can and will do it for free.

Just as you would do just about anything for your family, you have to have the same mindset about your business.

It’s possible to get a business off the ground with next to no money. You just have to get creative.

© 2019 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.

These Simple Tactics Will Help You Become More Mindful With Your Money

Modern technology can help you spend your money, not save.

2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Phil Town says we can all benefit from being more mindful with our money. Destructive habits like using our credit cards and failing to balance our budgets can deplete your savings. 

Before you make big purchases, you should probably wait a week to really consider all of the pros and cons. You will come to realize that your impulse buys are mostly empty in the long run and investing your money is ultimately more lucrative. 

Click the video to hear more from Phil Town.

Related: Is Your Side Hustle Actually Making You Money?

Entrepreneur Network is a premium video network providing entertainment, ewitducation and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.

EN is partnered with hundreds of top YouTube channels in the business vertical. Watch video from our network partners on demand on RokuApple TV and the Entrepreneur App available on iOS and Android devices.

Click here to become a part of this growing video network.

5 Real Estate Mistakes That Could Make You Lose Money

Learn these common missteps before you post that rental listing.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

On the surface, real estate investing seems so easy. Passive income, property appreciation, tax benefits and more. What’s not to like?

But the reality of life as a landlord isn’t so rosy. It’s hard work. It takes time, research and careful study to understand the business. It’s far easier to lose money on rental property than to make money.

In fact, anyone can do it! All it takes is some shortsighted business moves, inexperience, and greed, and you, too, can lose thousands on an investment property. Of course, no one sets out to lose money. But having some guideposts about what you’re doing really helps. So here are the five most common mistakes people should avoid when getting into the rental property business.

1. Looking for a home instead of an investment property

Shopping for property as a real estate investor is different than going out and choosing a home to live in. Finding the greatest, most beautiful house on the market or the most gorgeous vacant lot isn’t the objective. You aren’t looking for a house you would live in, you’re looking for something that the average family would rent. 

This works on the flipside as well. Something like a condemned home might seem perfect to fix up as a rental property but remember that structures like that can quickly turn into money pits. They often require lots of extra time, investment and permits as they go through the remodeling process. Investment properties need to be able to be rented as soon as possible, not sit idle waiting for renovations.

Related: The Property Brothers’ Success Depends on One Thing

2. Betting too much on long-term value appreciation

One of the advantages of real estate investing, in general, is that landlords can profit in multiple ways. First, in the form of monthly rent payments, but again later in the appreciation of the underlying asset.

But it’s a mistake to put too much weight on the latter. Yes, appreciation is a nice bonus when a property is sold, but investment properties should be paying for themselves on a monthly basis from day one. If it can’t, then it’s not an investment property.

The fact is, high-priced homes and high-end condos don’t pay for themselves simply because it’s difficult to find tenants who are willing to pay that much rent. Instead, smart landlords should look for the average home in an average neighborhood because it will have the most demand, rent the fastest and pay for itself right away. 

3. Investing with a partner

Yes, there are good reasons for going in on a rental property with another person. Sometimes you need extra capital to close the deal, and sometimes you just want to spread out the risk of loss. But, as a general rule, unless your partner is someone you’re legally married to, it’s a mistake to get into an investment partnership.

Another good way to lose money is to borrow from family members to start your investment business. If you can’t afford a down payment for a loan then you aren’t ready for investing. Family members should be your support group, not your angel investors.

The only investing partnerships I’ve ever seen that succeed are those that are very well defined with everyone’s roles and responsibilities strictly outlined. A business is no place for ambiguity.

Related: Star of ‘Million Dollar Listing’ Says Anyone Can Make Money in Real Estate

4. Constantly raising the rent

A lot of landlords think that by continuously raising their rents they’ll be able to make more money, even if it means more tenant turnover. But, in fact, the opposite is true. Think about all of the costs that go into vacancies, from fix-up repairs to updates, to marketing and more. All of these costs can easily outweigh any small gains in higher rent. All that raising the rent on a current tenant does is force them to consider what else might be out there and make them more demanding.

Keeping rent the same gives the tenant an incentive to stay and keeps them happy.

The longer they stay, the lower maintenance they are, because they’ll be less likely to call you to fix something for fear that you’ll raise the rent. I have properties where I haven’t raised the rent in 25 years and I’m still making more off of them than I would if had raised the rent every year. As long as you start off at a fair, market rate you shouldn’t need to increase it constantly to make money.

Related: Mega Real Estate Agent Ryan Serhant Breaks Down How to Sell

5. Only renting to people you like

In my experience, emotion has no place in the rental business. It’s important to always think about the worst-case scenario: being forced to evict a tenant. Things happen, and sometimes a landlord has to take action. But can you?

Many people buy an investment property with their first tenant in mind being their friend or their brother. But things happen to everyone and even the best of friends can fall on hard times. All of a sudden, what started as an investment property has turned into a messy situation. By renting to people you don’t feel that kind of emotional attachment to, it’s much easier to take action when necessary. 

All that said, real estate investing isn’t rocket science. By going in eyes-open and avoiding some of the more common pitfalls of novice landlords, your chances of success will increase exponentially.

The 5 Most Common Lies You’re Telling Yourself About Your Money

These habits can cost you big at the bank.

2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Jeff Rose breaks down some really important money questions that you should answer honestly for yourself. For instance, do you even know how much money you’re saving each month? How much are you spending daily on small payments? When paying off student debt or credit card debt, are you paying off the majority of your principal or only concentrating on the interest?

Keep an eye on the stock market. Even if you’re putting a majority of your money toward a 401k, you should always know where your money is going and whether your investments are helping you toward your financial goals.

Click the video to hear more.

Related: These 5 Questions Can Help You Set Better Goals

Entrepreneur Network is a premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.

EN is partnered with hundreds of top YouTube channels in the business vertical. Watch video from our network partners on demand on RokuApple TV and the Entrepreneur App available on iOS and Android devices.

How to Make Money on the Web

If only you had a way to make more money! Your car needs brakes, Jimmy wants $89 to buy a new pair of sneakers, and the dentist just told you Julie needs braces. If only money grew on trees! But wait! What about the Internet? Heck, you already have a computer. And there are all these ads and stories about people making money online. Why not you? You could make money starting an Internet business, too. All you’ll need is a web site and that how-to manual you saw advertised for $97 dollars. Right?

Well, not quite… let me explain.

Yes, many people make money on the Internet. And yes, if you own any type of business you need an Internet presence.  But, despite the opportunity ads that claim you can get rich in your own “Internet business,” the Internet is not a “business” unless you are an Internet Service Provider (ISP), a web developer, or run a huge web portal like Yahoo. Neither is it a fast-track yellow brick road to wealth.

The Internet, you see, is a tool. True, it is a multifaceted tool. It can be used as a place to make sales and to market what you sell. It can be used for research and to communicate with your customers, and remote employees or contractors. It can be used to find people to work for your business, too. But just like carpenters’ tools or mechanics’ tools, having access to the tool doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use it successfully to make money.

But what about all these people you hear about who are making money on the web? Not the Amazons and the Zappos of the world, but the “little” guys and gals, the ones who say they make anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 or more on the Internet? If they’re not running Internet businesses, what are they doing? And how can you do it, too?

The answer is that those who have succeeded in making money through the Internet have created a business with products and services that offer real or perceived value to their customers. The products may be information such as video training courses, e-books, software, apps, shippable products like soap, clothing, or jewelry. People also successfully sell writing services, design services on the web.  

But the Internet, by itself, isn’t what makes them successful. To make money online, they need the same things people have always needed to make money in their own business. Those include having desirable products and services with good profit margins, having a reasonably big market for those good and services, having the knowledge and money to reach that market, and products that satisfy their customers. These personal traits are needed, too: passion and willingness to persevere, experiment and learn the best ways to reach their market – online and offline.

You can do that, too. But don’t expect to make money overnight on the web. And don’t expect to make a killing overnight by purchasing a “business opportunity.” To be successful, you’ll have to put time and some money into developing a business concept that will work and that people will buy. Depending on who created it, that $97 course your saw advertised may help you learn some method for selling on the web, but chances are you’ll need to learn more than what the one course presents.

Before you start any business on the web (or offline, for that matter), ask yourself these questions.

  • How much do you really know much about this business?
  • Do you have all the skills needed for this business?
  • If you’re going to teach people to do something, do you know how to do it yourself? If you are going to start a business providing office support services, be sure you can type accurately and have excellent spelling and grammatical skills. If you are going to help small businesses with their marketing, you need to be able to market your own services to those small businesses.
  • Do you need to bring in cash right now from this activity because the bill-collectors are knocking on your door? (If so, get a part-time job until your cash situation eases.)
  • Do you know how much money this business will cost to get started and to run?
  • Can you afford to spend that much money? 
  • Do you understand how much time and commitment it will take to be successful? Have you talked to other business owners? 
  • Are you willing and able to devote that much time?
  • Is this really a product or service that people (other than your relatives and best friend) would be willing to buy?
  • Would they buy it at the price you’ll have to charge to be profitable?
  • Do you know how to find the people who will buy this product? And how to find them regularly?
  • Have you checked into the regulations for starting a business – and for starting this particular business?
  • Do you know how to get people to visit a web site without sending unsolicited mail?

If you can answer the above questions affirmatively, and if you know that people actually do use the Internet to buy the product or service you want to sell, then write a business plan – even a simple one – so you know what it will take to be successful. Then put up that web site and test the Internet as a means to bring in added income. Plan on being persistent and proactive. Business won’t come to you. You’ll have to carve out your own road to success one step at a time. As you move forward, remember, too, that it takes many years for most businesses to become an overnight success.

© 2016 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.

Will Your Money Last as Long as You Do?

Why many people will outlive their money in retirement and what they can do to prevent that scary scenario.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

My 95-year-old mother-in-law is one person I never suspected would run out of money, but that’s exactly what’s happening.

When her husband died, she received a life insurance settlement, and she’s received a nice pension payout every year since, taking care to preserve that pension by living a frugal lifestyle. Still, the assisted-living facility where she lives raises the rent every year — more than the increases in her pension and social security. And, something else: She’s living longer than everyone expected.

Related: Does Your Retirement Plan Pass the 3-Point Check-Up?

In fact, she’s still going strong and could easily live another five years or more — that’s wonderful news. And, thankfully, our family is prepared to help if, as appears likely, her living expenses exceed her income. But it’s that very scenario of having your living expenses exceed your income, that needs people’s attention, because it’s happening more and more.

One big cause is the big mistake people, including entrepreneurs, make in planning for retirement. They understimate how long they will live. In fact, nearly half of pre-retirees and retirees underestimate how long they’ll live by five years or more, according to surveys by the Society of Actuaries.

One reason why is that too many people predict their length of longevity based on arbitrary factors, such as the assumption of an “average” lifespan. That’s a big problem when it comes to making sure your money lasts as long as you do.

Very few of those surveyed, apparently, understood how variable life expectancy can be. Whatever the statistics say is the average life span for someone of your age and gender, you have a 50 percent chance of living longer than that age.

By the time men reach age 65, those with average health have a 40 percent chance of living to age 85, while women in this group have more than a 50 percent chance of living that long. If, on top of this, men are healthier than average, they’ve got a 50 percent chance of living to age 85; and women have a 62 percent chance. Well-educated people tend to live longer than average, too.

Related: Precisely Following This Savings Plan and You Can Retire in 15 Years

And those turning 65 today? Some 25 percent will live past 90, and one out of 10 will live past 95, according to the Social Security Administration.

Yet while longevity is an obvious gift, finances can be tricky. If you’re the lucky one who hangs on until age 100 or longer, you probably won’t feel so lucky if you can’t provide for yourself in those final years.

How do you handle your finances if you run out of money in retirement?

Most people surveyed say their first line of defense is to reduce their expenditures significantly. How sad! To work hard all your life and end up having to scrimp and sacrifice just to get by!

Almost as many people surveyed said they would return to work or work more hours than they currently do if they found themselves running out of money. But that’s easier said than done: New data analysis by ProPublica and the Urban Institute shows that more than half of older US workers are pushed out of longtime jobs before they choose to retire, thereby suffering financial damage that is often irreversible.

Others have to stop working sooner than they’d planned due to health problems, disability or the need to take care of a loved one, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute.

Longevity is one of the biggest questions we all face in determining how much to save for retirement. Therefore, it pays to make conservative assumptions, both when you’re considering your potential life expectancy and when you’re planning how much money you’ll need to see you through. For instance, you should plan on withdrawing no more than 2.8 percent of your retirement savings each year. Anything more significantly increases your chances of running out of money, current studies show.

When was the last time you crunched the numbers that assumed you had a long life in store?

Many people look at the numbers facing them, and they get so worried, discouraged or scared that they fail to act. Don’t let that be you. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. And the longer you wait to get serious about it, the more hopeless you’ll feel.

Related: The Basics of Self-Directed Retirement Accounts

By starting now, you’ll have more choices and more future freedom. For instance, by choosing to save more and forgo certain expenditures while you are still working, you can increase your wealth and the options you’ll have later about how to spend it.

Of course, if you knew exactly how long you were going to live, planning for retirement would be a simple matter. But since you can’t know that, why not plan as if you are going to live until 100? The peace of mind you’ll gain will give you an incentive to keep building your financial security. And when you’re age 75, 80, 90 or even older — and still very much alive — you’ll be glad you did.

How You Spend Your Money Sends a Message to the World

Put your money behind businesses that actually make a difference.

2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Phil Town explains that you send a message to the rest of the world when you put your money behind certain causes. That’s why it’s important to do the research. You should know where your money will end up and whether or not it will align with your values. Take ownership of your investments, so that you are making decisions — not your financial advisor.

To hear more about how your investments speak to others, click the video.

Related: If You Want to Break Out of the Middle Class, Avoid These Money Habits

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