So, you want to buy an expensive sports toy?

OK, you’ve worked hard and done well, but stopping to smell the roses isn’t what you want to do to celebrate — you want to have some fun!

Maybe go messing about in boats, snowmobile the winter away, or follow the Lewis and Clark route on a motorized “personal watercraft.”

Today’s sports toys cost big, big bucks, so before you take the plunge, devise a buying strategy that fits your lifestyle and budget.

“Remember, these are personal items, so they’re going to be costly up front and you’re going to pay a higher interest rate because you’re buying a luxury,” warns Ralph Guthrie, sales manager of Brookside Marina in Naples, Fla.

Let’s consider your options and look at some examples.

Dealer financing: For as little as 10 percent down, you can be in action, but you’ll need good credit and several years of credit history to get a good interest rate. (more…)

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Has alternative finance proven its worth?

Alternative financing models such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer financing and invoice trading are no longer at the fringes of the financial sector. Increasingly, these and other newly established financing vehicles are rapidly becoming mainstream options for entrepreneurs looking for more innovative and flexible ways to finance their growth.

According to a 2015 study by University of Cambridge and EY, the growth rates of some alternative financing options have been particularly impressive and look set to accelerate. In Europe alone, transaction volumes via alternative finance platforms grew six-fold in three years and were expected to surpass €7 billion (US$7.9 billion) in 2015, making alternative financing more accessible to early-stage businesses.

Necessity: the mother of invention

The 2008-09 financial crisis accelerated the development of alternative financing. Its immediate effect was to cause many of the developed world’s banks to cut back on their lending, particularly to early-stage businesses. The introduction of new bank capital regulations added further momentum because banks were forced to focus on building up large capital reserves instead of lending. (more…)

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