Sunday, February 19, 2017

Saving Up For A Down Payment

down payment while purchasing new home
With the cost of renting now at a stage where it is almost going toe-to-toe with the cost of a mortgage, it can be a seriously daunting task to try and save up enough money to have a deposit. It can be stressful, it can be exhausting, it is riddled with sacrifice and it can sometimes all fail at the last hurdle. Basically, every cent matters when it comes to saving your money, which is why we have compiled a list of ways to help you in your mission to save up for a down-payment. All you have to do is read on.

Move Now

The biggest killer of your down payment pot is your current rent, which means you need to address this. Don’t worry, it isn’t forever. In fact, the duration of this sacrifice will be far shorter than you may think. All it requires is moving out of your own space, your current space, for six months, maybe a year depending on how much you want to save. So what are your options? Well, the best and worst option is moving home to live with your parents. We know this may not be ideal, and may even feel like a step backward, but they would relish the opportunity to help out and you’d been able to save a sizeable chunk of your monthly paycheck, even if you had to pay a little bit of rent to your folks. Of course, if this isn’t possible, then it is isn’t possible. It is not the end of the world, though. Why not have a look at moving to a cheaper place. Most of us rent or buy what we can afford instead of renting or buying the cheapest and smallest place comfortable to live in. So why not try that little piece of advice from the Minimalists. Or why not get a housemate in your current place, that way you can split rent and bills, and thus save money.

Debts

It may be an odd suggestion, paying off your debts instead of saving your money, but your debts are likely to be causing you more harm than good. What’s more, by paying off your debts you are actually making an investment. It could be credit cards, student loans, the money you owe to the IRS, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you find a way to pay off these debts or get a better deal. It could be you speak to your accountant. However, it could be that you have to approach BC Tax LLC complaints department. Both of these options will be helpful in the short term and long term. As a rule, though, the more you pay off the less monthly outgoings you have, and the less debt or tax issues you have, the more you can borrow for your house.

Part-Purchase

If it is just the deposit that is holding you back in the purchase of your home, then why not formulate a new plan and consider shared-ownership. This is an exceptionally good and affordable alternative, especially if you are looking to get on the market for the first time, or out of the renting market. How this works is relatively simple. You buy a portion of the property, anywhere between 25% and 85%, which means your mortgage would be smaller, and in turn so would your down payment.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The benefits of having more than one bank account

details about bank accounts
Picking the right bank account for your needs can be a confusing and stressful task. Whether you’re paying your bills, saving for a holiday or you're looking for somewhere to keep your everyday spending money, different bank accounts can have different benefits for each. Pounds till Payday, a payday loan company, have some advice for how by using different accounts, you can find the best one to suit your needs.

Everyday

Your everyday account is one of the simpler ones to find. This account can be used for your day to day spending from the big weekly shop to smaller impulse buys. You can also use this one to pay your bills.

Find an account that enables direct debits and standing orders. Most bills you pay, such as gas, electric, phone, internet, will be payable via direct debit. If you arrange for these payments to be made automatically on the day you get paid, it is easy to make sure you don’t fall behind and you can also see how much money you have left for the rest of the month. These accounts will also allow you to set up standing orders to your other accounts so that money for savings or a mortgage can also be automatically transferred on a date of your choice.

Certain accounts will also allow you an overdraft facility to help you ensure you don’t run into financial difficulty and rack up bank charges. Information on how much these cost can easily be found on banks websites so you can shop around. Other bank accounts offer benefits such as cashback on purchases and bill payments so if this interests you, have a look at what each account offers. If you want a contactless card, research which accounts offer these before you commit to one. Contactless technology is available in hundreds of stores now and will be rolled out to all card machines within a few years.

Loans/mortgages

If you’re buying a house or looking for a loan, the bank that runs your everyday account may not be the best place for this. Different banks have different criteria for lending and different interest rates so shopping around for the best deal is essential. Comparison sites can be a huge help and offer impartial advice on the pros and cons of each bank. Some banks still offer guarantor mortgages and springboard mortgages which allow your family to help you buy a house so if you need extra help then these could be the one for you.

Savings

If you’re saving for something big or small, it's important to find the account that offers the best interest and tax free saving. If you’re saving for a house in the UK, the Help to Buy ISA will match your savings so that you can double the amount you’ve put by. This can help you buy your first home and get yourself on the property ladder.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Abandon Ship! What To Do When Your Finances Hit A Rock

sinking finance
Running is a business is a unique experience, but there is one experience all business owners share. That experience is the phenomenon of going through a rough financial patch. For whatever reason, every company has to tighten their belt or even watch their finances fall of a cliff. It is not easy, it is not nice, but more importantly, it isn’t the end of the world.

Get A Quick Loan

Just because your finances are in bad shape doesn’t mean that you don’t have bills to pay. Your lenders might sound sympathetic but they won’t give you a reprieve because they want their money. From their point of view it is just bad luck. Due to their lack of sympathy, you can’t say you refuse to pay anymore. Not only will it hurt your credit rating but it will spiral out of control. The only option is to take out a loan to cover your debts. And don’t worry if you have bad credit as online loans for bad credit are readily available. At least with a loan you can continue to function while you come up with a plan.

Cut Back

Cut back means you have to cut back wherever possible. Some cut backs speak for themselves, like moving offices if the rent is too high. There are others, though, that aren’t as easy to spot. Transforming into a paperless office is a great example. You might think that it won’t make a difference but it makes a big difference. Businesses can spend hundreds and even thousands on paper every year. By getting rid of it altogether you don’t have to pay the costs. Regardless of the amount, you should make it happen. Remember that every little helps.

Hire An Accountant

‘Wait a minute, you just said I should cut back on my business expenses?’ Yes you should, but sometimes to have to spend money to make money. It’s a strange concept to understand, yet it is one that can save your business. Paying for an accountant to look after your finances will save you a fortune in a range of areas. Accountants, for instance, know how to structure your finances to avoid bank charges. They also know how to pay off debts so that you always have liquidity. Their expertise will save you money even if you have to pay them a wage.

Don’t Panic

Finally, don’t lose your head and make bad decisions. The shocking truth is that businesses often kill themselves in this period because they lose focus. As soon as they hear the news, they try and dig straight out of the hole and go for the Hail Mary. Your finances are a long-term project and you should treat them as such. So, take a deep breathe and think about what your next steps are, then execute the steps one by one.

How you react when you are in financial trouble is vital as the wrong reaction can be fatal.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Secrets of Improving Business Profit Margins, Without Spending A Penny

profit improving matters
Many business owners are under the impression that spending money makes them money when it comes to improving their profit margins. While this can be true, it is far from the only way to boost your coffers. In fact, you can improve your business profit margins without spending a single penny - and focus on reducing your costs.

In today’s guide, we’re going to run through a few ideas on how you can enjoy better margins just by being sensible, making better decisions, and changing the focus of your business. Read on to find out more - and with a little luck, you will reap the rewards in the not-too-distant future.

Be more vigilant

First of all, it’s important to know where your money is going. This involves a broad range of activities, from tracking every last penny spent to holding regular reviews of expenditure and costs. It’s probably the most important and dramatic thing you can do if you want to start seeing higher profit margins.

Streamline your business

According to Rezzable, streamlining your company is the most important thing you can do. Streamlining is not just about cutting costs, of course, it's also about organising your business better, to ensure that productivity remains high. The idea is to make every single task in your business more efficient, and remove many of the flaws and blockages that many companies experience on a daily basis.

Focus on customer experience

Ensuring every customer sees your company at its best costs nothing. And, given that every penny your business makes comes from those customers, it makes sense to reward them for it. Offer a great customer experience, and you will reduce buying abandonment and brand disloyalty, and increase brand recognition and, most importantly, your profit margins.

Retain current customers

Instead of investing quite so much in finding new clients, start doing more to persuade your current clients to keep purchasing from you. Keeping customers is always cheaper than finding new ones - so consider how you are communicating with them, or offer them new deals and discounts.

Speed up your processes

The faster your turnaround time, the lower your cost per sale - it’s a simple premise and one that should tell you the importance of tracking your order and delivery systems. Making small changes can have a significant impact, and the less time you spend between order and delivery, the better your margins will be. Eliminate wasted time, automate what you can, and do everything possible beforehand to ensure speedier beforehand.

Cut low paying clients

What areas of your business are high producing? If you can work out where you earn your money, you can start focusing on dumping low paying clients, and do more to attract high payers. Don’t underestimate the impact low payers can have on your business, particularly if you are offering services. They drain your time, demand more for their money, and might actually end up costing you!

So, there you have it - a few handy tips to help you improve your profit margins Good luck - and feel free to share any tips in the comments section below!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Big Family Keep Getting Bigger? Keeping Your Finances In Check

finances for family
It’s hard enough to keep things afloat and your financial standing solid when you’ve got any children, but it can get all the more difficult when your family keeps getting bigger and bigger. Naturally, you will have reviewed whether you can afford to have any child before you made the decision to do so, so it’s unlikely that the basics - food and housing - will have to be too severely compromised. Still, it’s wise to have a stringent plan in place to make sure things don’t unravel. Nothing can put more undue stress on a family like money, after all!

Establishing the Rules

If you’ve got plenty of kids, then you’ll need to set the ground rules so everyone knows what they’re dealing with. Your family budgeting probably didn’t account for everyone to stay in the household until they’re in their mid-thirties. It’s pretty simple - when they reach a certain age, they have to contribute X amount of money to the household. It can begin as a small amount, a token gesture to teach them the responsibility of providing, before working up to an amount that makes a real, positive difference. You might also have a rule that says by the time they’re 23 (or whatever), they need to be in the process of moving out of the family home.

To the Future

You're responsible for the family’s money, and it’s important that you keep an eye on the long term growth. This is as much for your own sake as it is for your partner’s and children’s. Speak with a financial expert on occasion to get an honest assessment of your finances; they can advise when you should be selling your home - or not - and so on. Be sure to choose the right estate planning advisors well in advance, as an unforeseen accident can complicate financial matters hugely - especially when a large family is involved. Keeping an eye on the housing market and deciding when to sell the family home and downsize is also important, as this will free up a lot of cash and boost your financial standing.

Their Rainy Day Money

A large family doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to gift your children savings to get them started in life, it just means that you’ll have to start the saving sooner. Put just a small amount of money into your children’s individual savings account each week can result in a large chunk of money when it’s multiplied by eighteen years or so. You may also speak to a financial advisor about what they best way to present the savings to your child is, as there may be options that will keep the money growing.

Keeping them in the Loop

Of course, if times ever get tough then you should be willing to open up and talk to your family about the state of your finances. Many families keep money issues far away from the children, but by keeping them in the loop you’ll be taking unnecessary stress off your shoulders and teaching about them financial matters.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Why Alternative Investing Is So Hot Right Now

other investment options
2016 was a big year. We saw a polarization in politics like never before in the West with events like Brexit and the US election, and investors all over the planet are wondering whether this is a sign of things to come. Businesses too are reporting that thanks to the changing political climate, they’re altering their behavior and planning how they are going to navigate a challenging political landscape.

The good news for individuals is that global growth remains strong. According to estimates, global growth will expand this year from 3.1 percent to 3.5 percent, mainly because of the new pro-growth strategies outlined by the incoming US administration.

With things changing so fast, what does should the small investor be doing? Here’s some advice to weather the storm.

Start Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending wasn’t even something that was possible until a few years ago, and we go the cloud. But the very fact that it exists is worrying. In a normal economy, it’s the job of banks to take the money of savers and lend it out to borrowers. But the fact that people feel the need to go to peer-to-peer services to get a return on their money shows that the traditional market just isn’t clearing. More people want to borrow than the banks will allow, prompting savers to enter the market and lend directly.

Granted, it’s all very strange, but there are some significant returns to be had. According to Bankrate, annual returns are between 5.3 and 8.6 percent, more than triple what most savings accounts currently offer. Riskier loans based on lower borrower credit scores offer even higher rates of return than that, although the risk is considerably greater.

Art And Rarities

Investors have been piling into art recently in search of better returns. Art and rarities are seen as a sort of safe haven when the stock market is in turmoil because they tend to keep their value over the long term. Recently interest in art has been pushed, however, by increasing sticker prices of top works of art.

Michael Saigh, a managing partner at a rarities investing company, says that for many small investors, opportunities are limited because of high entry prices. Some start at more than $1 million. But with the growth of art shares, it’s becoming easier for individual investors to get a stake in the market.

The growth of cloud platforms, as discussed on the Investor Services about us page, are giving investors the opportunity to make sure that their investments meet IRS requirements. This is important whenever individuals are investing in things like art and rarities using their 401(k) funds.

Impact Investments

Finally, there has also been a surge in the number of investors doing things that they hope will save the world. With people like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates making high-profile announcements about their charitable investments, many others are following suit.

The cool thing about many of these investments is that they still generate positive returns, even though their primary goal is to achieve social good.