Is it necessary to buy Life Insurance for your child?

If you're considering buying life insurance for your child, let me congratulate you on attempting to find out the truth behind life insurance on children. Most people don't even get to this stage! There are many who believe that life insurance on a child is a complete waste of money because of the fact that children don't earn and therefore life insurance as a form of income-replacement is not required. This is not true. There are very good reasons why life insurance on children is NOT a waste of money, and we will attempt to break it down here for you so you know why and can make an informed decision.

Is it necessary to buy Life Insurance for your child?

It is important to plan for your kids' future both legally and financially. Planning is risk management, and when you have fall back options in place to take care of inconveniences or calamitous events, you also create the ability to heal and rebuild for yourself. Life insurance is a risk management tool that creates cushions to help you deal with the monetary burden of death, like funeral bills or outstanding medical bills that insurance won't cover. You can find more about life insurance online on an aggregator website that hosts life insurance quotes online. Aggregator websites are good places to start if you're looking to learn the basics about life insurance. Some, like AccuQuote, also sell child life insurance so if you need a quick quote, you can always get one.

Check these strong reasons to consider getting life insurance on a child:

1) If you have a history of health conditions that run in the family, this is good enough reason to get your child covered. If your child were to end up with this condition in adolescence or young adulthood, this means (s)he would grow up with the risk of being uninsurable in the future. Having prior protection through a child life policy will hedge against that, and allow increase in life insurance cover at a later stage without a medical examination.

2) Funeral costs are not "affordable" any more. Even if your LOs do not run up large hospital bills, a low cost funeral is at least $10K today (estimating on the far lower end). This can quickly eat into a family's savings and too many families have spent crucial time trying to arrange for funeral expenses instead of grieving their loved one's loss.

3) Can help save for college. Many financial gurus don't advocate permanent life as a savings instrument (individual policies on a child can only be permanent life) but it does provide some growth, albeit slow, especially if you don't touch it all the way till you can gift it to them when they come of age. Though you should know that you don't have to gift it to them; they cannot legally ask for it since you've paid into it and you own it. Also, you cannot buy them life insurance unless you and your spouse are adequately insured yourselves. Insurers make sure to build this caution into child life policies especially after a spate of murders that was found on a father who would kill his newborns shortly after buying large life insurance policies on them.

At the very least, get a rider on your own term life insurance policy. This rider will cover your child for a small amount that is usually sufficient to pay off funeral bills. Some policies allow these child riders to be converted to whole life policies when the children come of age (18 years old). This convertibility is also sometimes allowed without a medical examination, so it's a great way to have coverage extended on a child even though there might be a chance that (s)he is uninsurable. I would strongly urge parents to consider this option. It only costs a few cents a week (even cheaper if you have group life insurance) and while none of us want to think of losing our children, preparing for it is not wrong either. You won't be "inviting trouble", just doing the right, responsible thing for you and your family.

Spending To Save: Bringing Own Those Heating Bills

Spending money to save money is a philosophy that many can get on board with, despite the fact that it is initially hard to grin and bear. However, in the long-term, it is certainly something that can prove quite effective when considering the likes of what your heating bills are costing you.

Spending To Save
When it comes to trying to save money, your heating is an area that can really help rein in costs and there are many devices or practices that will enable you to do exactly that.

Here are few ideas to take into account the next time you consider bring down your home heating oil or gas bill:

Digital Thermometer : This is a great implement for those who like to control the heating levels in the house, and some digital thermometers even allow you set the temperature for each room individually. Not only does this mean you can set every room to each individual need, but also make sure that rooms that have no one in them aren’t having heat wasted on them.

Plug-in Thermostat : This is a great way to make sure that your heating is only on when it needs to be. A plug-in thermostat makes sure that heating implements such as electric heaters turn off as soon as they’ve reached a certain temperature and then turn back on again when needed.

Radiator Booster : If your radiator seems too small for the room it’s in, instead of replacing it for a bigger one, think about getting a radiator booster that will help bring warm air into the room quicker. This usually means that you can turn down the thermostat initially as the room will heat up quicker.

Expanding foam : To ensure that none of your heat is lost in the first place, look to ensure that your walls and roof are completely air tight and aren’t allowing any pockets of rogue air from the outside into the house. Drafts tend to cancel out any attempts to heat a room or even a whole house, so sealing them up will eliminate such a threat.

The Benefits of being Financially Organised

Being organized, financially speaking, for potential problems in the future can be a chore, and a lot of people don’t like the thought of doing it. This is understandable, but it is important to remember that by doing so, you’ll not only be making your life easier should you fall ill, but you’ll also be taking a burden away from your loved ones should the worst happen. If you’re wondering whether to sort out your finances or not; keep them in mind. People often find that family is the main motivation.

Power of Attorney

Organizing a power of attorney would really pay off if you ever became too ill to look after your finances on your own. This could happen if you lost mental capacity due to an accident or a degenerative illness or simply if you had to spend a long time in hospital and were too ill to access your accounts, for example.

The Benefits of being Financially Organised

There are two types of power of attorney; ordinary and lasting. Ordinary power of attorney gives someone you trust a temporary right to handle your finances. This can include paying your bills, debt installments and paying for things which can help with your care. This kind of attorney is best if you’re stuck in hospital for a period of time or if you’re expected to fully recover from your illness. 

Lasting power of attorney is a more permanent solution and gives someone else the right to deal with your affairs indefinitely. If you lose the mental capacity to look after your own finances, this nominated person would be able to access your money for you so that you’re able to honour payments and be able to pay for your own care should you need it. This type of attorney should be set up in advance of you needing it, as once you’ve lost the mental capacity to make decisions on your own, your family would be looking at a long and expensive process in order to gain control over your money. 

Power of attorney can cost around £150 and can be set up with a solicitor or you can fill in the forms yourself. You can get the forms from the Office of Public Guardian or from

Writing a Will

A will is something which details who will receive your belongings and your money when you die. You can share out your assets in whatever way you like, but if you don’t have a will then your things will be divided according to the law. This means that if you’re not married to your partner then they wouldn’t be entitled to anything when you die. If you are married, your partner may get everything and your children could get nothing, and if you have no close relatives then everything you own may belong to the Crown or to the government. 

Obviously, people are going to have different ideas of where they would like their property and their money to go if the worst happened, so going without a will is not always the best case scenario. Some people want to leave things to close friends or charities, for instance and to do this then they would need a will. 

There are three ways to make a will, each costing differing amounts. The cheapest way to go about it is to do it yourself with a will template (available at stationers and post offices). These usually cost around £10 but should only be used if your finances are very straight-forward. Changing laws and complicated rules can make this option difficult and if you do it wrong then your will could end up being void when you die. 

Going through a will writing service or a solicitor costs a bit more (it can be anything from £75 up to £300) but are better options if your will is more complex or if you want something which you know is going to be legally binding when you die. 

Try to look at preparing your finances like this as an investment for the future, and as a gift for those you love. By being organised, you’ll spare them additional stress and expenditure and your money will be dealt with exactly how you want it to. 

How good SEO Practice can Help you make Money from your Blog

Many people enter the blogging stratosphere treating it as merely a hobby. You tell people what you’re up to, how much you hate the weather, what you had for dinner; it’s fascinating stuff.  The thing is, people lap this daily banter up because, well, the majority of people are nosy. But most people don’t think of making money from their blog because it’s tucked away amongst the billions of other blogs that live happily in the vast and expansive world that is the internet.

Make money from your Blog

The first step in making money from your blog is getting noticed, and then, once noticed, making sure you employ some sort of reputation management to keep your internet rep squeaky clean (being visible to billions of people across the world not only brings money-making opportunities but criticism too). 

So how does one go about getting noticed? Google. Google, and other search engines (apparently there are some) hold the key to your financial blogging success. When people have a vague idea of what they want to find, hell, even if they have a clear idea of what they want to find, they Google it. If your financial blog comes up on page one of Google results pages for “financial help”, or “financial blog”, you are going to get a lot of traffic. A lot of traffic means you suddenly become very appealing to advertisers who are looking to appeal to a large audience. 

To creep your way up through Google rankings is not impossible, in fact quite the opposite. There are two main ways of employing effective “search engine optimization”: uploading your site regularly with fresh, unique articles (this should come naturally, with it being a blog) and acquiring backlinks from quality, relevant sites. 

When writing content, make sure you write a couple of articles a week that really focus on your key words, so that Google can pick up on the fact that your site is relevant when people search for, for example, “financial help”. Don’t go overboard, but putting a few internal links (links to other pages of your blog) with the anchor text as your key word will help Google detect that you are, in fact, a blog giving financial help, and will make you much more likely to appear highly in results when people Google this phrase.

Search for other, relevant sites, and offer them an article in return for a backlink. This will really help boost your domain and page authority, hence allowing you to crawl on up results pages.

The next step is to actually monitor your following and create a media pack for potential advertisers. Have clear contact details on your site and let the offers come flooding in. If you are visible to a wide audience, advertisers will find you. It’s all about getting clever and maximizing your readership, which will, in turn, make you a viable option for advertisers. Simples!

Making Light Work of it — Relocation and Money Management in the UAE

Making Light Work of it —  Relocation and Money Management in the UAE
Relocation — it’s an adventure. However, it’s also stressful. Building a new life takes time and organization, and it takes money too.

Managing your personal finances in a new country is daunting and difficult, especially when you’re far away from home, but many people relocate to the UAE and make it work. Of course, they don’t survive on warm weather alone. They prepare carefully.
So here are a few facts that will help you plan your personal finances easier if you’re relocating to the UAE.

Taking nothing for granted

They say there are two things you can be certain of in life: death and taxes. You can’t do anything about the former, unfortunately, but in the UAE you will have some joy with the latter. UAE residents don’t pay income tax, but expats still have to pay some to their home country. The good news is that the UAE has tax treaties with different countries. Become a UAE resident for tax purposes and you can protect your hard-earned dirhams from the clutches of your country’s IRS.

Being up front

In the UAE, tenants must pay a year’s rent up front, as well as a deposit and agency fees. That’s a lot of money to pay all at once. You may want to cover this with a personal loan. If your employer covers the rent for you, you may use a personal loan to cover other expenses, such as your children’s education, which is cheaper if they attend a school that applies a UAE curriculum.

Avoiding being a work horse

The UAE is a great place to launch your career, boasting plenty of opportunities to build work experience. It’s best to find a job before you relocate. UAE companies that hire from abroad pay handsome relocation packages, whereas if you relocate before finding a job, the chances are you’ll earn less. Not only that, when you agree on a relocation package, your employer will help you obtain your work visa and residency permit, saving you some bureaucratic headaches.

Light fuel

Not surprisingly, in the UAE it’s relatively cheap to fill up the gas tank of your car. The other good news is that, though you’ll have to pay to get connected to the water and electricity networks, the cost of water and electricity itself is also relatively low. The UAE Government subsidizes both to make life that little bit easier for the consumer.

Food (and drink) for thought

Emirates like Dubai have experienced increased in the cost of living, but lately the consumer price index has fallen. Unless you can afford to splash out each week, avoid buying internationally branded goods. You can eat for less if you buy regional equivalents. They make just as good a meal!

If you enjoy alcohol but want to cut down, a move to the UAE will certainly help you. You need a license to drink alcohol in the UAE; in fact, separate ones to drink in each emirate. You can also only drink in designated areas, and in some, not at all.

Dick Whittington was a fairy tale, unfortunately. Relocation takes careful financial planning, organization, and money to make it work. The more you research your relocation to the UAE, the easier you can make it for yourself. And the easier you make it for yourself, the more fun your new life in the UAE will be. Here’s to that!

Life Investments You Should Have by Your Mid Years

Different  life investments are very important for a person in their mid years, 30  to 40 years old. These different type investments can be a great safety  net for someone and their families when an emergency comes about or  just to save for different life events. Many people will need a fund for  college, retirement, illness and death. Below are a list of life  investments that people should consider once they are in their mid  years.
Life Investments You Should Have by Your Mid Years

1) Purchasing a Home Once a person has completed college and obtained solid income, it may be  time to be looking for a home to purchase. This can be an expensive  purchase or expense, but it can be one of the best investments that a  person makes in their life. If a home is bought at the right time in the  market, the value and turn around on the home can be very profitable in  the long run. Plus, the security of owning a home can be one of the  best feelings.

2) Life Insurance Purchasing life insurance can be a very affordable investment that a  person should obtain early on. Life insurance helps protect the person's  family when the breadwinner may pass away. Life insurance in most cases  is relatively cheap if bought early on in life. Depending on the  policy, the policy can cover a variety of accidents. Since it is hard to  tell what may cause our death, it is best to have a policy that offers  more variety of coverage.

3) Investing In Stocks The best thing for someone to get a head in life is to create multiple  income streams. Investing in stocks is a great option and income stream.  It can be a wonderful cushion if for some reason the person ends up  losing their job or has an unexpected accident.  Making small  adjustments to the household budget can create an opportunity to use  money towards investment. A couple options a person has are to purchase  individual stocks or to purchase the stocks on handfuls.  It is best to  speak to a stock or financial adviser about different stock options.

4) Retirement Investment One of the most important investments that a person can make in their  life is a retirement fund. If the person works for a company that  matches a contribution up to a certain amount, the employee should  invest the max amount. Even if only saving 100 per month, will save  $1,200 a year. If the persons employer matches it, that would be $2,400 a  year. After 10 years, that is $24,000 and if invested properly, it  could be much more.

5) College Fund Creating a college fund for children is a great way to start saving for  education costs that may not be covered by grants and scholarships. This  is a safety net for children and their education. It is important for  parents to start a college fund early on for their children. There are  many different college funds available. It is the best to contact the  state education department where the child lives to get the best options  available.

5 Signs That Your Investment Strategist Isn't on the Up and Up

Is your investment strategist really being honest with you? It is possible he's not really telling you the truth or perhaps even giving you a pat on the back saying everything's "just fine" even though everyone else's numbers are dropping? Before you put too much trust in the wrong guy, consider these signs of foul play.

Where Is the Strategist Located?

5 Signs That Your Investment Strategist Isn't on the Up and Up

A good place to start is with the address. A trustworthy company has no problem providing a fully stated, easy-to-find address. You'll find the Fisher Investments Address in just a moment of looking. If, on the other hand, there's only a PO Box number listed, that's a sign something may not be too honest. There's no way to tell, then, what city the office is in or who is really answering the mail.
What Is the Deal with Commission?

One of the biggest worries you should have is with commission. If Mr. Strategist earns commission every time he sells XYZ Funds, it's likely he is going to push that product on his clients more often than other funds, even if another fund is better for the client. Ask the strategist where he or she is earning a commission and specifically state you do not want to invest in those funds. You don't want the line blurry here.

The Risks Are Always Worth It?

Another reason to run and hide happens when you hear this phrase. "You have to take risks or you will not make any money. The risk is always worth it." Any variation of such phrase should translate into, "it's time to go." The problem is everyone's risk tolerance level is different. A good financial planner or advisor understands that no client should invest in risk that he or she isn't comfortable with taking. More so, risk isn't right for all investors, especially those nearly retirement. If your advisor isn't letting you reduce risk, find a new one.

Guarantees Aren't Worth as Much as Results

That's all it takes. That one little sentence is enough to send you packing. There are no guarantees in this market and no way for your strategist to promise you anything. Chances are good you've signed a document stating as much, too. If your strategist implies it is a guaranteed win, you may want to wonder why that is. Is he or she benefiting in some way from this transaction? It never hurts to be too careful, especially when it comes to your finances!
Do You Know the Secret?

Secrets, secret strategies, strange, unknowns, and industry knowledge are not real things. The fact is, many people fell for Ponzi schemes for years and many believed that such plans were going to make them rich. You do not want to be the next one dealing with that type of loss. Always ask yourself a few failsafe questions whenever you smell something fishy:
  • Who referred me?
  • What are my specialist’s credentials?
  •  Do those credentials check out?
  •  Is what he or she is promising sound too good to be true?
Most investment strategists are great people willing to do the hard work to find you the balance you need. Don't overlook those professionals with the power to really help you to achieve your goals. The good guys far outnumber the bad guys when it comes to investment professionals. Still, it can only serve you to be extra cautious when it comes to how you invest your money. There are many financial predators and con men out there. Don’t be another victim!

Making the most financially out of an office move

Moving your workforce not only puts your organization skills to the test, but it also takes a fair bit of research to ensure you are getting the best deal and what is the the best move for your business in the long-term on a financial basis.

Making the most financially out of an office move
There are many factors you need to deliberate to make the move work and maximize your profits, whilst not losing out to new clientele as a result of moving to an area where your business doesn’t have any reach.

Whether you’re looking for Kingsway Business Park Industrial Units to let in Manchester or hoping to even purchase a building completely, here are some key areas in which you need to focus on to make the move as profitable as possible.

Researching the area thoroughly

The condition of a building isn’t everything when moving offices; it is also about how good the surrounding area is. There’s no point in moving to a town that’s dead on its feet in terms of good business; you will need to look to see if local businesses are up and running, because a town with closed shops and empty offices probably means that you’re likely to struggle too.

Also, you’ll need to make sure your own business will be able to attract new customers and clients; otherwise your company will struggle to expand in the future. Current customers should also be able to travel easily to your new base of operations or they might leave you as a result.

What kind of office do you need?

If you’re upsizing, you must be doing well, but make sure you’re not getting greedy and looking at an office that will house your staff and have room left for a whole other company. Look to get an office that fits your employees in, as well as just a little more space for further expansion.

If it’s the other way around and you don’t see your company expanding in the near future and you’ve got plenty of spare space, you could save money instantly just by downsizing and bring your cost well down.

Buy, rent or lease?

The main worry about owning your own office or building will always be about losing money on it if you ever come to move; plus, owning your own property will make you reluctant to leave when needs be. Renting seems to be the way forward for most and is also the safest option, despite the whole ‘dead money’ moniker.

Renting is also the easiest way to control your monthly payments and know that they will not increase, or at least not go up by much and there’s no real worry of interest on your payments.


Other considerations should include the amount of new equipment that will need to bring in. This goes especially for those looking to upsize, with such implements as computers, desks, and even simple things like lighting having the potential to cost a small fortune.

Visualize how you plan to layout your office in order to know exactly what you will need and you will be able to make a list of what’s needed before moving in.

Curving fuel costs for company fleets

We never know when the next fuel rise might be on its way; but then again, the price of fuel has not been considered ‘value for money’ for several years now and we have seen it rise well beyond the point where we thought it might peak.
Curving fuel costs for company fleets

On a personal level, families have been hit hard by rising fuel costs and have had to budget for additional costs; for example in the UK, 20 liters of petrol was about £16.00, and now in 2013, it is £12.00 more expensive on average at £28.00. This is a similar story for those that drive a diesel powered car; this being an important factor for parents who feel it is more economical to transport themselves and their young children in diesel powered vehicles on the school runs or days out.

Sticking with diesel, this is a form of fuel that is very popular with company fleets, and businesses are always looking for new ways of cutting back on the heightened costs of fuel in order to maximize their profit. The understanding and controlling of fleet costs is a key priority for fleets, and so it is vital the correct measures are considered and applied in order to take full advantage and rein in fuel costs; perhaps through an EDC fuel card solution.

Get a hand with your fleet strategy

It will be hard to be able to curve fuel costs if your current fleet strategy is out of date. Therefore, look to renew it with some expert advice; firstly because it is always helpful to have an outside view and analysis of your operations and secondly, expert advice isn’t to be sniffed at.

Think about the cars you have on offer

One of the most prominent factors as to how economically a fleet runs is the cars that in use and available to your drivers. The trend at the moment – and rightly so – is to research into economical vehicles that offer low emissions for tax and high MPG numbers for low fuel costs.

An efficient fuel card system

A major headache for most firms is the paper trail buying fuel for company cars produces and managing this over time. Using a reputable fuel card system will enable you to get all your fuel cost data in one place and expenses can be easily be monitored. Fuel card companies can also give you more than just information on how many miles you’re doing, such as tips on where to get the cheapest fuel and how to streamline your system.

Teach your drivers how to be responsible

Fuel costs will trickle down if your drivers are aware of how to drive economically, such as being easy on the gas pedal and not too hard on the brakes either. Not carrying unnecessary weight will also rein in costs on fuel, whilst changing gear early is also advised.

Attention Young Entrepreneurs: A Good Balance Sheet Is Very Important

A good balance sheet is important for any new entrepreneur.  A good balance sheet can help a business owner manage the overall finances of the business very effectively, and it can help the business use revenue and investment funds very wisely while working to eliminate any liabilities that the business may have.

Focusing On Sources Of Profits And Revenue

A good balance sheet will be able to help an entrepreneur easily identify important sources of profits and revenue.  The entrepreneur will be able to determine where the most revenue is coming from, and as a result, he or she will quickly determine which operations, products and services are the most profitable.

Attention Young Entrepreneurs: A Good Balance Sheet Is Very Important

In addition, an entrepreneur that owns several websites will be able to see which websites are bringing in the most revenue, and they can determine the most profitable methods of bringing in revenue from their websites.

Adding Up All Of The Assets

Many times, a business owner doesn't know exactly what their business is worth.  A good balance sheet will help an entrepreneur determine the overall worth of all of the assets of the business, and it will help the entrepreneur determine if it may a good time to sell any of the assets of the business or buy new assets for the business.


Expenses can be important parts of most businesses.  Most businesses have to spend money on advertising, and an entrepreneur usually has to spend money on web hosting and design services and on a monthly rent or lease payment.

Accurately calculating all of the expenses of the business can help the entrepreneur to determine which ones can be eliminated, and the entrepreneur will know the expenses that are costing the business the most money.

By knowing all of the expenses of the business, the entrepreneur can determine which expenses are vital to the profits and to the overall revenue of the business.  In addition, an entrepreneur may decide that some expenses need to be increased, such as expenses for advertising and marketing, hiring new employees, hiring or outsourcing work to new contractors, buying new equipment, getting an additional location for the business and much more.

Assessing Risk With A Great Balance Sheet

An excellent balance sheet can help a business assess risk more effectively.  Poor assessments of risks and the lack of a good overall balance sheet partially accounted for the recent financial crises, and an entrepreneur can learn from history by using a great balance sheet to assess risks more effectively.

By having a superb balance sheet, an entrepreneur can determine which risks are truly worth taking, and they can determine which risks are the most likely to really pay off in the short-term and in the long-term.

In addition, an exceptional balance sheet will help the entrepreneur determine which risks may not be worth it, and this can help the entrepreneur and the business avoid many liabilities and expenses in the future.

Using A Balance Sheet To Predict Future Growth Of The Business

An entrepreneur can effectively use a balance sheet to help predict the future growth of the business.  By measuring profits, income and revenue from the balance sheets from several months, an entrepreneur can get a very accurate prediction of where the business is heading, and the entrepreneur can focus on the parts of the business that have proven to be the most profitable.  

By eliminating expenses and focusing on profits and revenue, a business can use an exceptional balance sheet to produce even more outstanding balance sheets that show much higher profits in the future.

Should Car Insurance Continue to Be Mandatory?

Since the passage of the ACA, or Affordable Care Act, in 2010, there has been increased discussion concerning government-mandated purchases. The most frequently used comparison to the ACA is the car insurance mandate found in all but a few of the 50 states, in some form. If you want to drive a car in most U.S. states, you are required to carry a certain amount of liability insurance, and if you are pulled over, you must be able to show a law enforcement officer your proof of insurance or financial responsibility.

Should Car Insurance Continue to Be Mandatory?
To have a well-rounded discussion concerning mandatory car insurance there are a few questions that need to be answered. Where did the car insurance mandate originate? What was the catalyst for its creation? Is it effective? These valid questions can reveal the strategy behind this mandate, and it can also help shape future discussions regarding state and/or federal commerce mandates. Now, while most states makes provisions in their law that car insurance is but one form of “financial responsibility,” the vast majority of drivers use car insurance to meet that requirement.

The Obvious Benefit of Liability Coverage

It doesn’t take much deduction to uncover the catalyst for mandated auto insurance. Once cars started crashing back in the 1920’s and the party at fault couldn’t afford to cover the damages caused, states began to require people to carry auto insurance in some form.

Liability insurance is not meant to protect the driver in case of an accident, it actually is meant to protect other drivers. Yet, even with this mandate, a percentage of drivers fail to secure and maintain the legally-required coverage. Most auto insurance companies offer additional coverage to protect drivers against uninsured motorists for this reason.

It is difficult to determine how many people would opt out of liability coverage without the threat of legal sanctions. For the time being, there is no great call to end this mandate so it will remain. It may not be the perfect solution, but in the U.S. we cannot avoid solutions due to their imperfect nature or we will never make progress with any problem.  As for its effectiveness, many injured drivers have recovered damages from these liability policies that might not have without the mandated coverage.

The Political and Ideological View

An important distinction for those who lean right politically is that a state government mandate is different from a federal government mandate. States have limited power due to the fact that their laws only affect the people of that state. Those who are uncomfortable with increased federal power are generally in favor of more power remaining in the hands of states. For this reason, you rarely hear much dissatisfaction concerning state-mandated car insurance.

The auto insurance mandate serves a vital purpose.  It is only right that each citizen that enjoys the privilege of driving is able to cover at least some of the costs should they be at fault in damaging another citizen’s vehicle or cause injury to another. While any mandate does cost us a little bit of freedom in a sense, some situations call for a solution that addresses societal concerns on a broader scale. Driving down publically- funded highways in a steel cage at high rates of speed calls for a bit more government intervention than cautious warnings.

Personal finance options for self-employed workers

The crushing effects of the economic recession and soaring unemployment levels, have meant an increasing number of people are choosing to take the plunge and go self-employed. Going solo offers many benefits, but also entails a requirement to commit to increased levels of personal financial responsibility. When employed by a company, it's easy to underestimate how much the employer does behind the scenes; self-employed individuals are entirely on their own. Staying within the law, and managing personal finances effectively, is all part of the package.

Personal finance options for self-employed workers

Finances need to be carefully monitored and planned to avoid any problems arising. In the same way a healthy cash flow is the lifeblood of a growing business, self-employed individuals need to ensure they have access to funds throughout the month. Most self-employed individuals carry out their service before payment, which usually comes at the end of the month. This means there is often a significant gap, where money can become stretched. Some months naturally attract more work than others; so good financial planning is essential.

Plan and budget

To avoid running into personal finance problems, individuals should create a clear business plan, and know exactly how they plan to manage their income. A certain percentage should be saved each month to cover for occasions where less work is available, pay for essential bills, and cover for unplanned expenses, such as a car breakdowns. This will make it easier to cope during poor months. Strict budgeting is required, and keeping track of all incomings and outgoings will help individuals understand their financial position in real-time, and act if it becomes an issue.


Planning for taxes is also important. Individuals need to keep an extensive record of all business expenses they wish to claim for, and fill out their tax return before the deadline to avoid running into expensive fines. Most self-employed people also have to consider class 2 National Insurance contributions, which are currently set at £2.65 a week. If anticipated earnings for the year fall below £5,595 in a year, it's possible to get a Small Earning's Certificate, which - if granted - excuses the individual from having to pay.

Increased vulnerability

Another downside to being self-employed is increased vulnerability. Illnesses and injuries can strike at any time, and self-employed individuals are not entitled to sick pay. Holiday pay is also non-existent, and many people have inadequate insurance. To combat these - and other problems - many self-employed individuals choose to use an umbrella company. These companies offer short-term contracts, providing access to the benefits anyone in normal employment has. The company can then manage the individual's business administration, offer regular wage payments, and provide benefits such as sick and holiday pay. They drastically reduce the admin demands self-employed people face, and can also provide extensive insurance coverage.

Managing personal finances when self-employed can be complicated, but the opportunity to get out and earn money on your own behalf at a time when many trades are in heavy demand, is undoubtedly appealing. Umbrella companies do charge a monthly fee, but a large number of the self-employed are finding that this is well worth paying for the extra simplicity and support it provides.

Equity release explained

As we come into the latter stages of life, the topic of money becomes a pressing issue, as we look for alternative sources of income after completing our working years. Obviously the most obvious foundation for a healthy retirement is our pensions, but not everyone is fortunate enough to have a healthy financial profile as they look to put their feet up and require something of a nest egg.

Equity release explained

That’s where equity release comes into the frame; those who can be described as “property rich, cash poor” have themselves in a very good position to gain financially from their property. Equity release is not something to be taken lightly and should be looked into with a stern eye for detail and there are two types of equity release that can be considered: lifetime mortgages and home reversion schemes.

Lifetime mortgages

A lifetime mortgage is the most popular choice when it comes to equity release schemes and the basic premise is that the scheme allows you to raise a tax-free lump sum at a fixed interest rate and this is then added to the loan that is the mortgage.

There are two sub-types of lifetime mortgages which comprise of the ‘roll-up’ scheme, where no monthly payments are made, and the interest-only lifetime mortgage, where any interest charged can be repaid. Either option entitles the customer the security of owning 100 per cent of the property. This is the predominant advantage of such a scheme, with others being that you will benefit from any future increase in your properties value, as well as having the ability to secure and protect a portion of your estate for your family. Just make sure you watch out for schemes with early repayment charges.

Home reversion schemes

A home reversion scheme is perhaps more risky than a lifetime mortgage, as you are asked to sell a percentage of your property to the provider for less than the market value, although you do have the right to stay in your home for the rest of your life.

When the property is sold when you die or move into a care home, the provider gets the same share of whatever your home sells for as repayment; so if you sold 25 per cent of your home to the provider, they would get 25 per cent of the sale price.