Is a credit card right for you?

Before you commit to any credit agreement, you should always ask yourself a few searching questions, just to make sure that you’re making the right decision. This is particularly important when taking out one of the many credit cards UK consumers have access to in today’s market, as it is far easier than you might think to end up with money problems thanks to reckless use of the plastic in your purse.

Is a credit card right for you?

So, is a credit card the right option for you? To work this out, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Am I the right age?
A very basic requirement to apply for a credit card is that you’ll need to be over 18. However, with some credit cards and with some lenders, you may even need to be 21 or over to be accepted.
  • Can I afford to pay back what I borrow each month?
It’s easy to forget that you are borrowing money when you spend on your credit card, but you are and you’ll need to pay it back. If you can’t clear the whole balance when your monthly bill comes in and you only pay the minimum or a part of the balance, you will end up paying interest on what you owe. Do this every month and having a credit card becomes a whole lot more expensive. You need to be sure that you won’t spend beyond your means, and that you can pay off everything you spend each month, before taking out a credit card.

Is a credit card right for you?
  • Am I organised enough to pay my credit card bill on time?
Being late paying your credit card bill, or missing a monthly payment completely, is pretty much guaranteed to land you a charge or penalty from your credit card issuer. If you are a disorganised and forgetful person, you should either schedule direct debits to pay your credit card bill or steer clear of credit cards altogether.
  • What shape is my credit history in?
You can only get approved for a credit card if you have a good enough credit rating. This means that you have a history of paying your bills and your debts on time, allowing you to have built up a reasonable credit score. Check your credit score at a credit reference agency (free as part of a trial or for a small fee), as if your score is too low, you could be rejected when you make a credit card application. If you are rejected, this goes on your credit record and could make your credit score even worse.

How to Live Well Without Your Wallet Feeling it

Are you tired of working hard for your money but feeling like you can’t enjoy it? Or maybe you simply want to make the most of what you have by treating yourself.  If the thought of living the high life and saving money appeals, then read on to find out how to start your savvy spending plan.

Make a plan

The first step is to work out what you need and what you want. Devise a budget listing the things you cannot live without, for example:
  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Bills
  • Transport
Calculate how much money you’ll spend on each essential item per month and subtract this from the money you have coming in each month.

How to Live Well Without Your Wallet Feeling it

The amount of money you have left over will tell you how much money you have to spend on goods you don’t need. These are the things you want which are likely to give your quality of life a boost.

Shop around

Now that you know how much cash you have to spend on treats, it’s worth checking out your nearest high street for deals. We often hear about floundering high street stores, but recent research shows that online retailers are now in fact beginning to migrate to the high street. There are currently great bargains to be bagged, both from traditional high street retailers who want to retain customers, as well as the new retailers who were formerly online only.

Maximise the great deals by alerting retail staff to similar offers you spot at rival stores. Often the store will match or better the deal you’ve seen elsewhere.

Shop online

Despite the trend for online shops starting to appear in the high street there are still some fantastic online deals if you know where to look.

Online shopping is easy and quick. If, for example, you are looking for vest tops all you need to do is:

1) Search for “online clothes deals”
2) View the retailers that appear
3) Visit the retailer website
4) Search for “vest tops” in the website

Repeat this process, comparing the results of a few sites. An even easier way to search for the best clothes deals is to type “compare vest top deals” into your search engine and use deal comparison websites to do the work for you.

Deal hunt

Don’t settle for the first bargain that comes along. Always search for the best deal and when you find a good one, make a note of it and carry on looking.  Repeat this search for deals as many times as you like until you feel confident that you have found the best bargain.  If you drive down the price for the things you want and love you’ll be able to enjoy more for your money in the future.

Will unemployment affect your credit?

Unemployment can cause a lot of damage to a person’s repertoire. Losing your job can cause severe problems for you, since you might have to borrow money from someone, or ultimately resort to taking a loan. Most houses run on a monthly income, and usually people do not really have a lot of money to spare.

If you haven’t planned properly and have been unable to save a decent amount of money for yourself in times of need, taking a loan might be the only option available to you in case you lose your job. However, does getting a loan during unemployment have a negative impact on your overall credit score? Let’s find out!

The credit score impact

Your credit score is affected by a number of important factors, the most important of which is the time period in which you are able to return the loan. As long as you keep on making regular payments of your loan, your credit score will not be affected.

Will unemployment affect your credit?

However, when a person is unemployed, they are usually unable to make a monthly commitment. Nobody knows when they might get a job back, regardless of how hard they try. It might take a month or it might take a year, and therefore, taking a loan during times of unemployment usually results in a negative impact on your credit score.

Usually, failure to pay the loan on time results in an increase in the amount of interest, as well as extra penalties and payments. Moreover, your credit score begins to take the hit as time continues to pass and no payments are made. 

The types of loans

Usually for people who are going through unemployment, the chances of getting a loan aren’t great, since banks are quite reluctant to lend you the money. Obviously, since there is no guarantee as to how and when the payments will be made, creditors are usually quite worried. Moreover, small loans such as payday loans and gap loans are completely unavailable.

However, you can get loans from various credit companies that provide them if there is a guarantor for you. The only problem with this type of a loan is that the amount of interest charged is much higher as compared to standard loans, and you are also asked to sign an agreement which states that when you do find a job, a certain part of your salary will be accredited directly to the company, so that you do not fail to make payments on time again.

The longer you stay unemployed, the greater will the impact on your credit score, which is why you should always try to save money so that you never have to worry about taking loans in times of need.

Money saving tips – How will you save your hard earned money in 2013?

We have learnt it in a hard way that saving money is very important. If you don’t save money, you will stand nowhere during financial or economic crisis. Thus, it is very important to take some basic steps which will help you save quite a lot of money. 

Money saving tips for 2013

Let us take a look at some of the simple and easiest money savings tips: 

(1) Prepare a budget and stick to it

Ah! That could be the toughest and the most boring thing to do. But when you have decided to save money, this will be the first step that you need to take. You will have to practice self restraint and control your spending. Take a note of your income and expenses in order to formulate a proper budget for yourself and come what may, try to stick to it. 

Money saving tips – How will you save your hard earned money in 2013?

(2) Carry your lunch at your workplace

Yes, it can be very tempting to have your lunch at the nearest restaurant. And the lunch there can be delicious even! But if you seriously want to save money, carry your lunch to work. You will be surprised to note that it will help you save around $1,144 a year! With the help of this cash, you will be able to fatten your savings account. 

(3) Don’t carry your credit card when you go for shopping

Shopping is important and once in a while, you can definitely indulge in it. But while you are out for shopping, carry an amount of cash that you require to buy the items. If you carry your credit card, you will end up buying more items which may be sometimes unnecessary for you! 

(4) Opt for car pool while going to office

This is another option which will help you save quite a large amount of money over the year. If you use your own car, you will have to spend money on its maintenance, gas, insurance, etc. If you opt for car pool, you will be able to reach your office at a low cost. 

(5) Turn off the lights when you’re out of house

Utility bills, especially electric bills, consume quite a big part of our pay checks. So, when you decide to save money, you should take steps to save on these bills. So, turn off the lights, fans, etc, while leaving the home. Moreover, saving electricity is definitely a good habit! 

Money saving tips – How will you save your hard earned money in 2013?

(6) Wash laundry with cold water

A study has found that washing laundry in hot water costs $0.68 per load whereas washing it in cold water costs you $0.04 per load. Thus, if you use cold-water to wash your laundry, then you will save more than $60 each year.

(7) Avoid bottled water

You can carry a bottle of water from your home and save money that you have to spend on buying bottled water. Every average person consumes around 167 bottles of water per year. That is going to surely drain your account! So, stop it!

(8) Opt for air-drying of your clothes

There is no harm in air drying your clothes and the amount of money that you will save will depend upon the amount of laundry you do every year. You could save up to $130 a year by hanging your clothing up to dry. 

Hope the above mentioned ways will help you save quite a lump sum amount in 2013!

Staying Above Board in a Global Economy

The world of work is getting smaller. With the increasing use of technology to link business people across the globe, working outside your own country can be as simple as setting up a conference call and emailing your products to your client.

The beginning of a contract may come with a long-distance relationship, but as you and your new client work more closely together, there may come a point when you need to work with your client in their own country and travel overseas to complete the job you’ve signed up to deliver.

Staying Above Board in a Global Economy

By taking on contracts from overseas, contractors potentially open themselves up to a range of financial and tax issues. However, this shouldn’t stop you from moving into overseas markets and seeking clients wherever there is work for you.

Eligibility to work

When travelling abroad to work, there are a number of issues that you will need to take into account. Depending on the part of the world where you’ll be working, there are different regulations about travelling, working and how long you can stay.

Working in the European Economic Area is a relatively straightforward prospect as there is freedom of movement amongst member states for people to live and work as they wish. There is no requirement to apply for a permit or visa to work in any EU country or in Norway, Iceland or Lichtenstein. This can significantly simplify the process of working within a country rather than working remotely for a client from a base in the UK.

Work in all countries outside Europe is likely to require a permit and relevant visa. If you try to start work without the relevant documentation, you risk being deported. It makes sense to seek expert advice on the requirements in the country where your client resides before starting work to keep you on the right side of the law.

Tax status

It can sometimes seem that tax affairs of purely UK-based contractors is complex enough, but adding an international dimension can further complicate matters. Whether or not you need to pay UK tax on earnings made overseas will depend on a number of factors.

Seeking advice before taking up an overseas contract where you will leave the UK to work in the country where your client is based will help you to plan for the allowances you need to make in terms of taxation. The duration of your contract, your usual base of operations and how long you will be spending out of the country will all have an impact on how HMRC treat your earnings with respect to tax.

Healthcare, welfare and insurance

If you are working in an EU country, as a citizen of an EU member state you will receive the same welfare and healthcare benefits as those offered to citizens of the country in which you’re working. If you were to fall ill whilst in a European country, you would receive healthcare in the same way as anyone else living in your host nation. If your contract takes you to any country outside Europe, you will not receive state benefits or healthcare if you are taken ill during your stay.

Even if you are able to access hospital care equivalent to that of any other resident of your host country, the benefits you receive will not enable you to return to the UK without incurring significant costs. Whether you’re working in the EU or a country where reciprocal healthcare benefits are not provided to foreign nationals, it makes sense to have comprehensive insurance to ensure that if you are taken ill you can return to the UK for your care, if that’s what you would prefer. Seek specialist advice on insurance for business travel to make certain that you are covered while you are abroad and to get you back if necessary.


As with all matters relating to your business, it makes sense to seek specialist advice as early as possible when considering taking work overseas to make sure you don’t fall foul of laws on taxation or end up stranded abroad with no way to get home.

Online Trading – What should the Australian online traders know?

Buying and selling products including shares have become quite easy these days. There was a time when only the rich and the affluent people could afford stock trading. Now-a-days, a large number of “common people” own stock and are regular in the field of online share trading. Similar to various countries across the globe, people in Australia are also interested in share trading. The various stock trading companies play a great role in the share trading business of the country. It should be noted here that whether you are a frequent trader or you're a casual investor, these online trading companies make it easier for everyone to trade online.

Online Trading – What should the Australian online traders know?

Important features of online trading in Australia

The 3 main features, of online stock trading, which makes it popular amongst the Australian online traders include the following:

1) Easy for customers to use: Well, the pattern of trading in these various online trading sites has been designed by traders like us. So, it has been basically developed keeping in mind people like us. This makes it quite easier for traders to use this option for online trading.

2) Lowest possible brokerage: It should also be noted that most of these websites offer a competitive online trading rate in the Australian market. This makes them popular amongst most of the people who are in to this business.
3) Vast research: You’ll be surprised to know that most of these trading sites have more researched recommendations regarding Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) listed companies.

Popular trading tools offered by ETrade to the traders

Etrade is one the popular online trading sites in Australia. They offer various active trading platforms for the people interested in online trading. If you use these platforms, it will help you in trading. The two most important active trader platforms include the following:
  • Power E*Trade: This is a platform which will help identify the trends as provided by the IRESS. This is a provider of innovative market data solution for Australia.
  • E*Trade Pro: This is another platform which will help you react quickly to the changing market condition. This platform has been designed as per client feedback.
Products offered for trade

Though you may have one account with them, you will be able to trade for various things when you are using ETrade. Some of the trading products include:
  • Exchange traded options
  • Australian Shares
  • Global Shares
  • IPOs
  • Investment lending
  • Warrants
Important research tools on offer

At ETrade, you will also be able to get some of the most comprehensive tools which will help you research the market better. These tools will help you know the latest buy or sale recommendations on various individual shares. All these recommendations will be offered to you by the experts of the market. You will also get stock filters which will help you know all those companies having the characteristics that you are looking for. You will also be able to know the “Top 10” stocks which have been most commonly traded.

Online Trading – What should the Australian online traders know?

Tax tools available with ETrade

You will be surprised to note that ETrade also offers tools which will help you in CGT and income tax reporting. This will help the people in portfolio management and tax issues. These tools are designed in such a way that you will be able to manage your portfolio as well as other transactions on one straightforward platform. Apart from this, you will be able to get automatic capital gain and income tax analysis. The analysis will be simple and easy to read.

Premium Service offered by Etrade:

It should be noted here that ETrade also offers certain benefits for people who regularly trade with them. If you are working with ETrade for the past 20 months, then you will be eligible for their Premium Service. This is also known as the Premium Active Trader service. If you opt for this service, you will get various benefits. You will get daily ANZ market reports; have a dedicated Relationship Manager, free access to Tax Tools Plus, etc.

Hope that now you know a lot about the Australian online trading market and ETrade, one of the popular online stock trading companies!

Top Seven Budget Summer Holiday Ideas

Most of us love going on holiday during the summer, but don’t want to spend a fortune on it. Unsurprisingly, budget holidaying has become very popular in the on-going recession, and holidaymakers are constantly on the lookout for new locations that are cheap to visit.

Cheap holidays are the best way forward in terms of having affordable fun during the summer. This article lists out seven hot budget holiday destinations for you and your family.

Sri Lanka

Tourism has enjoyed a revival in Sri Lanka in recent years, with the Guardian touting it as the number one cheapest holiday destination, next to Spain. The country is an interesting mix of cultures, enjoying remnants of British, Dutch and Portuguese colonialism.

Top Seven Budget Summer Holiday Ideas

It’s remarkably diverse for such a small island, surrounded by golden beaches, with massive rainforests and impressive mountains in the centre of the island. The food is to die for.


This is one of the best budget options in Europe. The beaches are great, and there are 1,700 hours of sunshine between May and October. Enjoy water sports and an all-round great family experience.


You just can’t go wrong with over a thousand kilometres of coastline. You can either lounge on the beach for your entire stay, or you can travel into the country to see the Sahara desert. If you’re a Star Wars fan, make sure you visit Matmata, which was one of the original shooting locations.

Goa, India

Make sure you avoid the crowds and visit Goa during the low season. The party hasn’t stopped in Goa for years, and there are always enough local attractions that don’t involve raving till the early hours on the beach, too, like the Portuguese colonial architecture and the beautiful tropical countryside.


Egypt’s culture and history is just astonishing and, frankly, second to none. Nearly everyone in the world is familiar with the famous images of the pyramids and the Sphinx, as well as the mighty Nile. Travelling to Egypt and staying there is incredibly cheap at the moment.


Thailand has a lot to offer, whether you’re staying in its vibrant, bustling capital city, or if you venture outwards towards the beautiful beaches and dense jungles. The flight might be pricey, but the cost of living there is virtually rock bottom.

Dominican Republic

This island’s various hotels offer all-inclusive accommodation, but it also hosts a bunch of budget places to stay, as well. The food and drink is superb, as well as the beaches and the rainforest.

Budgeting – 7 Tips that will help you maintain it

Creating a budget is easy. You can do it on your own by taking help of budgeting softwares. If you are not confident enough, then you can take assistance of a financial planner to help you create your budget. What is most difficult is to maintain that budget and follow it religiously. Unless you can do that, you won’t be able to save money and see the benefits of budgeting.

Exploring 7 tips which can help you stay on budget

Here are 7 tips which will help you stay on your budget without losing your sanity or getting frustrated:

1) Give importance to savings – Once you have set up a budget, you will get an idea about your income and expenditure. This will help you decide as to how much you will be able to save each month. Get that amount direct-deposited in the savings accounts.

Budgeting – 7 Tips that will help you maintain it

2) Carry cash always – Carrying cash is a great way to avoid credit card debts and unnecessary purchases which can toss up your budget. Whenever you’re out for a shopping at a shopping mall or your nearby grocery store, use cash to make payments.

3) Get rid of your bad habits – A nice way to stay within your budget is to get rid of your bad habits. Bad habits like drinking and smoking can be quite expensive. So, if you can get rid of them, you will be able to save quite a lot of money and remain within your budget! Also, this will help improve your health and in the long run, you won’t incur medical bills.

4) Pay off as much debts as possible – Unsecured debts can be a headache and you may find that your creditors are increasing the interest rates as and when they like. So, it’s better to pay off the unsecured debts especially the credit cards. Start off with the credit card which has highest interest rate. Pay extra on it every month and make minimum payments on other cards. Follow this with every card and you will soon find that you have reduced your debts.

5) Track your spending – In order to be on your budget and increase savings, you should track your spending. Analyze all your bills and receipts to see if you’re making unnecessary expenditure. Cut those expenses and save more while on budget! For example, avoid expenses by bringing your lunch from home and using a car pool.

6) Balancing check book – Yes, it is quite important. You should start balancing your check book on a time to time basis. Make sure that you never incur overdraft fees. Insufficient funds can also be a major error. If you balance your check book on a regular basis, you are sure to avoid them.

7) Variable expenses – You can create a tight budget for yourself and even follow it diligently. But you should also remember that life is changeable. Things may go out of control. Also, always allot some money for the variable expenses. Do not punish yourself if your budget crosses the limit on some months.

Budgeting can make your life run smooth. It will help you avoid hiccups in the road of life. Thus, you will be able to avoid unnecessary tension!

Proper financial bank investments are very important for any kind of asset management

Investments can be categorized in lots of ways. Here bank or financial investments are going to be presented as a subject to risk. Usually the higher the return the larger the risk of loss is going to be. Another way of describing this really is by saying that the conservative investor doesn't wants to take minimum risk of getting losses but they are well pleased with low returns, on the other hand an aggressive buyer aims for higher returns and accepts losses once they occur. They are keener to get high returns while not thinking about losses which can happen any time to them. But proper financial bank investments are very important for any kind of asset management. Below are three kinds of investments that may be easily accessed via your bank.

Proper financial bank investments are very important for any kind of asset management

Keep in mind, each investor must determine the amount of risk which they can incur during the time of the trading.

1) Reduced return

These are interest bearing savings company accounts with banks or other banking institutions. The rate of interest associated with return varies from bank to bank and financial institutions and also with time. The rate of interests which are given are normally regulated and adjusted by the government of the country and they can also change that according to the need of the country’s financial growth and for several reasons. The interest bearing deposits really are a great starting point investing as you'll have immediate access for your money and you’ll need it for the purpose of asset management. Any amount could be invested.
2) Medium to low return

They are actually money market funds through which banks takes short term investments. The return is usually more than what can be found in interest bearing investments.

3) Moderate return

Certificates of Deposit will also be sound investments along with little risk and can be readily bought from a financial institution or banks. The investor can choose the term of the actual investment, and interest could be paid regularly or even at maturity. The interest rate on the Certificate of Deposit is usually higher than individuals of interest showing deposits and cash market funds.

In all instances the rates associated with return vary with how big the investment and also the span of time for which the fund is actually invested. The returns on single types of opportunities also vary in between banks and banking institutions because each lender has a various business aim and differing amounts of deposits. Do your homework and will also be surprised at the actual differences. In normal cases it has been seen that in those the risk factor is high, the return to the investment is also higher. So it can be of great confusion for a new beginner in this line to start his or her investment. So be caution while doing investments and also clarify the agreement papers that you are going to sign. If you've some lazy cash around, select the expense type that suits your requirements. These investment strategies are between the safest investments currently available. Start making cash now.

The benefits of being an Actuary

A recent survey revealed that an Actuary is the most desired and ‘best ‘profession to work as based on a number of key factors , including working environment, stress, hiring outlook and physical demands.  This is hardly surprising when considering the amazing perks of the role, so let’s take a look at just why it’s so good to pursue a career as an actuary.

The benefits of being an Actuary

Money, money, money

Yes, money isn’t everything, but when it comes to being an Actuary, is one of the most obvious benefits. The industry traditionally offers a very appealing numeration packages with UK actuaries typically earning around £46,000 per year and the more experienced and senior Actuaries (Chief Actuary) taking home over £200,000. Plus, working within the corporate world tends to present you with a few extras such as extensive health insurance/life insurance packages and more.

Job satisfaction

Actuaries get to work with what they love best –  numbers.  As such the job satisfaction that comes with being an actuary can be incredibly high as it offers professionals a chance to problem solve and in many cases have a positive impact upon legislation, individuals and businesses as well as the overall industry itself which can be incredibly rewarding.

Going global

Another fantastic USP of working as an Actuary are the travel opportunities. Being an Actuary is a truly international profession with transferable skills that adapt to the changing financial climates across the world. Whilst many Actuaries choose the stay based in the UK there are a growing number moving abroad to explore emerging market in countries such as the USA, Germany and South Africa.

Safe and secure

Whilst the Actuarial industry can be competitive, it’s very much a case of ‘once you’re in, you’re in.’  Plus is today’s turbulent financial climate where job security is uncertain, unemployment levels climbing and the demand for risk assessment high, there has never been a better time for the Actuary. Actuarial recruiters, Star Actuarial are seeing consistent increases in the number of roles becoming available for Actuaries and currently have a whole host of roles on offer within the Actuarial professional, both in the UK and abroad.

So, there you have it, the most desired and highest rated job in the world today is an Actuary. It’s easy to see why with an extensive range of perks available no matter what level of your career you’re at.