3 Great Ideas For Securing Your Children's Future

With an uncertain economic climate ahead, there has never been a more vital time to think about investing in your children's future. It can be scary looking at those little rugrats knowing that the world could be a different place when they reach adulthood. Any responsible parent wants to protect them from any eventuality as best they can. 

Securing Your Children's Future

First and foremost, your own financial security should be your greatest concern. Raising a child is expensive, even if you're not doing a good job. But, if you have money to spare, it is wise to put some of it aside to invest for your kids and give them the best possible start to life. Here are some ideas of where to invest for your children to help get you started.

Savings Bonds

Savings Bonds are good long term  investments for children, as long as you start them early. There are different types, but the best long-term idea is to go for Series EE savings bonds and let them mature for around 20 years. You can invest a lump sum of anything up to $10,000 and they provide a guaranteed rate of interest. They are tax free up to $14,000. If you think your child will need some financial help before that 20 years is up, then it is best to set them up in their names. That way, should they need money to fund their way through college, for example, it will be easier for them to release. 

Trust Funds

You might think that trust funds are purely for wealthy people. But that is not the case. If you have any spare money that you can put away, setting up a trust fund for your children will give them a payout when you pass away. You can squirrel away funds, and also apply stipulations to when the funds can be released. This could be anything from reaching a certain age, or getting married, or anything you like. One thing that does exclude trust funds to the majority of people is the cost to hire a trust attorney. They are expensive, but if you plan early enough you can offset the initial cost to make it viable.  

Gold

Gold is a great investment to make, as it is relatively stable in the long term. But how you invest depends on what stage of life you are at. For younger parents, buying gold with cash is probably your best bet. However, bear in mind that you will need somewhere to store the gold to keep it safe. If you are older and have put in a reasonable amount to a pension fund, you could think about using some of it with a gold IRA investment. There's a great gold IRA rollover guide over at GoldIRAHandbook.com. If you need any more info, don't forget to check out our complete guide to the pros and cons of investing in gold

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief introduction to investing for your kids. Don’t forget to have a look for some more great articles on the best places to put your money on this blog!

Quickest Way To Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Snowballing is truly effective when you’re struggling to meet your remaining credit card debts after Christmas. It’s perhaps your best time to talk about snowballing. Don’t confuse debt snowballing with the white stuff that you see all around. Snowballing also refers to a process of debt repayment.

Does snowballing work effectively?

Getting out of your debt burden seems like an uphill task, especially when you have to deal with a number of different cards. You may only tackle them in an organized and simple way when you opt for snowballing. Finding out the APR on every card that you have and the debt on each of them will certainly help you roll the ball. Let’s imagine a scenario wherein you have three cards, say X, Y and Z. You must choose the card that shows the highest APR first; let’s assume it to be your card X. You’ll try to pay it off very soon as this card will charge the highest interest. That’s one reason why you must try to pay more towards this card instead of paying the minimum amount every month. 

Pay Off Credit Card Debt

At the same time, you mustn’t forget your card Y and card Z. The minimum amount that you need to repay every month needs to be paid in time. In case you fail to do so, it will influence your credit rating negatively and charge you for all your missed payments. Upon paying your card X in full, you’ll need to start repaying more towards the card Y which has the second highest APR. Likewise, you can start repaying your balance on card Z once the card Y is paid off.

Can I be debt-free very soon?

The number of credit cards you have, the APRs charged by your credit cards and the worth of debt they show will help determine how fast you can actually pay them off. You’ll get an idea once you seek a proper explanation. Let’s assume a minimum amount worth 2% of your debt to be paid towards each of your cards every month – 
  • Card X with an APR worth 20% demands a minimum payment of £60 every month
  • Card Y with an APR worth 15% demands a minimum payment of £100 every month
  • Card Z with an APR worth 9% demands a minimum payment of £40 every month
You must try to raise your monthly repayment towards card X. You may raise it to £100 a month from your initial payment of £60 a month. This way, you’ll end up repaying £240 towards your entire credit debt every month. Card X will be paid off entirely in about three years and few more months. Once this is done, you must continue paying £240 towards your combined credit card debt. Make sure this payment is redistributed, so that your card Z achieves an amount of £40 and card Y achieves an amount of £200 every month.

Pay off your cards Y and Z in full by continuing your payments every month. It really helps if you can pay more towards your most expensive card. Similar views are shared by financial experts associated with eminent debt relief services.

In order to repay more, you’ll need to save a little out of your daily expenses. Consider setting reminders in a dairy or notepad and check your finances regularly. Your initial balances should be entered first and then you must keep the page updated on a regular basis. Websites belonging to credit card settlement services are likely to throw valuable information in this regard. 

Simple Ways To Cut Your Bills

Household costs have risen over recent years and you might now dread checking your utility bills. However, by being savvy you could slash your expenses, leaving you with more cash to spend on other things. Here are some simple ways to ease the pressures on your budget.

Harvest the rain that falls on your roof 

One top tip is to start harvesting the rain that falls on your roof. As drainage system specialists Alumasc Drainage point out, the cost of mains water is continuing to rise as demand for this crucial commodity increases. Rainwater harvesting systems offer an alternative to this potentially costly source of water. As long as you choose a good quality system and make sure it’s installed properly, these solutions are easy to use and maintain, and they can cut domestic mains water consumption by up to 50 percent.  

Improve your insulation

Simple Ways To Cut Your Bills
Improving the insulation in your home could help to drive your costs down too. If your budget will stretch to it, you might benefit from upgrading any single-glazed windows to energy efficient double-glazed versions. Fitting additional loft and cavity wall insulation can also help to lower your bills. Don’t worry if these measures are too expensive though; there are cheaper techniques that can help your property to retain heat. For example, simply using draft excluders to prevent warmth escaping from under your doors or through your letterbox can work wonders, and installing thick blockout curtains or blinds can also help. Bear in mind that these window dressings can come in handy for keeping rooms cool in summer as well, meaning you may be less reliant on your air conditioning.

Buy efficient appliances

Think carefully when you’re replacing any household appliances too. It’s now easy to find energy efficient versions, and they can save you a small fortune over their lifetimes. Pay particular attention to the energy ratings of fridges and freezers. After central heating, these appliances can be the biggest contributors to home energy bills and they can account for up to a fifth of the electricity used in households. 

Change your habits

You might benefit from changing your habits too. For example, don’t leave any external doors or windows open any longer than necessary during the colder months. Also get used to switching your appliances off at the mains when they’re not in use, rather than leaving them on standby.

When it comes to your kitchen, avoid putting warm food in your fridge as this makes the appliances work harder. Also, always fully load your dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer before using them, and only heat as much water in your kettle as you actually plan to use. In addition, if you’re signed up to an energy tariff that offers you cheaper electricity off-peak, wash your dishes and clothes overnight.

By following tips like these, you stand to cut your household spending and make checking your energy bills a little less traumatic. 

When It Comes To Payday Advance Loans, Doing Your Research Means Finding A Better Deal

In today’s financial climate, it’s easy to fall short between paychecks, leaving you struggling to find the money to pay for unexpected expenses. A payday cash advance or Single-Pay Loan can mean the difference between paying your utilities bill on time and letting it go overdue, incurring excessive late fees on an already hard to handle amount. Many people choose to use cash advances when they have to pay for things they haven’t budgeted for, tiding themselves over with a small loan until their next paycheck. 

Unfortunately, not all cash advance lending companies are made the same. Some do not care about your financial health, so before you agree to any loan, do your research to find a company that actually cares about you. Choose a lending company that is a licensed online lender; this is your first step towards finding a lender that’s right for you. One that affiliates with your state’s third party lenders will have credible partnerships with trustworthy credit bureaus, proving to you that they are a reliable and dependable source of money. A company that follows specific state rules and regulations regarding lending will provide legitimate and reasonable loans. 

Payday Loans

Once you’ve found a lending company that follows these regulations, dig a little deeper by going online to find out their lending philosophy. A company that actually cares about you and your choices is the one that you want to borrow from. Many lending companies are out there to make a quick buck off of unsuspecting borrowers, forcing people to agree to excessive rates and difficult terms. By finding a trustworthy lending company, you can guarantee you’ll never be forced into anything. In fact, a reliable lending company will provide first-rate representatives that will go over all of your loan terms, to ensure that you understand your contract before you agree to it. They’ll even allow you the opportunity to cancel your loan with no penalty fee within 24 hours of signing.

Thanks to the internet, you can be approved for a loan online in no time at all. All you need to do is to go on to a preferred lending company’s website and fill out an easy online application.

The Benefits of Invoice Discounting to Your Business

Invoice financing is not a new idea, but it has become an increasingly popular borrowing option over the past two decades. Ideally suited to remedying cash flow problems, the financial crisis has seen its prevalence boom, with more and more businesses finding that available capital simply doesn’t match real business performance. 

Invoice Discounting to Your Business
So what is invoice financing? Invoice financing is an umbrella terms used to describe two broadly similar methodologies: invoice factoring and invoice discounting. These borrowing options both work by levying capital from a third party provider, which is secured against a business’ invoice ledger. Unlike traditional borrowing, however, they allow you to borrow money against money that you’ve already earned. This capital is made available almost immediately, so that companies don’t have to wait for customers to settle their debts before ploughing their profits back into their business. 

It is the latter methodology - invoice discounting - that is most popular amongst larger enterprises. But how, exactly, could it help you? 

It Improves Cash Flow

The main attraction of invoice discounting lies in its primary function: to improve cash flow. Many businesses find that cash flow simply doesn’t match performance, with a sizeable lag between earning money and being able to access it. Although immediate payment offers one answer to this problem, insisting on this can cause some companies to lose business. Factoring offers the perfect solution; in the space of 24 hours, around 90 per cent of the total invoice value will usually be made available by invoice discounting providers like Touch Financial

It’s Low Risk

Although it differs from traditional borrowing options in a number of ways, invoice discounting is still a means of securing finance, one possibility amongst many to consider. When it comes to weighing up its advantages, one of the greatest is the low risk attached to it; you’re borrowing money against capital that you’re already owed, as opposed to profits that you’re only hoping to make. As a result, your chances of accumulating substantial debts in a bid to expand your company are absolutely minimal.  

Third Party Involvement in Your Business is Limited

One of the main differences between invoice discounting and its factoring counterpart lies in the involvement of financial providers in your business. Discounting lenders are much more hands off, leaving responsibility for your invoice portfolio in your hands. It will be down to you to chase payments, and all client inter-facing will be taken care of by you and your employees. This means that customers needn’t know how your business is funded, and that there is no risk of your reputation for positive customer service being negatively impacted by anyone else.    

If you’re looking for a solution to your business’ cash flow problems, could invoice discounting be the perfect option for you?

Why SIPPs are the Perfect Vehicle for Securing Your Dream Retirement

Most of us have dreamed of our retirements. We’ve all fantasised about holidays spent sunbathing on golden sand, a jade green sea lapping at our feet. For others, the goal is to pick up a hobby that you never had time to pursue, or to spend quality time with family and friends. 

One future that rarely features in our imaginings is living a life of penury, yet the basic state pension, awarding just £115 per week, seems to offer little else. Thankfully, we each have the power to take our fates into our own hands, and that applies as much to pensions as any other areas of our lives.

Securing Your Dream Retirement

For those who imagine a better retirement, a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) often offers the ideal solution: flexible, controlled by you, and offering generous tax benefits, it promises the luxurious future you’ve always dreamed of. Here are just a few of the reason why a SIPP might suit your needs…

Extensive Investment Choices

One of the major criticisms of standard personal pensions is that they only offer a small number of funds for their benefactors to invest in. This can severely limit the size of your retirement total, and is enough to deter many people from viewing personal pensions as a viable option. SIPPs do not share the same limitation. Offering the opportunity to invest in a wide array of assets, they give you the power to decide exactly where your money will go.

Flexibility and Control

SIPPs have the further advantage of placing your future in your own hands. The whole point of them is to vest control over your retirement fund in you, and that’s why they offer the opportunity to put your money where you want it, when you want it. Additionally, it is down to you to decide how much you want to take out of it, when, and how you wish to spend it. 

Tax Benefits

Perhaps the greatest advantage of SIPPs is the multitude of tax benefits attached to them, most notably some very generous tax relief. For basic rate taxpayers this is set at 20 per cent, meaning that for every £8,000 you invest, the government will place a further £2,000 into your account. For higher and additional rate taxpayers, tax relief is even more generous, at 40 and 45 per cent respectively. In addition, your fund will not be charged for income or capital gains tax, and your capital can be inherited tax-free by your heirs in the event of your death.

If you know the future that you want, could a SIPP be the ideal retirement solution for you? 

Three Things to Consider When Choosing a Personal Loan

People apply for a personal loan for a variety of reasons, such as needing capital to purchase a car, cover home improvement projects, buy equipment to support a hobby, or repay existing debts. 

Irrespective of your motivations, some loans will suit your purposes better than others, and it’s important that you narrow down your options until you find one that’s right for you. 

Personal Loan

If you’re considering taking out a personal loan, here are the three things that you need to think about.

#1: Borrowing Limits

The borrowing limits of different lenders can vary quite significantly. Most will offer up to about £15,000, but some lenders will go up to as much as £25,000. The amount you need will be dependent on what you intend to use the loan for, so take the time to work this out. If you need more than most borrowers, make sure you shop around to find someone who can provide you with as much capital as you need.   

#2: Loan Terms

The borrowing limits will vary from lender to lender and so will the loan terms on offer. Some lenders will insist the amount you borrow is repaid in just six months. More typically, lenders will expect their money back within a year. Although personal loans can be a good borrowing option for those who need money for a period of years, credit card lenders can be a better choice if you only need to borrow cash short-term. If the terms of a personal loan or credit card does not suit your needs, then why not consider a secured loan lender like Nemo Personal Finance. Always consider that financiers such as Nemo secure their loans against your home so it’s imperative you ensure you can meet the repayments. 

#3: Providers

Personal loans are available from a number of different providers, including a variety of banks, building societies and supermarkets. With so much choice, you should take the time to shop around, making a shortlist of the companies or institutions whose packages seem well suited to your needs. 

Follow our top tips today to find a loan that suits you!

Three Top Tips for Increasing Turnover

Every business owner wants to improve their profits. They do everything in their power to make sure that their products are as brilliant as they can make them, that their reputation is second to none, and that they employ the very best people that they can afford.

Tips for Increasing Turnover

So how do you set yourself apart from the rest? How do you make sure that your profits outstrip those of any of your rivals? There are a thousands answers that we could give you, but here are just three of them to give you a little food for thought…

Invest in New Technology

Technology costs, and many business owners see the initial outlay as enough of a deterrent to stop them from investing in the latest and greatest technology. This is a big mistake to make. Today’s software and systems are so advanced that companies like Evolve can provide technology to satisfy your every need. This equipment can prove a huge boon to a business, helping to improve efficiency, reduce the man hours spent on menial tasks, and in doing so significantly reduce overheads. The less you spend, the more you make.

Invest in On-going Training

Your staff members are perhaps the greatest assets your business has access to, so it makes sense to invest in them. On-going training is a fantastic way to do this, and there are significant benefits attached to it. Firstly, it’s a wonderful way to increase your knowledge capital and improve efficiency, meaning that staff gain abilities that will see their work become more skilled, faster, and thus more profitable. Additionally, it can act as a wonderful morale boost for your employees, emphasising the faith that you have in them. Many businesses that invest in on-going training claim that this is a brilliant way to foster loyalty and encourage hard work, a boon that benefits both you and your staff members. 

Hire the Best

One way to ensure that only the best people are working for you is by nurturing their skills through on-going training, but the talents this helps to foster can take years to develop. To speed the process up, it’s often a good idea to hire professionals who already have the experience and portfolio you require. These employees will not only be able to help refine and hone your existing processes and strategies, making them more efficient and profitable, but they’ll also be able to pass these skills on to all of the people working under them and teach them the best team building activities.

Increase your turnover now by following these top tips.

6 Smart Ways to Make Money after Retiring

Many people struggle every day with the goal to save money for retirement, and when they finally reach the time for retirement, they think that constant money struggle is over. While money issues may be less prevalent in retirement, many people struggle to maintain the lifestyle they want without an income. 

Smart Ways to Make Money after Retiring

Even without going back to the normal day job routine, there are some simple ways people can earn extra income in retirement. Anyone can use these ideas to increase their wealth and live financially free. Here are six smart ways to make money after retiring. 

Apply for a reverse mortgage

A reverse mortgage is a smart choice for anyone who still owns their home after retiring. This is a tool that can allow people to stay in their homes for longer without having to worry about the mortgage payments. Anyone can find out how to get a reverse mortgage for their home to decrease their expenses. 

Get rid of some old stuff

Over the years, most people will accumulate a lot of things. Some of those things will be very useful for years to come, but other things may just be getting in the way after retirement. Anyone can start going through their things and selling some of the stuff they have no use for anymore for quick, easy cash. People can do this periodically to keep their homes clear of clutter and keep extra money in their pockets. 

Help young students

After retiring, many people may feel that they want to start giving back to younger people and starting what they have learned over their lifetime. Setting up a small tutoring business can be a great way to do this while earning more money. Anyone can set up regular tutoring times with students who need extra help to give back while making money. 

Be a mock online juror

Though jury duty is often something that many people despite being called in for, there is another way to give back to the judicial system. There are online websites that are looking for mock jurors to use as practice and research for real trials. Many sites will pay big money for a little bit of time and opinions on a practice trial. 

Give out some expertise

There are a lot of retirees who are lucky enough to live in the same area their entire lives. This may be a comfort that can lead to more for a retired person. Some websites and publications can use a retired person’s knowledge of the area to enhance the content they put out. People can charge for the information they give and the insights they offer

Find a profitable new hobby

Starting a new hobby is common in retirement. Many people will start a hobby just to have something to do, but starting a new hobby could also mean finding a new source of income. Anyone can sell their homemade items or otherwise use their hobby to make a little extra cash. 

Simple Rules To Follow When Investing In Real Estate

When it comes to investments, you can't go far wrong with property. While other areas of the market tend to be fragile, the property market tends to be stable for most investors. If you want a way to make long term profits, this idea could be the answer to your prayers. If this is the first time you have made a large investment, take a moment to look over these rules. Your money is precious, and so you need to do everything you can to protect it. 

Real Estate

#1 Get your finances in check before you buy 

Before you decide to look at any properties, you need to make sure that your finances can stretch to it. Hard money loans are specifically for real estate investments, and so you ought to consider them. You should also talk to your current accountant and ask them for advice. The last thing you want to do is mess up your finances by rushing ahead before you are ready. Getting a tailored loan could make a massive difference to your long term finances.

#2 Understand the terms of your contract

When you have chosen an ideal investment property, you need to see the contract. Much of the time, people don't read the small print when they buy a property. There will be things in the contract that you need to know about, and so you should spend some time reading it. If you are unsure about any technical terms, you need to ask your realtor about them. The point is that you should not sign anything until you are clear on your side of the bargain. 

#3 Figure out your potential profits 

You need to know what profits you stand to make from this investment. Whenever you spend money on something, you have to know what you will get out of it. This aspect of the transaction needs to be clear before your proceed. If you buy a house for more than it is worth, you are wasting your money. You should figure out what you can sell the property for in a few years time. In the meantime, you can profit by letting it out to tenants. 

#4 Talk to an independent adviser 

Before you make this massive decisions, you need some straightforward advice. If you go to your bank, they will tell you what you need to do to get the most out of your money. Remember, it is in your bank manager's interests to see you profit from this venture, and so you they will help you in any way they can. 

#5 Consider any interior work that you need to do

When you view the house, you need to take a checklist with you so that you know what you need to do to the interior. If the property needs a load of work, you will have to pay for it. Sometimes, taking on a house that you will revamp is a secure way to double your cash. Other times, you will waste your finances on a project that will not pay off for you. 

#6 Haggle with your real estate agent 

When it comes to money, you always want to get the best possible deal. Don't be afraid to challenge the real estate agent on the price. Much of the time, the asking price on a property is higher than it needs to be. You could knock that price down if you haggle with the agent. Beware of sales tactics. Your realtor will tell you that there are twenty other people waiting to buy this property. If that was true, they would not be bothering with you at all. 

When you are dealing with a load of money, you have to make sure that you make informed decisions. There is plenty of advice online that can help you. If you get things right, investing in property could be the best thing you ever did.