How to Make Your Money Work for You

There are many different ideas and views on successful financial management. To some it might mean paying off all debts, while for others it may be living a comfortable life within their means. As My Money Coach states, if you don't have enough money to do everything you would like to do, then you need to focus your money on the things that are most important to you, and make your money work for you.

Generally, good financial management comprises of three main things:

1.  Being able to pay for your basic expenses
2. Clearing off debt or loans (like student loans, credit card payments etc.)
3. Establishing a certain amount of savings. (Savings could be in the form of emergency funds or for financing a long-term goal, such as buying a house)

How to Make Your Money Work for You

Although managing finances properly is a necessity to making your money work for you, it’s not always easy. Check out these tips below to help you get control of your personal finance.

Make a plan

Starting with a plan is always a good idea, as it will help you achieve your target and keep you motivated to follow it. According to Money Management International, setting tangible and realistic goals, following them, and tracking your progress is the key to successfully achieving your financial goals. It’s always a good idea to bear in mind and plan for any possible future emergencies as well.

Track monthly expenditure

Here’s the hard part. Many of us spend our money without ever noting down the purchases we’ve made, and it is very easy to lose track of how much is being spent. From a simple cup of coffee to a new pair of pants, try to write down all of your expenditures for a whole month.

Prepare a budget

Using the information you’ve gathered from tracking your expenditure, prepare a realistic budget. A budget is basically a plan outlining your incoming and outgoing money. In your budget, all expenditures should be divided into categories and you can note down the amount you plan to spend on any particular one, such as groceries, utility bills, and clothing. Try to allocate at least 10% of your total earnings as savings if possible.

Investments

There are many types of investments you can make, ranging from zero to high risk. The key is to make smart investments and never risk money you can’t afford to lose. Some relatively safe investment options include mutual funds and property. Also make sure you opt for employers that offer a good retirement plan, like the 401(k) plan.

Insurance

Check out your insurance policies. It could be that you’re paying more than you need to and could save money by switching companies.

Become a savvy shopper

Try to buy non-perishable items in bulk and check out which days certain supermarkets or restaurants have discounts on. Try to plan for a monthly shop, rather than regular purchases, as this will force you to stick to a meal plan and avoid impulse-buys.

Following these tips and investing considerable thought into planning your finances will go a long way towards making the most of your money and leading a comfortable life.

Revealed: Commodities Trading Tips The Pros Don't Want You To Know

Let's face it; there are right and wrongs of trading commodities. People new to commodity trading tend to learn the ropes through trial and error. The trouble is; any "errors" can end up costing a lot of money!

They want to learn more about commodity trading to reach their financial goals. In other words, they wish to make money, so they have a more comfortable lifestyle.


All too often I see people focusing on their financial dreams and not at the task at hand. That usually ends up with unwanted results - and a lighter wallet! If you want to try your hand at commodity trading, how should you begin? And what secret strategies do the pros use?

Today I will do something controversial. I will share with you some dynamite tips that seasoned traders use. Soon you will be able to give them a run for their money! Without further ado, here is what you need to know:

Do plenty of research

Yes, I know; research can be boring, right? But, when we're talking about money, it's a crucial task you need to do. If you trade without knowing what you're doing, you're likely to end up losing a lot of money. And that's the last thing you want to happen!

The good news is that research is easy to carry out thanks to the Internet. Plenty of websites can help you choose commodities as an investment. While others can tell you which are the best trading platforms and providers to use.

Buy commodities without spending a penny

It might surprise you to learn that it's possible to have a practice run at buying commodities. Many trading platforms offer demo accounts so that you can buy and sell using "virtual" money. Of course, that means you don't own the commodities you buy.

The plus side is that it helps you get to grips with the experience. Especially if you are new to it all!

Choose the best commodities for your money

It's no secret that there are four main commodities that people invest in each year. They are gold, silver, copper and oil.

Gold is a popular commodity that doesn't get affected by political events. Supply of gold often comes from reserves, as it's not mined as much these days. As a result, the value of gold is steady and rises each year. It's worth bearing in mind that gold prices can get affected by exchange rates. In particular, the value of the US Dollar.

Silver is also a good commodity for investment purposes. It's cheaper to buy than gold, so it's useful if you've not got a lot of capital. 

The value of copper has risen in recent years, leading to more people investing in the commodity. The unfortunate downside of that fact is copper theft is on the rise!

Last, but not least, there is oil. To an extent, the price of oil depends on the exchange rate of the US Dollar. Other factors can affect its value, such as political tensions in oil-producing countries. Still, there will not be a shortage of demand for oil in the future. That means it's going to be a valuable commodity for a while yet!

Get Off the Credit Card Hamster Wheel and Pay off Debt Quickly

Credit cards do have their uses. They are convenient, can be used as an emergency source of funds, and with proper use can raise your credit rating, getting you lower rates on things like home loans. However, they can also begin to feel like a trap. You pay payment after payment and the debt never seems to go away. Run up a big bill and it feels like you just got a giant pay-cut at work, because the monthly payments are so high. It can feel like you are a hamster running on a wheel that will never stop. Well here are some tips to escape that endless circle of credit card debt.

Stop paying interest. Find a different credit card, which offers 0% interest on balance transfers. Basically, you are using one credit card to pay off another. Be sure to check all the fine print for extra fees and choose one with 0% interest for a significant amount of time, such as a year. Just before that year is up, switch to another card with the same deal. This step alone can save you hundreds of dollars per month in payments.

Don't miss any payments, or there goes that 0% rate. Pay the bill before its even due or set up an auto-pay with your bank.

Pay off Debt

Don't pay minimum payments. Pay as much as you can each month. If they lower your payments, ignore that. Pay the amount you had been paying before and the debt will go down much quicker.

Use windfall money to pay off debt. “Windfalls” are money that comes to you that you were not expecting. Instead of using that to treat yourself, use it to pay down debt. Use tax return money to pay down debt as well.

Keep track of your finances and your budget. This can be a daunting task at times. Try some software like Quickbooks Pro (available discounted at Office Depot), and you may find ways that money is leaking out of your budget each month, like too many trips out to dinner. It can also help you make calculations as to when you will finally be free from that “hamster wheel” of credit card debt.

How to Grow as a Mortgage Advisor

It’s been a rough few years for the housing market in the United Kingdom, but things are steadily getting better. If you’re already part of your way down the path of becoming a successful mortgage advisor or broker, then you’ve probably noticed that business is picking up, and with that, it’s about time you made sure that you’re the best professional you can be. After all, the better you are at your job, the better your business is. With this in mind, we think that there are two important things to think about that will help you grow as a mortgage advisor.

Mortgage Advisor

Utilising The Tools Available To You

The first of those things is going to be the tools and help that you have at your disposal. Business in the modern world is all about working smarter. Working hard is certainly as important as it’s always been, but those that are cleverest in their business methods will be the ones most successful. There are now numerous companies out there that can help support you with a wide variety of applications and systems to make your job easier. Openwork for instance have an online business submission system so that you can process things quickly and easily. What’s more, this is 2015, and of course you’ll be able to do almost everything you need using a smartphone app. The most successful advisors don’t have time to run back to the office every time they make a deal.

Expanding Knowledge and Skills

The second important point is one that will be true for a great many industries, and that’s of course training. There’s very rarely a limit to the amount that you can learn about the industry that you work in, and the world of property finance is certainly no different. If you think that you might have a gap in your knowledge somewhere, then it’s certainly worthwhile looking for a training company that can help you fill in that gap. Who knows – it could help you offer a new service, boosting your business. Similarly, simply extending your knowledge on subjects you’re already good with will make you better at your job. It’s all about investing in yourself.

There you have it. Invest in your own skills to further your career progression, but don’t be afraid to use all the tools and help that you can get. Services from other companies might just be the boost that you need.

What Makes India’s Biggest Construction Exhibition so Special?

There are so many decisions we have to make in life. Some are small ones and does not require much time. Others are quite big and involve a lot of thought as the dissonance quotient is quite high. These decisions require your time and you should look around for what you think will be the best way to take this decision. Buying a property or house falls under the same category. You need to be very meticulous in taking a decision which involves pouring your money in one place. 

India’s Biggest Construction Exhibition

In Mumbai, there is a new construction exhibition which is being held and this involves a lot of the best things that can possible happen. This exhibition has a number of different property dealers and real estate giants who have come together to help you make your decision and buy a house which suits your needs. The property expo is something you should really attend since it is one of a kind and will help you take the best decision when it comes to your property buying spree. 

What else is there in store?

There might be many others like you, who are interested in getting one of the properties for themselves in this and you should interact with them as well. This would help you get a better idea as to what you could do to prevent mistakes that others might have made. You could also have a go at different agents who have projects on board and you could negotiate with them to get the deal which suits your requirements best. 

A fair where you could look through all the options there are to choose from are laid out right in front of you. Since it is approved by CREDAI you need not be bothered about the authenticity of this venture. Only the trustworthy builders who are the best in the real estate biz will attend and help you with your requirements. So all this benefits you to no extent. All you have to do is attend this fair. You might have help when it comes to seeking financial help and there will be people who would help you decide how much loan you could take and what documents you need for the same.

In conclusion

There are quite a number of people out here to help you fulfil the dream of owning your own house in the best of places. 

Top 6 Factors That Influence Gold Prices

Since the ancient times, Gold has been a primary indicator of wealth and was used as a currency for commodity exchange instead of barter.  After the introduction of paper money around the 13th century, gold coins soon fell out of favor and gold was adopted as the official standard to determine the price of the paper currency. Even through the gold standard was dropped after 20th century, it is still considered to be a safe haven currency if the economy topples. If you are planning to invest in gold or precious metals, here are some of the top factors that influence the prices. 

1. Economic Crisis

Despite of their vast circulation and use, there are times when the currency loses its value if too much of it is printed. Once the currency is devalued, it is natural that people will look for alternatives for cash resulting in prices of gold and other precious metals to go up. Gold is also known as the crises currency due to the fact that it is unaffected by economic and political changes. You can also check websites such as http://www.Goldirahandbook.com for more information on gold and precious metal investments and retirement benefits. Gold prices tend to rise as soon as the people lose their faith in the paper money. 

Top 6 Factors That Influence Gold Prices

2. Price Hikes 

Gold is one of the safest commodities that retain its value despite the inflation or economic crisis. While a currency may lose its value when faced with inflation, it might certainly become a problem, as you would require a larger amount of money to buy the items that were available for a lesser amount earlier.  Even if such a crisis might arrive, an ounce of gold still holds much more value than a banknote and is a hedge against such problems.

3. Instability of Central Banks

Currencies in most countries are regulated by a central bank that maintains a reserve of cash to provide for the monetary needs of the people. Once the funds in the central banks start depleting or the bank experiences economic problems due to over loaning, the only thing people can rely on is Gold. As gold holds a much higher tangible value than a banknote, its prices are highly affected by any issues with the central banking system of a country. 

4. Changes in Interest Rates

Economic instability affects not only the value of the currency but also lowers the return on investment. This can result in lowered interest rates from banks and financial institutions, which make people, sell their gold in holding to secure additional funds. Such a situation can result in lowering the gold prices making it easier for you to buy more gold. 

5. Demand in Jewelry Industry

Gold is known for its natural shine and possesses unique chemical properties that make it a favored choice for use in jewelry and ornaments. With more than half of the total gold produced in the world going to the jewelry industry, any fluctuations in the demand can cause a major surge in gold prices. Gold has been known as an indicator of wealth and prosperity in most countries and cultures. Any increases in demand due to the various socio-cultural reasons (weddings, festivals etc.) have a high impact on the gold prices in a country. 

6. Gold Production

We all know that no matter how much we want it, gold is a rare commodity and it can only be produced in a limited quantity. This means unlike paper money, there is a considerable amount of money that needs to be invested in order to secure a hefty amount of gold. The production cost of gold is also subject to availability and any rise in the production cost can have a significant influence over its selling price. Prices can also depend on whether the gold was mined yesterday or several years ago as antiquity also comes for a price. 

Gold is certainly a much safe investment option as compared to stocks, bonds and other types of indirect securities. As it is a valuable commodity in itself, it will never face any major devaluation even in the toughest of economic conditions. 

How To Escape The Crippling Cycle Of Debt

Anyone who’s ever experienced debt will tell you that it’s like a dark cloud. It hangs over every single thing you do. It influences every decision, and controls your entire life. The cloud gathers, and grows larger on a day-to-day basis. Debt is a spiralling circle of despair, and it’s very difficult to get out of the trap. But, don’t worry, it is possible. By taking control of your finances, you can turn your debt problem around, and escape from the darkness. Trust us, it will be the best decision you’ll ever make!

Face up to it

The first, and most important thing you can do when struggling with debt is face up to it. It’s so easy to hide from the problems, and ignore them. You throw the credit card statements in the bin, and ignore the phone calls. You can’t even remember the last time you logged into your internet banking! That has to stop. It’s time to make a list of your debts, and face up to that number. Debts add up across the board. From IRS tax debts to credit cards to mortgages to overdraft fees. Pull them all together, and understand exactly what you’re dealing with.

Cycle Of Debt

Prioritise the debts

Now it’s time to start thinking about the repayment schedule. Recognise that some debts are more pressing than others. For example, some IRS and tax debts can results in a seizing of assets and garnishing your wages. That must take priority, if that’s a possibility. Next, look to any short-term loans with high-interest rates. After that comes credit cards. Organise your biggest credit card debts, and prioritise them in order of interest rates and repayment figures. When you line them up like this, it’s easier to see where to start.

Renegotiate your payments

Most lenders want to help you repay the money. It’s in their interests to get that money back, so they’ll help you renegotiate a better repayment schedule. We’re all scared about calling our credit card companies, but it’s better that you’re honest about your ability to pay. In many cases, they’ll help you work out a better arrangement. All you need is a little breathing room to start paying off those most important debts. 

Speak to the experts

Of course, we can offer you all the help and advice in the world. But, the best approach is to seek advice from the experts. That’s particularly true when it comes to complex tax debts. In this case, speak to a tax attorney, a CPA, or an enrolled agent. These professionals understand the IRS tax debt system, and can help you negotiate. 

Adopt a more frugal lifestyle

Unfortunately, there is no shortcut when it comes to breaking the cycle of debt. It all comes down to sheer hard work, and a more frugal lifestyle. Start cutting costs from your day-to-day expenses, and set a realistic budget to curb your spending habits. 

It may take time, but you’ll soon be free of the crippling cycle of debt. When you emerge from the red, make sure you stay there!

You Need to Be Sensible With Your Inheritance Money

Inheriting money can bring a mixture of emotions for people. It might well mean that you’ve experienced a death in the family. And this is always upsetting, but then on the other hand you have received some money. And this can be an exciting time. So you need to make a difficult decision now about what to do with that money.

Inheritance Money

There are many things you can do with your inheritance money, and this is the problem. Because there is so much choice, it’s very easy to make the wrong decisions. It’s essential that you are practical and sensible with your inheritance money. Here are a few ideas for things you could spend it on that would be sensible.

Travel the World

Traveling the world is something you might have always wanted to do but you never got around to it. They say that it broadens the mind and can help shape the person you’re going to become. And for that reason, it can be very beneficial to travel the world. If you can afford it, you might think about taking a year out to travel the globe. Try to go to every continent and experience some of the different countries and cultures there.

Invest in Property

Another excellent use of your inheritance money would be to invest in property. The property market is an excellent one to get into, and can be very lucrative. You need to come up with an off plan property investment formula to help you invest. Make sure you do your research, so you know a little about what you’re doing before you get started. You can do very well investing in property, and getting on the property ladder. Just make sure you are sensible with your money, so you don’t lose it all.

Help Out Friends and Family

You may have had friends or family members who have helped you out financially over the years. Well, now that you have a bit of extra cash, why not think about repaying them? Or at the very least you could help them out a little. They might be struggling a bit financially now, and you’re in a position to assist them. Make the most of it, and return the favour for them. You’ll feel good for doing it, and they will appreciate the help.

Do What You Want

Perhaps there’s dream or goal you've had but never got around to. It could be that work got in the way, and financial commitments took over. Well, now you have an inheritance you might not need to worry about that anymore. Think of this as a clean slate, and a way to do all you've ever dreamed of. You have money to support you while you follow your dreams.

These are just a few of the excellent ways you can spend your inheritance money. Whenever you get a large sum of money, it can be easy to spend it right away. Frittering it away is easy to do, and it could all end up going on nothing. And that’s why you need to be as sensible with it as you can. Luckily, this post will help you to achieve that.

15 Easy Ways To Pay Off Debt

It is very important that people understand how to properly manage their debt so that they don’t end up getting bad credit. Here are 15 steps that anyone can take to get out of debt and gain control over their finances.

1) Understand Your Debt – Before you can begin to pay down your debt you need to understand where your money is going in the first place. 

2) Categorize Your Debt – Not all debt is equal so it is a good idea to put your debt into two categories, debt that is needed and debt that is not. Necessary debts would include your mortgage and auto title loans. Unnecessary debt would be major credit cards and store credit cards. 

Pay Off Debt

3) Make A Plan – Once you have determined which debt is needed and which is not it is time to come up with a plan to pay off as much debt as you can to get better control over your finances.

4) Get A Loan – It may sound strange to advise getting a loan when you are trying to pay off debt, but if you can get cash loans that have a lower interest rate than the credit card you want to pay off then it will save you money in the long run. You can do a search for online loans percentage rates to find out how this option can work for you.

5) Consolidate Your Loans - Put all of your debt together with a lower interest rate to save money and pay down your debt faster.

6) Pay The Highest Rates First – When you are paying off your debt start with the ones that have the highest interest rates first.

7) Move Your Debt – Get a card with a lower interest rate and move your debt onto that card to save money on interest payments.

8) Don’t Just Pay The Minimum – Ever. Don’t ever just pay the minimum amount due on a credit card. Often the minimum payment only covers the interest. Always pay extra.

9) Snowball Your Payments – Once you have paid off one card or debt that doesn’t mean you now have more money to spend. Apply that money to the next debt to pay that down faster.

10) Cut Expenses – This one seems obvious but needs to be stated. If you want to reduce your debt you have to stop spending money you don’t have.

11) Use Your Savings – Most people don’t like dipping into their savings. But it is smarter to pay down your debts first. Once you have your debts paid off you can start saving money again.

12) Downsize – Get rid of extra things and payments that you don’t need. Cut the cable, lower your cell phone plan, and stop eating out. Do whatever you need to do to cut your spending and put money towards paying down your debt.

13) Ask your Creditor for Help – Sometimes if you call and ask them to lower your interest amount they will. It never hurts to ask.

14) See a professional – A financial planner can help you come up with a plan to get out of debt and stay out.

15) Stick With It – Don’t give up! Getting out of debt can be a long process but it is worth it. 

7 Golden Ways To Grow Your Money Far Quicker Than Any Savings Account

Finance is important. Don’t let anybody tell you any different. And in today’s world, the average person has to find more creative ways of making their money last longer.

Working an average job for average pay won’t provide you with the life you dream about. Finding ways to increase your bank balance through extra activities is vital if you want to unlock your financial freedom. Unfortunately, leaving your money in a poorly paid savings account won’t suffice.

Ways To Grow Your Money

Here are seven ideas that should kick your investment brain into gear. Master any of them and it could be the key to a brighter future.

Become A Trader

When thinking about investments, most people will jump straight to the idea of trading stocks and shares. And there’s good reason too. After all, if you’re good at it, you could see your finances swell at a far greater rate than any bank will offer.

Whether it’s the foreign exchange or precious metals doesn’t matter. If you can spot the trends to predict how markets will develop, this can be a truly lucrative market to get into. Just be aware that your money is at stake, so you may want to try a demo account first.

It does require a little monitoring, but that can usually be carried out via your smartphone. If you’re still unsure, you could always hire a professional broker to make the decisions on your behalf.

Premium Bonds

The only trouble with trading is that you could potentially lose a lot of money too. However, premium bonds could potentially gain you a far better return without any risk whatsoever.

In the UK, residents can purchase anywhere between £100 and £50,000 worth of bonds. Instead of gaining interest, you’re entered into a draw each month and could win a prize of anywhere up to £1million. That’s right, each month, you have the chance to become an overnight millionaire.

You can cash out your investment at any time. Just be aware that inflation prices could eventually see the true value of your investment decrease.

Start A Business On The Side

Your ordinary job is all well and good. But what’s the point of making money for someone else when you could be earning it for yourself? Only one person should be able to reap the main rewards of your hard graft, and that’s you.

Ways To Grow Your Money Far Quicker

If you feel underappreciated and underpaid, it could be time to launch your own business on the side. You’ve got the experience and knowledge of the industry. All you need is a little help with the running of a company, and you should be just fine.

Of course, you need some sense of financial stability and cannot afford to quit your job just yet. However, this could be the first step to taking control of your future. With hard work, and a little bit of luck along the way, it could soon become your main source of income.

Better still, you’ll have the satisfaction of building something from scratch.

Invest In Property

As an investor, you want to know that your money is in a safe place. Quite frankly, it’s hard to find a more reliable source of investment than the property market.

Property prices have continued to grow at a steady rate. There are times when the market will suffer a dip, but over a sustained period you are guaranteed to see a return. Whether you buy a fixer-upper to renovate or purchase with a view to renting doesn’t matter. This is an almost guaranteed route to helping your finance grow.

The one major stumbling block is that you will need a decent investment to get started. If you’ve got it, though, this method has to be worth considering.

Make Money Online

The biggest change to society in recent decades has been the emergence and continued growth, of the internet. It’s quite scary to think how far the World Wide Web has come over the past 20 years. Unsurprisingly, business is at the forefront, and the digital age presents vast opportunities.

Nowadays, you don’t even have to sell anything to make a profit. A popular website can make money even if your readers aren’t directly buying anything. There are various ways to monetize a blog or website, and these tips at income store will provide you more information.

We’ve seen dozens of entrepreneurs earn big money through online ventures in recent years. With the right plan of action, you could be next to follow in their footsteps.

Become A Small Loan Lender

You aren’t the only person in need of money. In fact, there are many others in far worse situations. And you can use them to help your money grow by becoming a small loan lender.

There are many reasons that people might need a loan, but those with bad credit history could struggle to get one. However, payday loans offer a safety net to those people. By helping to fund those companies, you could see a healthy return on your investment due to interest charges.

Making money off someone in a vulnerable position might sound a little harsh. But the truth is that your money may actually drag them out of a hole. Besides, it’s not your responsibility to take care of their financial decisions too. You’ve got enough to deal with on your own plate.

Invest In Small Businesses

Let’s face it, there’s a good chance that other commitments will get in the way of your money-making exploits. Well, if you can’t earn the extra funds yourself, get someone else to do it for you.

There are plenty of aspiring, hungry entrepreneurs that are looking to carve their name in the business world. Like anyone else, though, they require the funds to make their dreams a reality. You could be the person to back their business, in return for a percentage of the company. If they turn their venture into a success, you could both be in for a huge windfall.

The key to this type of investment is to choose the right business. After all, if there’s one thing worse than losing your own money, it’s having someone else waste it for you.

10 Tricky Ways to Prevent Identity Theft Online

Does anyone remember the plot from the 2011, Liam Neeson movie ‘The Unknown’? The movie tells the story of how a man’s identity gets stolen after a bizarre car accident in Berlin. He wakes up 4 days later to find that his wife doesn’t recognize him and he has been replaced by another man who has all the ID and photographs with his face replaced. While this plot only seems to exist in fiction (we hope your wife won’t forget you no matter what), Identity theft can certainly take you by surprise reminding you of how ‘truth can be stranger than fiction’.

Identity Theft

According to a recent research, approximately 15 million US citizens are affected by Identity theft, losing more than $50 Billion each year. This proves the fact that no matter how safe we think we are, there is always a fear of our personal information being misused by the sneaky hackers and criminals. The only way to prevent this immense threat is through smart thinking and organizing your data in a planned manner. Let us take a look at some really simple yet clever ways to protect your online personal information from identity thefts.

1. Monitor Your Credit and Bank Cards
  
While, payments through credit cards are more secure than debit cards, there are a significant number of debit card users across the globe. As debit cards are gateways to your personal funds and information, they are the most vulnerable targets for hackers. The best way to protect your bank account is by keeping a regular check on your monthly statements and maintaining a checklist of the transactions. Also monitor your monthly credit reports to know if any unknown transaction or financial activity (opening of new accounts, new loans etc.) have happened in your name.

2. Use Reputed Online Payment Methods

Sharing your credit card information with an online seller might not be a smart move on your part. There are several secure methods such as PayPal, which provides a secure way to make online payments and also offers insurance, in case of fraud. You can also use online currency such as Bitcoin to make sure you never give out sensitive information (credit/debit card details) on the internet.

3. Identity Protection Services

Identity Protection Service should actually be the first thing you should do to ensure a high level protection against identity frauds and thefts. It not only provides the best identity protection methods in a single product but also offer additional protection for your family. It protects from a wide range of identity related frauds such as tax fraud, family fraud, employment fraud, ID theft and benefits fund fraud.

4. Read about Identity Theft

The best way to know the degree of threat is by knowing more about it. Identity theft is certainly not as adventurous as the abovementioned movie’ The Unknown’ and can cause a heavy and unexpected financial loss. Reading about identity theft and ways to protect personal information will not only keep you more informed but will also make you realize that it is a real threat to your life savings. There are several online articles and sources that you can search for and know more about the various loopholes in your security.

5. Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware is a Must for Your Computer

If you access the internet through a computer or a tablet, make sure you install a good quality Anti-Spyware and Virus protection on your system. Your computers are always full of personal information such as photographs, documents containing personal data such as credit card details, bank account details etc. All this data can totally be accessed by Trojans and malicious software by an external hacker. The Anti-Virus programs also offer password protection on downloads and access to malicious websites.

6. Avoid Using Suspicious Wi-Fi Hotspots 

According to a recent experiment, it was found that people readily connect to unknown Wi-Fi sources, if it’s offered for free. The Idea of freely available internet on the go sure sounds impressive, but it also provides a large gateway for the hackers and identity thieves to access your personal data. Public use of Wi-Fi should be strictly limited as fake Wi-Fi hotspots are one of the common methods of gaining access to your personal information.

7. Credit Freeze

Putting a freeze on your credit not only prevents others to do any financial transactions in your name, but will also keep you informed of any attempts to use your credit information. Each time someone tries to access your credit information, it must first be verified with you through a personal phone call. Apart from this, you can also consider setting up a fraud or identity theft alert that would keep your information secure for a specified number of years and can also be renewed.

8. Avoid Carrying Multiple IDs

Carrying too many ID proofs might be your way of proving your identity but it can also be a big target for the identity thieves who are always looking for opportunities. The best way to avoid this is by taking only what is necessary and dealing your identity proofs like cash. Taking your driver license, social security card, passports and other valid identity proofs all at once might be a little too much. Make sure you store them in a safe and carry only what is necessary.

9. Smartphone Protection Is a Must

According to the latest statistics, the number of Smartphone users is going to cross the 2 Billion mark by the end of 2015, showing the growth in internet users. Smartphones are basically miniaturized computers that contain all sorts of information such as photos, bank account details, personal information (name, address, date of birth, contact details etc.) that can be used by attackers and data hackers. Installing anti-virus and anti-theft apps for smartphones is a great way of protecting your phones from thieves and identity frauds.

10. Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

You certainly don’t want unknown users to access your personal Wi-Fi network without your wish. These unknown users can be freeloaders who just want to download some music, or data hackers who might be looking to misuse your personal information. The best way to counter this problem is by setting up a virtual private network or VPN to gain secure access to the internet while keeping it safe from attackers.

Living in the 21st century, it would be too naïve to think that your online data is safe from threats, despite how the world promotes the use of Internet. Like mentioned above, only through smart thinking and taking some necessary steps, can you protect your online information from the sneaky hackers.

Avoiding the Five Biggest Debt Consolidation Traps

If you have counted up your debt recently and are starting to panic, you must breathe and be careful you don’t make any rushed decisions. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the fears of ‘what if?’ However when it comes down to deciding which personal loan to take out, it’s good to do so on a clear mind. 

So if you are feeling edgy, wait until tomorrow to start doing your research about which loans are available to you. This is because when people are looking to consolidate their debt, they often fall into common pitfalls that make the debt even bigger then when they started. You do not want that to happen. First of all, you want to make sure you get the best deal for your situation and needs so shopping around for good rates and features is a brilliant place to start. 

Debt Consolidation Traps

When you are weighing up various loans you need to think about the interest rates rather than considering the lengths or repayment. If you go with the shorter term loan you may struggle to pay off the larger amounts every month. Alternatively, if you stretch it out and make smaller monthly payments you will find the interest topping up nicely. This is why the determining factor should be the interest rates as this will make the biggest difference to the total amount you actually end up paying off. 

On top of this, here are some other pitfalls you must avoid to ensure you pay off your debts as quickly and as smoothly as possible: 

1) If you see an extremely low monthly rate when looking at debt consolidation loans, take a second to think about it. If you are amazed by the payment amounts you may want to think twice and look further into the application costs and any additional fees that will increase the total overall. 

2) On occasions, people consolidate every single debt they have which may include the low interest rate debts such as student loans. This is where you need to be careful you don’t end up opting with a low interest credit card which means you end up with higher rates of interest purely because you have chosen the convenience of merging all your payment into one. Even though some people think that combining debts may seem more manageable, in reality it doesn’t always work out especially if you ignore the interest rate. So always pay off the low interest debts on their own and focus on the high ones first. Once those are out the way you will feel a lot lighter and have less on your mind. 

3) Sadly, some people make the mistake of falling for online scams when searching for debt consolidation loans. Just like with anything, in the digital world there are lots of scammers poaching on those looking for a good deal. It’s important that you only go with someone you trust and know has a good reputation. Whether this means doing a thorough background search yourself or going to the Department of Banking to ensure they are a registered lender will be well worth it. 

4) Not paying off those minimum payments on each of your cards is another trap that befalls many. So don’t forget the smaller amounts. It’s good to remember it can take anywhere between one and two weeks for the money to go through.  This means you want to get the payment in on time so that you don’t end up accumulating even more charges. 

5) Another mistake people make is using their cards again after paying everything off. When you consolidate your debt it can often feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. The phone calls stop and you no longer get any letters which seems like a great relief. However, many people fall back into the routine of spending on their once seriously overdrawn credit cards. This will put you right back where you came from and next time it may not be as easy to recover from. So always think that you have a clean slate and not to spoil it by repeating old habits. This is a chance to start anew and ensure you don’t keep overspending.

Essential Expenses When Moving House

Take it from me, moving house is never pleasant. Once you’re in it’s fine, but the initial planning and preparation process is a nightmare. And one of the reasons why it’s such a nightmare is the costs that are involved. There are a lot of expenses you’ll need to cover when you’re moving house, but it can sometimes be difficult to remember all of them.

Essential Expenses When Moving House

That’s why I’ve come up with this list to help you. This is just a few of what I consider to be the most essential expenses involved in moving house. And you need to be sure you can cover all these costs before you start the move.

Conveyancing

Conveyancing, simply put, is the transferring of property from one name to another. It’s what determines the ownership of a place. So naturally, it’s a key part of the moving process. And, as such, you’re going to need to make fee payments. This is a crucial part of the moving process, so there's no way around it. It’s a necessity, not an optional extra. So make sure you have plenty of money saved to pay these costs. There will be different methods of payment. Some fees will be chargeable upfront while other conveyancers might charge on a per hour basis. You need to decide which option best suits you.

Mortgage Repayments

Of course, you need to think about mortgage repayments. Once you’ve purchased your home, that’s not the end of the story. You’ll have a mortgage now, and you’re going to have to worry about mortgage repayments. This is similar to rent in that you’ll have to stump up for it each month. You need to figure out what your mortgage repayment rates are going to be before you buy a place. That way you’ll know if you’re able to afford it, and cover the repayment plan without problems.

Legalities

You mustn’t forget that you’re going to have to cover legal fees as well. When I’m planning to move, I always make sure the first thing I do is hire a lawyer. You can find plenty by checking out Legal Services Link and choosing the right attorney. I can’t stress how important it is that you have legal guidance when you’re dealing with a move. Legal fees are essential when you are thinking of moving, so make sure you find out what they are.

Deposit

Don’t forget about your deposit! I’m surprised by how many people overlook this when they’re planning to budget for a home. One of the first expenses you’ll need to cover will be the cost of the deposit. And you need to try to make sure you can pay for a good sized deposit. This is going to determine the type of place you can get, and what your mortgage is going to be. So be sure to make this one of your priorities!

Moving house is a huge commitment, both physically and financially. I have moved enough times to know how stressful and chaotic it can be. And that’s why you need to make sure you know the costs involved, and that you prepare for them. Take a look at the essentials I listed, and make sure you plan for these expenses.