How to Deal with Unexpected Expenses

Unexpected expenses often crop up at the most inconvenient of times. Just when you think you have your finances under control and finally seem to be getting back on track, you are suddenly hit with one of life’s obstacles. Your car won’t start, you lose your job, your boiler system breaks down, or the washing machine gives up the ghost. However, there are a few ways that can help you to cope when something like that crops up.

Unexpected Expenses

Have an Emergency Fund

The first thing you need to do is expect the unexpected. We don’t all have the luxury of sailing through life without any mishaps, so it pays to be prepared. Anticipate the fact that you will encounter a couple of times a year when your monthly income will not cover all your outgoings.  Many people know that they should have an emergency fund but never get around to setting one up. Set up a standing order from your main account to a savings account and aim to put away around £50-£100 a month. If you set the date for the money to leave your account on the same day as payday, you probably won't even notice that it is missing. And if you save the maximum £100, that’s £1200 saved in a year, which is more than enough to cover the cost of car repairs or a new kitchen appliance.

Ask Friends and Family

Before you go out spending money that you don’t have, consider whether any of your friends or family may be able to help out. Apart from the fact that you will need to release some of the feelings of stress and panic that you are experiencing, remember that a problem shared really is a problem halved sometimes. For example, if your oven has decided it no longer wants to go on, telling a friend may reveal that they know someone who is selling a replacement on the cheap. Or they could offer to help with meals until you are able to replace the oven yourself.

The same applies to a broken-down washing machine – ask if you can do your laundry at a friend or family member’s house – chances are that they will find themselves in a similar situation at some point in the future and you can then repay the favor. It wouldn't be wise to ask to borrow money from friends or family unless you are 100% certain that it won’t put a strain on your relationship.

Shop Around

When you use your car to commute to work every day, it can be easy to get caught up in the panic when it breaks down and to go with the first repair service you find. However, it is important to keep a level head when things go wrong. It only takes a few minutes to do a few checks online to see which repair services are local to you and then to get a few quotes together. The same applies if your washing machine breaks down and you have the washing of a family of five to get through. If you come across a particular model that suits your needs, do a quick Google search on the ‘shopping’ tab to see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere.

Also, check for any voucher codes that you may be able to apply at the checkout. Taking the time to shop around can be the difference between blowing your whole budget and only using a fraction of your savings to cover the cost.

Consider a Loan

If you have not had the funds or the time to grow an emergency fund, it may be time to consider taking out a loan. There are many lenders out there advertising great rates which will enable you to borrow anything from as little as £1,000 with the ability to pay it back over 24 months. Even if you know you have a bad credit history, there are still lenders such as Everyday Loans who are willing to look at other criteria in the hope that they can help you out. Getting a quote also won’t affect your credit score further as they use different search technology than the high street banks. The added bonus of taking out a loan is that if you are able to make the repayments on time, you will slowly be repairing your bad credit score anyway!

Unfortunately, unexpected expenses are a fact of life. We all have to go through them at some point in our lives and some years will be better than others. But by taking a few steps to prepare for them, you can avoid a potential financial disaster. It is better to be safe than sorry, as they say, so be prepared and you’ll sail through.

Rideshare Accidents: Should You Hire an Attorney?

Boom! It happens in an instant. You're riding in a car when suddenly you're involved in an accident. Your car slams into the back of another, you're t-boned as you enter a busy intersection. Whatever happened, there's a good chance that your life is about to change. 

Most people already know how to deal with the aftermath of a car accident. Gather the other driver's information, take lots of pictures, and call the police. The situation becomes slightly muddled, however, when Uber or Lyft are involved.

Car accident

Many people mistakenly rely solely on their rideshare company to handle the fallout. If you're injured, there's a good chance that you would benefit from hiring a personal injury attorney.

"Often times, Uber and Lyft accident victims are unaware that Uber accident attorneys who specialize in these type of accidents are highly skilled in negotiating a much higher settlement," notes Los Angeles firm West Coast Trial Lawyers.

In addition to gargantuan medical costs, a serious injury can drain your finances in other ways. You may be unable to work for an extended period of time or you might have to cover part of the repair cost for your vehicle. The Lyft insurance plan for drivers has $2,500 deductible. Uber's is $1,000

You're probably wondering if calling an attorney is worth it. Here's how you can tell. 

1. Question Yourself

Do you need a lawyer? Well that depends. Do you believe that you can negotiate a proper settlement for yourself? Your attorney is going to expect a large portion of any money that you receive. If you think that you can get more money by facing the insurance company on your own, that's what you should do.

However, you should be aware that typically claimants who were represented by a professional attorney receive much larger settlements than those who aren't. 

2. Figure Out Who's at Fault 

Sometimes the guilty party will refuse to admit fault in the accident. This could swell into a big problem if you're an Uber or Lyft driver. Rideshare insurance only kicks in if you're responsible for the collision. If you're innocent, yet the other driver refuses to acknowledge his error, you could be placed in a tough situation. An attorney can help you get out of the mess without going broke. 

If you caused the accident you probably don't need to hire a lawyer but you do need to speak your rideshare's insurance company. 

If you’re the passenger and you're injured, you need to know who to go after. Having a professional by your side is a huge advantage. An experienced Uber or Lyft accident attorney can save you a lot of hassle. 

3. Determine the Damages

It doesn't matter if you're the driver, rider, or an unlucky pedestrian. You can seek damages to help you pay for:
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages 
  • Emotional disturbances 
  • Permanent injuries 
  • Property damage 
If you don't have any damages, don't call a lawyer. If you do decide to seek compensation, however, a lawyer can help you get the amount you deserve. 

4. Determine Long-Term Effects

Are you a caregiver who can no longer look after your patient because of the car accident? Were you previously ill or disabled and the accident exacerbated your problems?

If your injury isn't clear-cut, you definitely need to hire an attorney. Certain injuries can affect your life in ways that aren't immediately obvious. What if the person you were caring for was your mom and she passed away because you couldn't be there for her?

It's very difficult for a claimant to argue emotional trauma without the help of a very skilled attorney. 

The Right Attorney is a Huge Benefit

Being involved in a car accident is an awful experience. It's extremely stressful and often painful. There are things that you can do, however, to mitigate the damage. 

Hiring an attorney isn't necessary in all situations. If the accident was minor and there's not a lot of damage, there's no point in trying to get representation. You're not going to be awarded a settlement if there weren't any damages. 

However, if the accident was serious enough to cause real injuries, you have reason to call an attorney. In fact, it would be irresponsible not to. Unless you have a strong background in the law and a deep understanding of how insurance companies operate, you're probably not going to be able to negotiate a proper sized settlement. 

Your lawyer will work hard to ensure that you get every penny that you deserve. You can trust their work because they have a strong incentive- they'll get at least a third of your settlement money. 

Rideshares are still so new that a lot of people don't know that there are law firms and lawyers specializing in these accidents.

An Introduction to Mining for Cryptocurrency

Mining for cryptocurrency involves verifying and adding transactions to a public ledger referred to as blockchain. If you have access to the internet along with the right kind of hardware, you can start mining cryptocurrency. The process basically involves trying to solve a puzzle that is computationally difficult while also compiling recent transactions into blocks. If you succeed, you’re rewarded with newly released cryptocurrency as well as possible transaction fees.

The Evolution of Cryptocurrency Mining

When cryptocurrencies first came into being, mining them was possible using conventional central processing units (CPUs) of regular desktop computers. Graphic processing units (GPUs), or graphic cards, were more effective at mining, which is why their use gained more popularity. Next in line was the introduction of hardware referred to as Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), created especially for mining cryptocurrency. ASICs have been around since 2013, and their efficiency has improved considerably since then.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency Mining Work in Today’s World

If you end up using a conventional CPU or GPU or even an old older ASIC, the cost of energy consumption will be more than the revenue you generate. The upfront investment, ongoing maintenance costs, and the mathematical prowess that is required to mine cryptocurrency do not make the process profitable if you stick you using consumer-level hardware. If you look at bitcoin in particular, its mining is mainly limited to large scale operations now.

Gav Smythe, founder of iCompareFX, opines that, “A beginner who is looking at mining cryptocurrency stands a better chance with Scrypt-based cryptocurrencies such as litecoins, feathercoins, and dogecoins.” While mining for litecoins is more profitable than mining for the other two as of now, they are gaining in popularity. However, when more people join the rush for mining these cryptocurrencies, you might need more expensive hardware to carry on as before.

Mining for cryptocurrency essentially involves working as a bookkeeper for a cryptocurrency network, where your computing device is verifying transactions round-the-clock. You get a reward by receiving fractions of cryptocurrency regularly and your aim should be to keep electricity and hardware related costs to a minimum.

Mining Independently

If you plan to mine for cryptocurrency independently, you need to account for the following:
  • Internet connectivity. To mine cryptocurrency, you need a dependable and high-speed internet connection. You should be looking at a speed of at least 2 Mbps and minimum downtime.
  • Private database. Your private database can come in the form of a free password-protected cryptocurrency coin wallet. You will use this not only to store your earnings, but also to serve as a ledger for all network-based transactions.
  • Electricity and hardware. If you live in a region where electricity is expensive, you may want to reconsider your plan of mining from home. This is because the process involves a considerable consumption of electricity.  When purchasing mining hardware, keep in mind that you may have to keep upgrading, which can turn out to be an expensive affair.
  • Mining software. If you plan to mine bitcoins, ASIC miners are your only viable options. Some of the ones you may turn to include CGminer, BFGminer, BitMinter, and BTCMiner.
  • Energy production and cooling. If you plan start mining on a large scale, consider having your own energy producing unit in the form of a photovoltaic power plant. Given the non-stop computation, hardware temperature needs to be regulated, and a cooling system should ensure that there are no instances of overheating.
Using a Mining Pool

If you want to increase the efficiency of your system to mine cryptocurrency, you may consider becoming part of a mining pool. A mining pool is essentially a community of cryptocurrency miners who come together to increase their computing power and generate more income. Among the top bitcoin mining pools include AntPool, BTC.com, BTC.TOP, ViaBTC, and Slush.

The fees you need to pay to be part of a mining pool may vary depending on factors such as its payment distribution system and who assumes greater risk (the pool operator or the miners). While the standard fees for being part of a mining pool is 1%, it may vary from 0% to 4%.

You need to determine which cryptocurrency you wish to mine before you look for a mining pool, and you can use online tools to determine which ones are the most profitable to mine at any given point in time. Some pools give you the ability to mine two cryptocurrencies at the same time. You may also consider being part of a multi-pool that lets you choose from multiple cryptocurrencies and converts your earnings into bitcoins automatically.

Your location plays a role in how well your endeavor goes, because servers located close to where you live tend to make mining for cryptocurrency more efficient. Mining pools also come with Variable Difficulty, or Vardiff, and this feature that regulates the difficulty levels of problem solving.

Using a Data Center

Mining of cryptocurrency is migrating to data centers or colocation hosting environments, mainly because of high power and continuous cooling requirements. Now, you can find data centers that make use of liquid cooling techniques for their high density hardware. ASICMiner serves as a classic example in case – it uses Novec, a new immersion cooling liquid created by 3M especially for data center cooling. Hardware racks are immersed in tanks of Novec, and the liquid cools the heating hardware while turning from liquid to gas.

If you’re looking at mining cryptocurrency using a data center, the following aspects require your attention:
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Adequate cooling
  • Reliable internet connectivity
  • Secure location
  • Remote assistance
  • Acceptance of cryptocurrency payments
  • Space for expansion
Before turning to a data center to meet your cryptocurrency mining requirements, you should determine your collocation, power, cooling, and security requirements. Take time to compare the cost of electrical power in different states and through different service providers. Since this field is opening up to competition, try to negotiate favorable contracts by approaching more than one service provider.

Conclusion

Mining for cryptocurrency is no longer as simple as it was until a decade or so ago. If you plan to go at it on your own, you will need a considerable investment to get high computing power along with suitable cooling. The impact of cryptocurrency mining on data centers is now plain to see, with several coming up solely for this purpose.

About the writer: Jon works as a researcher for iCompareFX, a website that gives its visitors easy means to compare the top overseas money transfer companies from different parts of the world. When any information is hard to come by, he goes the mystery shopper way.

Outrageous Forex Scams Ever

Apparently, because there is a lot of money and growing involvement of people in forex trading, the internet has been overwhelmed by fraudulent forex brokers who set up websites deliberately to defraud careless and inexperienced investors. This proliferation of forex sites is the major cause of scams in the forex market.

 Forex Scams

How to identify forex scams:

1. Some brokers manipulate spreads

There is no central regulating body in the forex industry. The spot market which is without any regulation at all is unfortunately where the majority of the trades occur. Some forex brokers therefore often manipulate and cheat their clients.

types of brokers

To avoid falling into this trap, make sure you check the brokerage on a website that blacklists fraudulent forex brokers. You should do this before ever choosing a forex broker. Or, you should simply trade only with a broker that also deals in other trades in the stock market since he will be subject to SEC and FINRA regulation. 

2. Signal Sellers

Another common fraud in the forex market is the signal seller. These are firms that claim they can identify seasons when it is most profitable to buy or sell a currency pair and make plenty of money. They charge their unsuspecting clients a regular fee. They often brandish claims such as expert trading skills, experience and supposed testimonials from people attesting to how well the scammers do trade and how much they have earned by employing their firms’ services.

signal sellers

The inexperienced will usually simply pay some amount of money to the scammers hoping that they will give him recommendations on when it is favorable for him to buy or sell currency. Since several traders are giving their money to the fraudsters at the same time, some scammers simply gather these funds and vanish into thin air. Others will play along for a while, even recommending a good trade at some point.

3. Manipulation of Point-Spread

This is an old forex scam that was carried out by manipulating bid/ask spreads on a computer. Currency pairs, each has a different spread from the other. You are to suspect a scam when those point spreads differ widely among brokers. Instead of offering the normal two- to three-point spread in a currency pair, forex brokers offer spreads of seven pips or more. (A pip is the smallest price change that a given exchange rate makes based on market convention.) By the time you factor four or more pips on every $1 million trade made, you will realize that commissions will eat up any potential gains resulting from a good investment, thereby leaving the investor defrauded.

4. Ponzi or pyramid schemes

This form of scam is quite common. The fraudsters promise mouth-watering profits for small advance investments. Those who invest at the beginning usually get the promised return on their money and are inspired by their success to invest even larger sums of money as well as invite their friends and family to join the scheme. What really happens in this kind of scam is that the investors are simply paid the supposed interest from monies taken from other members of the scheme. At a point in the scheme when the fraudsters have gathered quite some money, they simply close shop and disappear.

5. Fake Forex Investment Management Funds

There has been an increase in the number of forex management funds in the past few years. The majority, if not all of these funds are frauds. They lure the investor to let his forex trades be managed by supposed highly skilled forex traders who will deliver remarkable profits in return for a percentage of the profits.

forex broker

The challenge with this system is that it makes the investor hand over control of his money to a total stranger whom he believes is well experienced and will produce a high return on investment. Usually, the scammer disappears with the money leaving the investor to bite his fingers.

Here Are The 6 Frugal Strategies For A Saving Summer

For many Americans, summer vacation often comes with a price tag that wrecks their savings plans. Maybe you can relate? 

Perhaps you have recently filed for bankruptcy to free yourself from a tough financial situation (for practical info, see https://www.getfreeofbills.com). Or you’re paying off student loans, a mortgage, or last year's summer vacation extravaganza.

Summer vacation

You may feel torn between your desire to have fun, yet also keep summer spending in check. Good news for you: Your summer doesn’t need expensive experiences for you to have a ball. It simply takes replacing certain activities that aren’t worth the price tag with others that are. 

Here are the activities to skip, plus the ones that will give you the most enjoyment for your money. 

1. Skip dining out. Recreate a gourmet experience at home.

You consider yourself a foodie and you love to eat out at every opportunity. You are not alone. According to government stats, the average household in the US spent $2787 on eating out in a year. This figure wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for other stats that tell us most Americans have less than $1000 in savings. 

Your savings should never be at the mercy of your dining-out bill. But just because you skip dining out doesn't mean you have to forgo your love of food. Use this summer to finally learn how to prepare lobster, or the perfect steak, or homemade ice-cream! 

2. Forget the water park. Hit the beach waves. 

Paying for an amusement park might be something your younger self did in order to have fun. But now that you are older (and wiser), you know that you bring the fun with you. 

Avoid the overcrowded water park that has all sorts of germs lurking in its waters. And choose a glorious day at the beach instead. Beaches come with the calming and soothing sound of waves and the fresh sea air, which is the heart and soul of summer days. 

3. Skip the trip. Explore the stay-cation concept.

According to a survey hosted by Magnify Money, 1 in 5 vacationers will go into credit card debt to pay for their summer trips. Interestingly, 31 percent of those surveyed said they felt pressured to go on vacation, even though they would rather not. 

Don't let the fear of missing out or the desire to look good on Instagram lead to spending on a trip you can't afford. Instead, tell those who ask that you indulged in a stay-cation

4. Avoid the mall. Embrace the outdoors and get fit.

Do you only go to the mall for the air conditioning, but then wind up spending due to summer sales that you can't avoid and enticing ice-cream flavors yet to be tasted? Going to the mall is bad for both your wallet and your waistline. 

Serious about ending this summer with money in your bank account and fewer pounds around your middle than when it began? Skip the mall entirely this summer. Instead, focus on your personal fitness goals

Go biking, jogging, or walking. Learn a martial art. Hike a trail. Focus on burning calories and your lack of weight gain over the summer will be the envy of all your friends when you return to work. 

5. Skip the summer blockbusters. Catch up on your reading.

A movie ticket is never just a movie ticket. It's also popcorn and a hot dog and then a game or two at the game center. Plus whatever deals you see while you are out and about. 

An alternative activity that could be way more satisfying? Tackling that tall stack of books you have been promising yourself you would get to at some point. That "some point" is today. 

6. Ban summer sales shopping. Declutter your house.

Retailers know that people in vacation mode tend to spend more than at other times of the year. This spells trouble for individuals serious about keeping purchases to a minimum

Tips for combating summer sale temptations? Do an intense declutter of your house or apartment. Getting rid of all the stuff that you don't need will curb your desire for buying more stuff that you will likely end up throwing away. 

See something on sale that you have been needing for a long time? Commit to first getting rid of a certain number of unused items before making that purchase. Simply creating space between when you see the item and when you buy it can help the initial urge to buy to fade.

5 Tips for Students Who Want to Invest

Investing in stocks can be a great way of making some money and understanding how the financial industry works. Getting involved in investing from a young age is important if you’d like to have a career in this sort of industry or if you’d like to start making money right away. This is why many college students are investing in stocks and bonds while they try to make a name for themselves. In this article, we are going to give you some tips to help you learn how to invest.

investment

Setting Yourself Up

To start off with your investing, you’ll need to have the right sort of checking account that you will get the initial money from. If you don’t already have a bank account, take a look at some of the checking account for students that banks across the USA offer, for example BB&T who enable you to open an account online. After you have done this, you should consider how much money you are willing to invest. It is important that you only invest as much as you can afford as with investing, there are always risks.

Choose the Right Firm

Before you jump right in with your investing, you’ll want to choose the right brokerage firm for you. There are plenty of firms that you can access to create your first brokerage account. Some firms will follow the traditional format and others will simply be based online. You should choose the right type of firm for you as these two types of firms will offer different services to their clients.

Do Your Research 

When you are investing in stocks, you need to make sure that you do as much research as possible. You can learn a lot from books and online articles which will tell you all about how stocks work, and the risks involved. Don’t be afraid to spend some time looking at these before getting involved to ensure that you know exactly what you are getting into.

Get Rid of Debts First

Our next tip involves getting rid of any high-interest debts that you might have as a student. If you want to keep your financial position intact, you’ll need to pay off any sorts of these debts beforehand. Ignoring this could have some negative consequences for you so make sure to take note.

Vary Your Investments

Our final tip for students who want to invest is to make sure that you invest in different companies. You should try to avoid investing all of your money into one company as this can cause serious consequences. If you can, invest your money in different industries and companies that are likely to see a return on your investment. Don’t be afraid to play around see how you can diversify your portfolio.

Final Thoughts

If you are planning on starting off your investment career as a student, make sure that you do all of the necessary research to ensure that you get the most for your money.

How to Improve Your Business' Financial Management

Getting your head around the finances of your business is in many ways even more important than doing so in your personal life. While you still want to make sure that money doesn't slip through your fingers too easily regardless of whether that’s in your business or personal life, for most people, their business feeds them. It pays their salary and hopefully builds their net worth faster too. So, fix your business’ financial management first and your own spending right after that.

Financial Management

Here are a few suggestions on how to improve your business’ financial management going forward. 

Use Financial Software

When you’re managing the accounting yourself or you have someone to do that in-house, then use financial software to get a better handle on the financial side of the business. The choice of software is something people obsess over, but it’s more important to use the financial software fully than it is about selecting the absolute best software for the task.

Look at the reviews for the best financial software to determine which one is going to be a good fit for your business at its current size. Consider whether a bookkeeper or accountant uses a certain software to prepare their financial reports and whether it will make your life easier to adopt the same financial package in-house too.

Keep Your Numbers Current

Once you have the software, you should keep the numbers updated. This way, you can generate regular weekly reports (or more often) to keep an eye on cashflow numbers and overall profitability. When sales drop, and the profits turn into losses, you should not get surprised by that. 

If you find it useful, you can hire a bookkeeper or outsource the task to a freelancer who does bookkeeping. They can create reliable records for you to pass on to your accountant. This can both save you time to focus on other things and avoid you getting behind with entering receipts into the expense log.  

Be Frugal in Your Business with Some Exceptions

While keeping an eye on the sales figures matters, holding spending down helps to turn a profit too. When business expenses face rising costs every month, then it makes it harder to be fiscally responsible in the business. Use competitive bidding and seek discounts or the best online price for goods that can be bought cheaper.

When your business is frugal, you have the money available to afford business loans from Become to seek expansion where there’s the opportunity to do so. Frugality pays dividends because with lower expenses the business has free cashflow sufficient to convince a lender that they’re a safer bet to lend money to. A cash-strapped business that spends every penny they receive in sales cannot say the same despite perhaps needing the loan more!

Find Free or Inexpensive Alternatives

Find free or inexpensive alternatives rather than opting for the latest online subscription from a software-as-a-service provider. For instance, Trello is a popular KANBAN board organizer app that teams use to manage shared tasks better. It becomes progressively more expensive the more employees join and the more boards are used. However, it’s possible to install a free open-source KANBAN board that runs on an internet web server with no associated costs at all. 

Improving the finances of your business requires greater fiscal discipline than perhaps was exercised before. But never mind. By being mindful about expenses and economizing where necessary, along with improved financial reporting and monitoring, you will be on the right financial track once again. 

5 Compelling Benefits of Hiring a Debt Collection Agency

To keep your business healthy and thriving, you must make sure you are duly paid for the products and services that you provide. This means keeping track of your customer credit accounts and promptly collecting on unpaid invoices. But with all the important things you must juggle daily as a business owner, this particular task can easily slip between the cracks. 

Debt Collection

Luckily, you can solve this dilemma with one simple solution--hiring a professional debt collection agency. These firms specialise in recovering the money you are owed while still maintaining your reputation and good customer relationships. 

Here are some of the other great benefits you can enjoy by outsourcing your debt recovery needs:

1.Gives you more time

The most immediate advantage of hiring a debt collection agency is that you free up a huge chunk of your schedule. You won’t have to spend time making frequent calls or sending letters to clients in order to chase after overdue accounts. Debt recovery specialists will take care of all this for you, so you will have time to focus on other urgent tasks for your business.

2.Reduce your costs

Initially, outsourcing this particular business process might seem like an additional cost. But this move can actually help you reduce expenses in the long run. Since you will be employing debt collection experts, you will no longer have to spend money on hiring and training in-house staff for this task. Plus, your existing sales and accounting staff can focus on doing what they do best—helping you increase revenue and keep daily operations running smoothly.

3.Expert flexibility

Professional debt collection agencies understand that businesses have varying needs. This is why they offer a wide range of debt recovery strategies, each designed to meet the unique preferences of each company they work with. 

For instance, some debt collection firms pursue overdue accounts for a set fee, while others only charge a commission on the amount they successfully recover. This flexibility ensures that you will be able to find a collection program that perfectly fits your business model. 

4.Detailed documentation

Debt collection firms are known for keeping detailed records of all communications they have with debtors. So, you can be assured that whenever collection agents contact your clients, there will be a record of it that you can review and add to your own files. 

In addition, any attempt made to contact debtor will be documented, which will come in handy when and if you decide to take legal action against the debtor. This documentation will verify that you did everything you can to recover the debt.  

5.Faster and more effective debt recovery

People tend to pay more attention to communications from a professional debt collection agency and as a result, they pay their invoices faster. Collection firms also typically offer additional services that can successfully streamline your billing process. For instance, they can work with you to update your payment terms and invoice format so clients would be encouraged to pay you on time.  

The road to financial success in business can be long and winding, so it helps to have other experts by your side helping you navigate it. This is precisely what a debt collection agency aims to do. With their assistance, you can secure your cash flow and achieve your goals with no worries. 

It’s Never Too Soon to Teach Your Children How to Manage Money

Being a parent is oftentimes challenging and can be overwhelming, especially if you are a new parent. The last topic on your mind while trying to juggle all your responsibilities is probably money management. However, learning how to manage money is a very important life skill that you can introduce to your children in bite-sized little lessons and by teaching by example. Try using routine activities like food shopping, paying bills, and buying a new car as teaching moments. For example:
  • When food shopping show your children how you use coupons and price shop to save money
  • If some of  your bills like your utility bill is high, you can discuss with your children how important it is to turn off the lights or use the ceiling fan instead of the air conditioning to reduce the bill
  • If your old car is not running and you have already spent a lot of money on repairs, you can discuss your options either with your children or in front of them so they can hear the conversation. Rather than spend more money on repairs, you can get cash for junk cars in NJ
Give Your Children an Allowance

It is easier to learn something when you have skin in the game. For smaller children, giving them an allowance will give them practical experience on how to manage their money. It is not a good idea to just give them money for nothing because that is not teaching them the value of money. Instead, tie their allowance to chores they are required to do. Make sure the chores are age-specific and if they don't complete their chores, they don't get paid. When your children reach the teenage years, open a bank account with them and teach them how to manage it.

Manage Money

Discuss Mistakes You Have Made

As parents, we might not like to admit that we have made mistakes, including financial errors in judgment. However, it is important in general for children to understand that no one is perfect, including their parents. In addition, your mistake can be a teaching moment for your child so that they won't make the same mistake you did.

Meet Them Half Way

If your child really wants to buy something, teach them how to save their money. For young children, they might want to save for a new toy. Teenagers might want to save for a much larger purchase like a car. In either case, teach them how to put away a little bit of money each week. Your goal is for them to successfully save enough money for something they really want. A good option that many parents of teenagers do is to discuss with them how you will match the amount of money they save so they can get what they want faster. This is especially helpful when the cost is very high and it would take a very long time for them to save enough money to buy what they want. After all, you don't want them to fail. You are trying to teach them how to be successful.

Play Board Games

If you want to make learning how to manage money fun, try playing board games as a family. Some great games to play are:
  • Pop to the Shops is a board game ideal for ages 5-9. Players use fake coins to buy grocery items from different shops around the board. If they don't have enough money to buy what they want, they will have to choose a cheaper item. When other players visit their shops, they have to be able to give the shoppers the right change.
  • Monopoly is an old-time classic board game and favorite of even many adults. Not only does it teach children how to count money when they buy and sell properties, collect rent, and build houses, it also teaches them how to make good decisions. As many of us remember, Monopoly is often a really long but fun game and acts as an introduction for older children to learn about investments and long-term payoffs.  
  • The Game of Life gives children a glimpse into life as an adult such as going to college, raising a family, working, buying a home, and retiring.It also teaches children that there is a difference between what they want and what they actually need.
Teaching your children from an early age the importance of managing money will help them when they become adults. As your children get a little older and start to get an allowance, showing them how they can have control over what they spend is a valuable life lesson.

Nearly 70,000 first-time buyers save thousands with new stamp duty relief

Stamp duty has rocked the property industry after a new policy introduced in November 2017 changed rates dramatically for first-time buyers. In a recent report, HMRC has disclosed that a total of 69,000 buyers purchasing their first ever property managed to save tons of cash due to the lower rates now in place.

It’s been increasingly difficult for buyers to get a foot on the property ladder amongst rising house prices in hotspot UK areas. This is especially true for young singletons and couples who have been saving for years to afford mortgages to cover extortionate property costs.

first time buyers

However, there has been a change for the better as buyers welcome the new relief. Average savings have been recorded at around £2,300 because of the changes to stamp duty regulations for first-time buyers. Make sure you qualify as a first-time buyer before getting excited about the new rates. You must have never owned a property before and the property you’re buying should be your main residence. If you want to use it as a holiday home for example, you will not be eligible for the newer rates which are 0% on some property purchase prices.

First-timers in the property market will pay no stamp duty at all on properties under £300,000. The average house price in the UK is currently £218,255, so prospects look good for most new buyers. In fact, 54,600 of the 69,000 first-time buyers bought homes under the £300,000 threshold. In comparison to this, returning property buyers only pay nothing up to £125,000, and have to start paying stamp duty tax on portions of the property price after this amount. 

In addition to this, there is now a discounted rate in place for first-time buyers who are buying properties between £300,000 and £500,000. According to HM Revenue & Customs in relation to first-time buyers, ‘Where the purchase price is over £300,000 but does not exceed £500,000 they will pay 5% on the amount above £300,000’. 

14,400 people who bought their first houses priced between these amounts benefited from the massive savings. With the old rates, they would have been paying much more. To put it in perspective, a house costing £400,00 for a first-time buyer would be subject to £10,000 in stamp duty tax using the old rates. Whereas, it is now only eligible for half of the amount with the new and reduced 5% rate in action. 

After £500,000, first-time buyers can’t claim any relief on the tax. They must pay the standard rates of stamp duty which are currently 5% on property up to £925,000 and 10% on properties up to £1.5 million. For big spenders purchasing their first residence for over this amount, 12% stamp duty will be required for payment.

In total, a huge £159 million has been saved with higher property priced areas of the UK seeing the biggest relief on stamp duty. You can use a sophisticated stamp duty calculator available at RWinvest to work out just exactly how much of the tax you’ll pay in line with the recent changes.

It’s important to consider that there could be even more changes in the future, so check the latest rates before buying your first home. 

5 Cheapest Luxury Cars to Insure

When buying a luxury car, it’s not only the cost of buying the car you need to consider but also the cost of the insurance to enable you to drive it legally. While you might want optimum luxury, you still need to be able to keep the car on the road, otherwise what’s the point? 

car insurance

Sometimes it’s not just a case of looking for a cheaper car to get cheaper insurance, particularly with luxury cars. It can be worth looking at luxury cars from non-traditional premium brands such as BMW. They still come with all the features you’d expect but the insurance premiums can be cheaper, meaning you can afford to splash out on more luxury extras to add to the car.

Here is our list of the five cheapest luxury cars to insure, on the market today, to help you out:

1.The Audi A4 2017

This luxury sedan model follows on from its 2016 version which was also a cheap to insure luxury car so Audi have managed to top our list for this reason. But just because it’s cheaper to insure doesn’t mean buyers will be disappointed.

The Audi A4 has been ramped up with even more premium features including: leather seats, a power-operated sunroof, new climate control and a number of other luxury options thrown in.

This model also comes with Wi-Fi connectivity for mobile devices, audio from premium brand Bang & Olufsen, as well as the new style virtual cockpit which offers a 12.3 inch digital display screen.

2.The BMW 3 Series 2016

With the BMW 3 Series from 2016, the insurance can vary from model to model so make sure you check into the premium costs before you commit to buying one. However, the 320i and 328i are still two of the cheapest luxury cars to insure.

Of the two, the 320i can actually cost a lot less to insure than the 328i yet still comes with an array of high end features, not to mention its impressive premium performance levels on the road.

The 320i may not have leather seats but it will appeal to car enthusiasts thanks to the low insurance premiums coupled with the 2 litre turbo engine and the BMW built-in Driving Dynamics Control system, making it a cool car to drive.

3.The Toyota Avalon 2016

If the brand name doesn’t have to be premium, just the car itself, this can be a great strategy for reducing insurance costs. Some of the larger sedan ranges from more mainstream manufacturers, like this one from Toyota, can fit the bill perfectly.

It gives you a bigger, luxurious car for less money than a small car with a fancier brand would cost you. The Toyota Avalon is a sedan in the mid-range size wise, with a very sophisticated presence.

The interior includes stitched leather seats, with heating and ventilation included in the trims. Driving it is a comfortable experience beyond measure thanks to the driving seat which is adjustable in 10 different ways and comes with leg support.

4.Lexus ES 2016

It’s hard to believe that this luxury model comes with a low insurance premium price tag but it’s true. The 2016 model was refreshed and updated by Lexus so includes some of the newest design features. 

The ES model comes with LED headlights as standard, along with the new shape of front fog lights. It also has a restyled interior, including a soft-touch sporty steering while, and a wide range of extra safety technology as well. 

This model offers all the luxury and design you’d expect from a brand like Lexus, with an emphasis on both safety and lower insurance premiums – a complete win-win for anyone who buys one. 

5.Volvo S60 2016

If safety is at the top of your agenda for your luxury car, then this Volvo model has to be on the list. It has a full 5-star rated safety score covering all the testing scenarios, making it safe and sporty. 

This model comes with numerous luxury features including a premium infotainment system built-in, mobile Wi-Fi enabled and an amazing audio sound system. The design makes it stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. 

For safety, style and luxury, this Volvo model ticks all the boxes and thanks to the non-premium nature of the manufacturing brand, it won’t cost a fortune to insure to keep it on the road. 

As you can see there are many options for buying a luxury car which won’t end up costing you a fortune in insurance premiums. Whether you are more concerned with the brand, the look of the car, or its in-built technology and safety features, there is a luxury car out there to suit all tastes, without breaking the bank with sky high insurance costs.

Funeral planning tips – Alleviating the stress and pain from the experience

Who likes to talk about death? None of us! But you can’t escape from the fact that at some point of your life, you will definitely need to cut off this mortal coil and require a funeral. Now the best part is that you can make things simpler on your family and plan your own funeral ahead of time. Does this sound creepy? Do you think if you do this, people will call you death-obsessed? Do you feel negative when you think that you are preparing for your death? 

Funeral planning tips

This is why as per a survey done in the year 2017 by the National Funeral Directors Association, only 35% of the Americans could talk to their near and dear ones about their death and funeral. You will also plan a funeral for some of your family member at some point of time. So, why not make some smart decisions for funeral planning? Here are few tips for you. 

Tip #1: Know the things that are involved in funeral planning

In order to plan a funeral, you firstly need to know what happens during a funeral. Basically, there are 3 components, preparing the corpse, conducting the funeral ceremony and tackling the interment. Now each of these can be done with a wide range of options. Would you go for cremation or embalming? Would you want an entire service done at a funeral home or a DIY one or a graveside one? Who are the invitees going to be? Would you want to get buried in the tomb or ground? These are few of the funeral planning checklists that you have to prepare beforehand. 

Tip #2: Advance planning is imperative but not ‘advance payment’

You will often find funeral homes selling off plan which promise to offer you better rates in case you purchase a package now, several years before you die. Beware of this offer because this is not something that you should do! It is always good to plan your funeral way before time but prepaying is always a bad decision. The pitfall that is associated with prepaying is that you may lose your dollars in case you cancel and change plans. What if you move to a different state within this time? 

Tip #3: Enquire about the average costs involved

If you visit the official website of FCA, you will fit the itemized lists of all the costs involved in hosting a funeral. Check it out in order to get an idea of what you might expect to pay in the locality you reside in. Try to know the cost of everything from the hearse ride to the casket to the cemetery

Tip #4: Do a comprehensive market research

As the average funeral costs somewhere between $7000 and $10,000, you should treat this as any other big purchase. Call on several funeral homes and get quotes from them. The FTC needs them to quote prices over phone or even in person. You can compare and contrast such quotes to choose the best one. 

Therefore, if you’re wondering about funeral planning so that you can alleviate the stress from your family members, you can take into account the above mentioned tips and strategies to smartly plan your funeral ahead of time.

All About Bridging Loans

When you have a short period of time in which to make a purchase then you will need to make sure that you can secure funding quickly. This often occurs when you want to buy a piece of property but need to come up with the funding immediately because you have a lot of competition or a short period of time to take action. While obtaining a traditional mortgage or participating in a property chain can involve a long wait period, if you use bridging finance you may be able to close on amounts up to £25m in just three weeks.

To obtain a bridging loan you have to have security, such as a business or commercial or residential property, and you also have to have an exit strategy for how you will repay the loan.

When to Use a Bridging Loan

Generally people use bridging loans so they can buy a piece of property. This makes it possible for homeowners to buy a new home before they have sold their old one so that they can complete the purchase in a short period of time. When they sell their first home they will be able to pay off the bridging loan.

Bridging Loans
Property developers benefit from bridging loans as well and can use this money to purchase a flat, office, or home. With the resulting funds they can then improve the property and start to let it. It’s then easy to pay off the loan or refinance it once they have let the property or if they decide to sell it.

You only have about 28 days to come up with the money you need to fund 90% of an auction property when buying it. This loan is perfect for helping you close the gap between how much money you have and how much you need so you can complete the purchase.

Bridging loans benefit companies who are in a stage of growth, because they can be used to buy new space, pay a marketing company, or even hire staff. As long as you have security for a bridging loan, you can use it in a number of ways.

What Fees to Expect

You will have to pay interest on the bridging loan beginning around 0.44% each month up to around 6%. The actual amount you have to pay will vary depending on the terms, the criteria, and the opportunity. While lenders may vary, the maximum duration for a bridging loan is generally just 12 or 18 months.

You do need to be prepared to pay other fees than just the interest, including:
  • Possible early exit fees
  • Broker fees up to 2% if you use this expert
  • £400-£1,000 in valuation and surveyor fees
  • £1,000+ in solicitor fees
  • 0%-2.5% in procurement fees
More About the Industry

The UK has about 40 bridging lenders and these comprise an industry that is worth around £4bn. Some of the main lenders include Masthaven, Precise Mortgages, and West One Loans. You can easily find thousands of bridging brokers to help you find a deal for your bridging loan.

You can borrow between £50,000 and £25m, but there are some lenders who may be able to lend you more money. The Financial Conduct Authority regulates this industry and has 33 regulated lenders as well as some who are non-regulated. Unregulated lenders do not have to run credit checks on their applicants and can only lend on properties that are for buy-to-let or lend for second charge mortgages. Regulated lenders, on the other hand, run credit checks as well as affordability checks for every borrower and can lend first charge mortgages. 

This article was provided by BridgingLoans.co.uk.

How to choose the ideal tenure for your personal loan?

Personal loans

There are many lending institutions that are offering personal loans. The market is in fact, bombarded with advertisements that lure customers with low interest rates, quick disbursals etc. Before we discuss the tenure of loans, one needs to know the difference between personal loans and other loans.

In layman’s language, there are primarily 3 types of loans that he is aware of - home loans, vehicle loans and personal loans. Personal loans, have of course, evolved into instant personal loans, as new-age lenders such as Fintechs have disrupted the market, offering instant cash loans in 1 hour in many of India’s top cities. Of these, it is understood that the personal loan has the highest interest rate and for reasons other than just buying a house or vehicle. But, there is more to personal loan than just the above mentioned facts. Personal loans are unsecured loans that are given by banks and other financial institutions to meet ones current financial needs like medical or marriage costs, home renovation, vacation or debt consolidation.

personal loan

They are also known as consumer loans or unsecured loans and are given on the basis of credit history and the ability to repay the loan from one’s personal income.

Interest rates and trends

The interest rate is decided, based on factors such as secured or unsecured personal loan. In case of secured personal loan, an asset or a collateral is provided to the lender. In the event of non –payment of loan, the bank or NBFC can seize the collateral. Since there is limited risk, the interest rate is comparatively low.

For unsecured personal loans, there is no security offered by the consumer, there is only an assurance that the consumer will repay the loan on time through his prevailing financial condition. In such cases, since the risk is high, the interest rate is higher as well.

Currently the interest rate on personal loans starts from 10.99% and goes upto 33% depending on different banks and financial institution.

How to decide on tenure?

Banks and fintech institutions have different tenure options for loans as well. The range of tenure offered being 1year to 5 years. The longer the tenure, the EMI will be less and that amounts to more money in your salary account for use each month.  However, that also equates to more interest payout on a yearly basis.

But if one opts for short tenures of say a year or two, although the monthly payout is comparatively higher , there is the option of completing the payments quickly and so less interest payout for the loan amount.

For example- for a loan amount of 1 lakh, a yearly interest of Rs 25000. So for 2 years Rs 50, 000 is paid and for three years Rs 75000 is paid as interest.

In a long term tenure the interest outgo is too high. However if you are just starting out on your career, you might not be able to afford a high EMI per month.

Before deciding on the tenure there are 3 major points that has to be considered:

1. What is the monthly budget for your income?
2. Consider your existing liability
3. Plan based on your future financial prospects.

It is not considered wise to borrow more than 50% of your monthly salary. The EMI should ideally be either 50% or less. It will be good to take stock of all the existing liability such as house rent, credit card payments before opting for a long term personal loan.

Always make use of an income hike or bonus or unexpected financial gains to pay-off your personal loan debts thereby reducing the tenure and the interest payout.