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Everything is For Sale, Including Debt

Everything is For Sale, Including Debt

As the saying goes, “Everything is for sale, you just have to come up with the right amount to make the purchase” and if you think about it you’ll realise that this is actually true. I’m not just talking about those scenarios where sentiment and desire seem to defy economic logic and trump real market value here. I’m talking about sales which go on without the majority of us even knowing about them. Debt is a very big seller in the world right now, yet it all happens within the darker corners of what’s otherwise plain view as most people choose to turn a blind eye to it going on.

Debt is being sold all day, every day and its trade never stops for single second. For as long as the world is turning, debt is being bought and sold somewhere around the world if not everywhere, you just don’t know it’s going on.

The basic forms of debt are rather straight-forward in their makeup and can take the shape of something like getting financed by the bank to buy your car, for which you’d make weekly or monthly repayments with added interest of course, so something like your mortgage or bond you have on your house which will take a much longer period of up to 20-30 years to pay off.

More sophisticated forms of trading debt are where the real money is made due to one of the most powerful tools of the financial sector; leverage. If a company offering financial services has been given the green light by the Financial Conduct Authority to operate within many different sub-sectors of the financial sector, they in effect hold the true power of leverage and gearing in their hands to generate insane amount of money, mostly through the business of trading debt.

Why do you think an insurance company is seemingly never satisfied with just doing insurance? They’d much rather offer financial services which span the entire insurance sector and given half the chance they’d expand into other financial services such as housing a resident banking branch or even brokerage for services such as offering the public a CFDs and stocks trading platform. In the case of offering a trading platform, licensed brokers are themselves traders and make use of leverage to make huge profits while charging traders a service fee for each trade or perhaps levying a spread fee instead of a fixed per-trade fee.

What’s ultimately at play here is debt because financial services companies can list the credit they hold on their books as assets, assets which can then be repackaged and sold or used as collateral to fund expansion operations or further investments.

Nothing sells like debt and when you earn interest on the money you have in a savings account (although it must be said that this is very little interest you earn) you are indirectly participating in the trading of debt. The money which you keep in the bank is being loaned out to other clients and some of the interest they pay on that loan is filtered down to you, but you’re really just getting scraps because banks have the authority to use leverage to loan out more money than what they physically have in reserve.

Whenever some investors or businesspeople who’ve been active in other spheres of business finally head on over to the financial sector, they often wonder just why they didn’t make the transition earlier. Because of the way in which our financial sector is set up and operates, often making insane amounts of profits is as easy as getting the right finance leads, which are known to be of high quality since financial services have become a very important if not critical part of our everyday lives.

So, the message for you today is that you should perhaps take the time to think about what exactly you’re spending your money on. You can either buy or sell debt and if you do it cleverly, you can enjoy some big financial rewards.

What is the Cost of Selling my House?

What is the Cost of Selling my House?

If you are thinking about selling your house to raise money to offset your debts, it is important to keep in mind the cost of selling. In addition, you also need to explore several smart ways to save money on the major financial expenses. Otherwise, you will be surprised at how much you selling your home will be an expensive business.

With the many agencies and factors involved in the process of selling a house, it is more than just naming price and finding a buyer who is ready to buy. Even then, when you take time to research and prepare adequately, you will know the costs that are involved and how to cut down the amount. Here are the main expenses related to selling your house and ways of reducing them:

  • Estate agency fees – This is a major cost when selling your house. Estate agency fees varies depending on the kind of agent that you are working with. A high street agent for example will charge you a commission of up to 3 percent of the selling price.

If for instance, your house is selling for £219,000 and your estate agent is charging you a 2 per cent fees, you might end up giving then about £4,380. Consequently, if your house is worth much more the agency fee will definitely rise.

However, you can save on this fee by opting for a fixed agency fees that you agree upon upfront before instructing them. This way, you are guaranteed of a good return from the sale. Alternatively, you could opt to use an online estate agent that will potentially save you money. It is also the simplest way of reducing the cost of moving.

  • Removal costs – Although you may be keen on negotiating the estate agency fees, you also need to keep in mind the removal costs when calculating your budgets. In addition, depending on your furniture and the distance to your new home, the price could rise from a few hundreds to several thousands of pounds.

You need to take into account whether you want the packing services or not because this is likely to bump up the price.  Thus, you will do well to reduce these costs by shopping around. You can also use comparison sites to see how much it will cost you. If you are not moving a lot of stuff and you are willing to do some legwork, then you will certainly pay less.

  • Solicitor’s fees – While the buyer will foot the charges for the stamp duty, survey as well as searches, you need the services of a licensed conveyancer or a solicitor that will act on your behalf and handle all the legal issues associated with selling your property.

Although you cannot get around this, you should expect to pay between £500 and £1,500. However, this depends on how complicated the sale process will be. You could also reduce the solicitor’s fee by using a solicitor from outside the capital, compare quotes or using price comparison sites to ensure that you get the best deal possible.

Other unexpected costs

The cost of selling your house does not stop at the estate agency fees, removal costs and solicitors fees. Therefore, the law requires you to provide an energy performance certificate (EPG) and provide information about the energy efficiency of the property.

You will do well to use assessors who are accredited to do the required survey. While your estate agency can arrange for one, you are better off organizing it on your own.

If you have large appliances that you are willing to get rid of and you cannot take to the recycling centre on your own, you need to pay a small charge to your local council so that they collect and dispose them on your behalf.

 

Turning Your Specialist Hobby or Craft into a Money-Spinner

Turning Your Specialist Hobby or Craft into a Money-Spinner

I won’t get into detail about which languages they were, but when I was younger and we were in one of the additional language classes, speaking about our hobbies had the teacher drilling it into us that a hobby is something you do purely for the love of it and in addition to doing it in your spare time, you actually go out of your way to make some time for it. What a hobby isn’t according to the teacher is something which you do for money or professionally in any way.

Well, I guess we’re going to blur those lines a little and discuss just how you can turn your specialist hobby or craft into an income generation stream. I mean we’re always taught to follow our passions and then working on those passions in anticipation of the money to follow naturally, but in reality it requires a bit of initiative to be taken on your part. You’ll perhaps be driven by your passion for whatever it is you have a special interest in, so it’ll never get old, which means that you can really carve out a nice, consistent stream of income out of your continued perusal of it.

Create a Blog or Website

It really doesn’t take all that much to get a professional website up these days, in the same way that it’s very cheap and easy to get a blog up. Get a website or blog of your own up covering what will undoubtedly be a lot of topics which form part of your hobby or special interest. Don’t think about monetising it yet because then you might run the risk of having the passion sucked out of the content you’re generating. Never succumb to the pressure of feeling like you have to cover a certain topic because that’s how passion slowly dies. Also, it’ll make for the reason why you end up making no money with your blog or website when the time comes for you to monetise it. So don’t be swayed by the latest news doing the rounds or anything of that sort.

Topics covered should be those which you’d perhaps naturally discuss with other fellow hobbyists interested in the same topic.

Sell Products and Services Related to Your Hobby or Special Interest

One of the ways through which to sell products and services related to your hobby or special interest is through your blog or website. This proves to be very effective as a way through which to sell because what you’ll essentially be doing is referring so-called “hot leads” to the online sales platforms you’ll be linking to. If you won’t be selling directly as the retailer then you can sell as an affiliate. Link to products and services that solve a specific problem, like linking to a book, instructional DVD or other form of media which discusses exactly how to solve a specific problem. For example maybe a how-to guide detailing how to use a specific piece of machinery for a specific activity.

With Low Interest Rates, Does It Make Sense To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

With Low Interest Rates, Does It Make Sense To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

For the past six to seven years, mortgage rates have averaged less than 5%. Many argued there’s no better time to pay off your mortgage than now, especially in an economy that is unpredictable.

It is an appealing proposition as you’re able to shave off significant amounts on your balance if you pay earlier than scheduled. That would after all, seem the goal of lenders: to encourage borrowers to reduce their monthly payments with lower balance payments.

For example, using your mortgage calculator, if you’re on a £150,000 repayment mortgage at a consistent rate of 3.5% spread over 40 years, but choose to pay a reduced payment period of, say 25 years, it will cost you £225,300, instead of £279,000. That means you’ll save a hefty £170 on monthly payment!

Really, no one wants to be indebted longer than necessary and watch it accumulate with interests over the years. But even if you have some free money lying around or got some financial windfall, paying off your mortgage early isn’t always a smart decision. Besides, it could leave you financially drained or left with limited liquidity.

So, if you’re considering offsetting your mortgage balances early, here are reasons why you should review the plan.

Pay off Your More Expensive Debts First

Mortgages are called ‘good debt’ for a reason. They are properly spaced out for convenience and ease of payment, very much unlike credit cards, store cards or unsecured loans with significantly higher interest rates that cost you an arm and a leg.

You should focus on offsetting your more expensive debts that costs you a lot to pay over a long time.

Invest Any Free Money into Your Pension Scheme

Rather than pay off your mortgage from any extra saving or free cash you’re fortunate to get, why not put it in a scheme that rewards you better and helps you save more in the long run? For example, the pension scheme is tax-efficient because the government contributes to your savings while also offering you tax relief.

If you don’t have a pension plan and have some money to spare, you should think of opening one or let your company set up one for you and then invest the money there. Your employer is also obligated to contribute to your pension. This way, your pension savings will double and you could guarantee a more secured future.

Check to See if There are Better Options on Savings Rates

Investing your money into a pension scheme is great idea. However, take your time to review your existing pension plan to see if it’s the smarter option or if it’s better to explore other savings options. That is if the savings offers you a better deal than what you’re paying on your mortgage. This is the time to do your math and make comparison, after factoring in tax deductions on savings.

6 Simple Solutions to Your Payment Problems

6 Simple Solutions to Your Payment Problems

If the title of this article caught your eye, you’ve probably experienced payment problems. As a business owner, you know that payments, whether coming or going, do not always take place easily. Small payment problems can give you a headache while larger ones make your life downright miserable. As you and your company continue working on payment improvement, here are six simple solutions to consider.

More Payment Options

Imagine if your business only accepted cash from customers. You are hopefully chuckling at the thought. Credit and debit cards have been a mainstay for years now but even more options are becoming common. Beyond cards and cash, customers have mobile devices with payment options like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. No-touch mobile payments and direct mobile billing are becoming popular as well. The more payment options you can offer your customers, the more convenient their experience with your company will be. That will fundamentally result in more business.

Automatic Invoicing

As your business grows, invoicing becomes increasingly difficult. A growing customer base and varying levels of services provided can make manual invoicing a nightmare. That is where automatic invoicing comes in. This not only helps your business, but also your customers. They are not left guessing how much they owe, when their payment is due or when their invoice will arrive. This results in a better customer experience and increases the likelihood that you will be paid on time.

Handling Human Error

Mistakes happen. Challenges that you are all too familiar with include missing payment deadlines, paying too much or not paying enough. Human error issues cannot be completely avoided. But, there is a way to help your business handle this problem with more efficiency and less frustration. One software that businesses are benefiting from is automated Bacs payment software. Bacs allows payments to be made and received automatically. It also notifies you of potential issues ahead of time so that you are not left with any unwanted surprises.

Automatic Messages

As you gain more customers, it becomes harder to contact them when there are payment problems. You need a secure and efficient way of reaching your customers in this case. It is important to find a recurring billing system that can notice errors in customer transactions and relay a message to the users. Your customers enjoy being brought up to speed quicker too.

Better Payment Security

The security of transactions for your customers and business is more of a concern now than it has ever been. Every day, new stories surface of security breaches when it comes to customers’ private payment information. Understandably, you do not want to experience something like that. Always make sure that there is a secure connection between your company’s web browser and that of your customers. It is also of vital importance that your process is PCI-compliant so that the credit cards of your customers are not compromised.

More Currencies and Languages

As the world continues to get smaller, transactions between different countries are becoming more common. Eventually, you may have to consider accepting different currencies and assisting your customers in a variety of languages. If you fail to adequately do this, you could lose customers. If you allow customers to pay in their own currency, they will be less apprehensive about using your services. Finding a system that can handle different languages and currencies will help your business continue to expand.

In Summary

The fact that you need more complex solutions to your company’s payment problems is a good sign. It means that you are experiencing the necessary growing pains in becoming more successful. You can have the confidence to know that, in time, you will find adequate solutions to your payment problems. Hopefully some of these solutions may help you work towards a more efficient payment system.

Finance Advice that Could Benefit You in Later Life

Finance Advice that Could Benefit You in Later Life

With the UK economy still in recovery and a volatile stock market, many people are more concerned than ever about securing their financial futures.

Whether you are just starting your career or looking to retire in a few years, there are steps you can take that may pay off down the road.

The following is essential financial advice that could benefit you in later life.

Know Where All Your Money Goes

This starts by making a detailed monthly budget and sticking to it.

There are all kinds of apps and programs available for organising your finances.

Simply making a budget and paying attention to it on a regular basis will cause most people to more carefully evaluate their spending habits.

Many people are amazed to see just how much they spend each month on non-essential items when everything is carefully tracked.

Spend Less Than You Earn

While this may seem obvious, it’s extremely difficult for many people to live by.

Living within your means will translate into avoiding most types of debt, not paying high interest rates, and being able to save consistently until retirement.

Spending less than you earn will be a lot easier after making a budget and knowing exactly how much income you’re bringing in and what expenditures must be paid each month.

Save for Retirement

Whether you’re 23 or 53, you should be considering saving for retirement.

It’s not too early to start, even if you’re in your twenties.

Start an IRA and contribute the maximum amount. Once you’re past 50 the amount you can contribute increases.

It’s important to think about taking advantage of every financial opportunity, especially taking a look at the pension options available in your workplace.

The advice is often to contribute as much as you can to these types of employee based retirement programs – but be sure to be well informed before making a commitment.

Pay off Debt

It should go without saying that it’s smart to carry as little debt as possible.

So which should be a priority, saving or paying off debt?

Mathematically it almost always makes sense to pay off debt before adding to your savings.

This is especially true of high interest debt that can’t be deducted on your taxes. On the other hand, paying a traditional mortgage loan early will only reduce the outstanding principal and the interest.

Paying extra won’t lower your overall monthly payments, which is what happens with most credit cards when you pay down the overall amount.

You should also pay off private student loans before government loans.

Diversifying Investments Can Be Safer

Not having all your eggs in one basket often means your money is safer.

It’s usually recommended to have a variety of assets that includes cash investments, stocks, and bonds. But even within these primary groups diversity can help.

For example, you could include both corporate and government bonds in your portfolio.

There could also be bonds with different maturities and ratings.

Diversifying can also mean investing in real estate or even a hobby such as collecting art.

It’s sometimes a good idea to have tangible investments that don’t rely on the volatility of the stock market.

Make an Appointment with a Financial Advisor

This is often the first step many people take when getting their finances in order.

Knowing what types of debt to carry and which investment plans are right for each individual isn’t always easy to determine.

It’s important to choose an advisor with extensive experience working with a variety of clients, but equally looking for a company that clearly cares about its customers is important.

Social media can be a great way to find financial advisors so look for companies that regularly post useful information and have a big, engaged following. A quick look on Facebook returned Fisher Investments in the UK, a finance company who has over 10,000 followers and post commentary on current economic conditions. You can also look to financial publications, like the Financial Times, who post their top-rated advisor list and timely news articles. It’s information like this that can help finding information when looking for an advisor that fits your financial needs and goals.

You can also look to financial publications, like the Financial Times, who often post top-rated advisor lists and timely news articles. It’s information like this that can help finding information when trying to find a suitable advisor.

Appropriately managing your income can allow you to remove the stresses of debt and pension concerns when you retire, so start making a plan and apply the advice that is most suitable to you, your work and your lifestyle as soon as possible.

How to Sell Broken & Unwanted Gold

How to Sell Broken & Unwanted Gold

The holidays can be expensive. From the gifts and dinner to heating bills and travel expenses, it’s easy to be short on cash around the holidays. If those expenses went on a credit card, that’s not a debt you want to hold on to for too long. High interest charges compound the problem, and it can be months before you’re out from under those holidays bills.

While of course it would be nice to spend less, or get a raise, in most cases that isn’t feasible. Rather than take a short-term loan or sell something with meaning, you might be able to sell some old, unwanted, or broken gold jewelry to help take care of those costs. Gold is still over $1100/oz heading into 2017, so its value can add up much quicker than you might think.

Here are a few tips for selling your gold for the most cash:

1) Avoid jewelry stores

Jewelry stores have huge markups on their products and don’t sell a lot of second-hand gold and jewelry. If they buy it, they’ll probably melt it down at a fraction of its value, meaning they’ll give you even less for it. Add the fact that they’re paying a lot of security, overhead, and rent, and there just isn’t much money left to pay you a decent amount for your valuables.

2) Search for trustworthy local shops

As much flak as cash for gold and pawn shops take, a trustworthy store is often your best local option in these situations. The more gold you have the close to spot price you’ll get, but you’ll still receive quite a bit under what the gold is worth (not unusual or unexpected, though). If you’re going to use a local gold buyer, the best thing to do is do your homework. Research these companies to make sure they are legitimate, have been established online for some time, and have some positive reviews.

Like jewelry stores, there are considerable overhead costs which force local shops to pay less to remain possible (although they are not as high). You can find some registered listings on Sell Your Gold Locations.

Even if you don’t end up selling to a local pawn shop or cash for gold store, it is a good idea to get a quote from them first. This will give you an idea of what gold you have and a price to compare it to. As we’ll talk about, online cash for gold stores guarantee to match or beat these prices, so it’s good to get those offers first.

3) Online Gold Buyers

Worried about selling your gold through the mail? That’s perfectly understandable. A lot of bad companies have come and gone over the past 10 years with bad business practices and reputations, resulting in a very bad name for the industry. But several names were there before the rush and have remained after the rush – companies with large online followings, hundreds of reviews and happy customers, and good overall reputations.

As it is with local buyers, make sure you do your homework here too. But if you can select a good gold buyer to mail your valuables too (make sure it’s fully insured), they typically offer the most cash for your gold. With low overhead costs and efficient mailing systems, these companies have less expenses per transaction and usually guarantee highest payouts.

Cash for Gold Mailer, a new company launched in 2015, even frequently publishes their payout rates. They offer insured shipping, price match guarantees, and operate purely online through a pack mailing system. Free packs can be requested on their site, or you can print a free label and send it to them directly.

How does selling your cash for gold online work?

All the companies that sell packs online these days (all the reputable ones at least), follow a very similar process. It’s quick and easy, and it generally works like this:

1) Request a Pack or Print a Label – Register for a pack on an online cash for gold website. Most then allow you to have a pack mailed to you, or you can just print the label. If you have it mailed, they’ll send you a prepaid envelope to pack your valuables in and mail. If you choose the “print” option, you can print that prepaid, insured label and attach it to a package that you’ve prepared yourself. Either works, but if you’re in a rush, packaging it yourself can save you a couple days.

2) Pack & Mail Your Gold – Be sure to pack your gold safely. If there’s a chance you want your gold returned, or think it might have more valuable as a piece of jewelry than just the melt value, it’s best to use padding to carefully secure your shipment. Pack it up, and then mail it for free – most businesses use FedEx (so drop it off at a FedEx location or drop point), but some still use USPS.

3) Accept or Reject Your Offer – Most of the reputable companies have moved to online systems to process packages. You’ll be able to log in to see the status of your order at all times, and when the package is processed your offer will appear online as well. Log in, and then you can accept the offer or request your items be mailed back.

4) Get Paid! – If you accepted the offer, companies send payment via check or most offer an online payment (via something like PayPal). If you rejected it, they’ll send your package back safely and securely. Due to the reputation of the industry, the best online companies are really good about taking care of transactions quickly.

This won’t take week or months to complete, and is usually turned around in less than a week. If you print your own pack and mail it the same day, a Paypal payment can often be in your inbox the next day. Nearly as fast, and usually much more convenient than local shops. Not to mention that you get paid quite a bit more.

So get caught up on those holiday bills safely, securely, and quickly by selling old jewelry or gold you no longer enjoy. It’s probably worth more than you think!