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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!