Category: Personal Finance

Knowing Your Retirement Options: Ways to Get a Little Extra Cash

retirement cashGenerally speaking, the kind of people who focus on retirement tend to be those who are fast approaching retirement age. But this doesn’t have to be the case! In fact, more people really should start thinking about their retirement sooner rather than later. You’re not going to be able to work forever, and when the day comes that you deserve to kick back and relax, breaking ties with the nine to five working world, you’re going to want to be able to live as comfortable a lifestyle as possible. This can only be made possible by having sufficient finances. Now, a retirement plan will be able to put all of this in place for you. But it’s always good to have a few ideas stored away and a few tricks up your sleeve just in case you find yourself in need of a little extra cash when retirement does come around. Here are just a few to keep tucked away in your mind.

Reverse Mortgages

By the time you’re looking at retirement, you may think that mortgages are a thing of the past. Hopefully, you will have already paid yours off. However, it’s always good to be aware that if you are looking for extra cash to make your retirement more comfortable, you can always take some equity back out of your property without having to sell up. This is where a reverse mortgage can come into play. In order to know exactly how much you can gain from a reverse mortgage, you will have to have a fair amount of personal information. This may include your property’s value, it’s age, and any repairs that it may need to be carried out. Your own age at the time of taking out the reverse mortgage would also be taken into account. However, for a more general idea of the money you could hope for, you can always use reverse mortgage calculator aarp.

Savings Accounts

We’ve all been taught since we were little that we should save a little cash for a rainy day. Well, believe it or not, there are likely to be more and more rainy days the longer you’ve been out of work. Many people find themselves becoming increasingly bored and wanting to treat themselves to something a little special to put a smile back on their faces. Savings accounts can provide these little extra boosts for occasional pick me ups. So open an account as soon as possible. Deposit money in it regularly. This can be a relatively small amount. Something that you won’t notice missing. The cash that you’d usually fritter away on bits and bobs that you really don’t need. However, these small amounts really will mount up over time, and way down the line, when you finally dip into the cash, you’ll really thank yourself for it.

These are just a couple of ways that you can make yourself a little comfier and more content in retirement when the time does roll around. While retirement may not be top of your priorities right now, it could take up a large part of your life, so keep it in the back of your mind at all times.

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Why You Should Not Invest in Mutual Funds Based on Absolute Returns

mutual fund investmentsWith every investment decision, investors only seek higher returns. Considered as a preferred choice for many, mutual funds offer high returns at a lower risk compared to direct equities. An investment in mutual fund allows investors to avail of the benefit of compounding interest and helps them generate optimum returns in the long term. Additionally, mutual fund investments may be made in the form of a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) and its returns carry tax benefits.

When it comes to determining the performance of a fund, investors are not aware of what to consider. Measuring the short-term performance of the fund may sometimes lead to wrong decisions. Many consider this short-term return as a benchmark and set wrong expectations. Therefore, it is important to assess the fund correctly in order to avoid wrong financial investment decisions.

Ways in which investment returns are calculated

If you want to check your mutual fund performance, you must first understand the different ways in which the returns are calculated.

• Point-to-point return or absolute return

This is the figure that, you arrive at by deducting the final Net Asset Value (NAV) from the initial investment amount. An absolute return does not take into consideration the period for which your money has been invested or the inflation during that period. For instance, if you invested INR 20,000 in 2015 and its current NAV is INR 30,000, then your absolute earning is INR 10,000.

• Annualized returns

Each fund shows returns that are compounded and not absolute. Mutual fund returns compound over a period and the Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) shows the year-on-year growth rate of the investment over a particular duration.

Why absolute returns do not reveal the right picture

Fund managers often ask investors to stay away from considering a point-to-point return. Let us delve deeper to find out why absolute returns should not be considered as a benchmark and may be misleading.

• Reflects an incorrect financial picture

For short-term mutual fund investments of a year or less, absolute returns may show the right results, but in case the investment is for a long-term, this does not hold true.Over a longer period, the fund may not be able to sustain the same or an increased return percentage. For example, if a fund outperforms in a three-year period, you may not be assured that it will perform the same way over a five-year duration. This also does not mean that you will not earn good returns over a longer period. The three-year return could be fueled by a positive market movement and a favorable macro environment. There could be a significantly higher return in a three-year period and an average or below-average return in the five-year duration.

• Performance depends on the type of fund

The performance of the mutual fund depends on the type of fund you are invested in. Equity funds are highly volatile and the returns on the same may vary from one period to another. It is also affected due to the market conditions. CAGR does not account intermittent volatility. The equity fund may have gone up by 40% in the first year and may dip by 25% in another, but the absolute return will not provide correct information about the fund. It might only show the upswing of 40% in a particular year and misguide investors.In fact, most top-performing mutual funds perform well in the first year and then slump in the next two years. Hence, the overall performance may be determined by considering a three-year or a five-year investment period.

In order to gain maximum return from mutual funds, fund managers insist investors remain invested in the long run in order to gain maximum mutual fund returns and to bring down the impact of the market changes to a minimum. Every investor should learn how to interpret the CAGR and understand the implications of three-year or five-year returns on the investment.

The biggest benefit of a mutual fund is the compounding of interest. CAGR is ideal for measuring performance over a longer period whereas absolute returns may only measure the performance for a year.

To invest in top-performing mutual funds, investors must use user-friendly tools like the Angel Wealth mobile application. It offers customized recommendations for your financial goals. It runs an ARQ investment engine, which has no human intervention and is powered by advanced algorithms. So download the Angel Wealth mobile app today and streamline your investments.

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Financial Steps To Take Now – For Early Retirement

retirement before ageThe age of retirement for most people has risen considerably over the last few years. In reality this means that you have less chance of enjoying your retirement whilst still fit and healthy. Although people are living longer, chronic ailments, although manageable can hamper your activity levels.

What if there is a way to ensure that you could retire early enough to still have an active lifestyle? Many people have asked themselves this same question and surprisingly there are solutions out there that could make early retirement tangible, rather than remaining a distant dream.

To retire early, with enough money behind you, you need an average of 40 years of savings. This sounds impossible, but with careful financial management started early enough in life, it is doable.

In this article we will visit financial solutions that will enable you to plan for an early retirement.

Plan

Early retirement means different ages of retirement to different individuals. It is good to pinpoint an actual age, so that you can accurately predict how much you need to have saved by this point. Do you intend to totally retire at this point or are you planning on working on a part time basis? Every bit of income helps, some people choose to make money from their hobbies such as arts and crafts. Effectively if you don’t plan on working for financial gain at all in retirement you will need to save a lot more.

Work out how much you need to save each year and how much it is possible to live on once retired.

Invest

Once you have worked out how much money you need to retire early you can start to plan how you can invest your money in order to reach your goal. Investment sounds risky, but even retirement plans involve investment. It is good to educate yourself on the many forms of investments available. If trading on the stock market is really not a viable option due to risks involved you could consider investing in real estate, Fundrise is a platform which allows investing in real estate to be accessible to the general public. Your investment can be relatively low cost and fundrise fees allow you to invest for as little as $500.

Although investing in stocks and shares has the potential to be extremely lucrative, there are risks involved. Before you embark on investing your money you should take professional advice from trading experts and independent financial advisors. In addition to investing in stocks and shares there are many financial products available to invest your funds in from providers on the high street. Always take advice.

Property

Property is a great investment for the future. Capital you have in your property can help fund your early retirement by selling your home and downsizing. If you wish to invest in property for the rental market or to renovate and sell on, ensure you carefully research the location and potential pitfalls in the property, otherwise you could be potentially investing in a money pit.

Ensure that you have paid off your mortgage at the point in which you want to retire. Most mortgage lenders will let you make over payments without penalties.

By following this guide you will be well on your way to planning for an early retirement.

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The Most Cost Effective Way to Have a Car

car financeIf you’re like most people used to driving, then the prospect of not having a car would be akin to the feeling a child has when they are sent to their bedroom and grounded – cars offer us freedom and huge convenience, yet they are also considerably expensive to run and own. Your vehicle can make up a large part of your household finances, so this article looks at the three most common ways of having a car; leasing, renting and owning – in order to work out which is the most cost effective option for you.

OWNING

This might seem like the most sensible choice, as at the end of the day, whilst buying a car outright – whether in cash, or on finance, is a significant expense, it is at least an ‘asset’ you own yourself. However, a car is a depreciating asset that loses its value each mile you drive and each day that passes by – it’s not like a house which appreciates in value. If you are to buy a brand new car, then as soon as you drive off the forecourt, the financial hit you can expect in terms of depreciation is in four figures!

Buying a second-hand car, particularly one that is just a few months old, seems to be one of the smartest moves you can make if purchasing a car… however, even then, the cost of insurance, road tax, MOT, servicing, maintenance and repairs can mount up to the point any ownership of a car will take its toll on your finances. This is where the less popular option of renting a car can pay dividends.

RENTING

It might seem a strange idea to rent a car, as an alternative to owning one, but if you don’t always use a car (e.g. you live in Central London or travel a lot for work) then hiring a car could prove to be the most financially beneficial to your situation. This way, you are only paying for the car when you actually need it (there’s nothing more annoying than paying for a 24 month lease, when you’re out the country for a few months, and the car is sitting in your driveway)… but more than anything, the insurance is included. When you consider how much insurance costs – renting a car that comes with fully comprehensive insurance can actually end up saving you money, particularly for inexperienced drivers or those without no claims bonus.

LEASING

The middle ground between owning a car and renting one is to look into long-term leasing; indeed, you may wish to visit intelligentcarleasing.com in order to consider your options and see what deals are available – as you can find some incredible offers particularly at this time of year. The great thing with leasing is that you aren’t always responsible for maintaining the car in terms of servicing, and if something goes wrong with the car, you can simply go back to the leasing company and they’ll replace the vehicle. Leasing offers a hassle-free option but the downside is you never end up owning the car, so a bit like renting a property – you’re not building any equity in an asset, however, with a car… it’s a depreciating asset anyway, so this shouldn’t be too offputting.

In summary, there are three main options to consider in terms of having a vehicle; and the right option for you will be heavily dependent on your individual circumstances.

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Super Easy Hacks To Running Your Household And Finances Smoothly In 2018

budgeting hacksWhether you have a family to look after, just living together as a couple, or you live on your own, running a home is never easy. There just always seems to be one thing after another. Bills to pay, chores to do, maintenance and general repairs. It never stops. It’s easy to let the whole thing overwhelm you at times. Especially if you have other commitments like a job or kids to look after. So I thought it would make perfect sense at this time of year to share with you some life hacks for making running a home and your finances smoother.

Have a household budget

Household bills can be one of the things many of us can struggle with month by month. Sometimes those costs can just spiral out of control. It’s not just those regular payments we have to make. Things like house payments or energy bills. It’s those costs that we can somehow not manage to predict as much. Things like food bills, clothing allowances and general day to day living. This is where your income can get swallowed up before you even know what has hit you. One of the biggest things you can do is regularly look over your outgoings and see if you can make some changes or save yourself some money. Speaking with mortgage brokers like Altrua Mortgage could help bring one of the biggest costs a month down or even help you release some equity for other things like home improvements or vacations. Switching energy suppliers or insurance providers can also save you quite a bit. You could then put it all together into a household budget. It can be the perfect resolve for this issue. It takes a while to get everything in check, but once it’s done, you will wonder how you ever managed before. Start by making a note of how much you bring in each month. The next step is to deduct those regular payments you pay each month, especially now you may have managed to reduce them. This should then determine how much you have left for everything else. This is where you begin to budget more carefully. Allowing certain amounts for things like food, savings, clothing and everything else. This is a basic budget. You can get many resourced online of you like a sheet to work through. You can then take it one step further and make a budget for savings. Things like birthdays and Christmas gifts. A budget can stop things like money causing you a real headache each month.

A cleaning schedule could work well

Chores are never ending. It seems the moment you tidy up it needs dusting, or the floors need mopping once more. To clean your whole house or home in one go can be difficult. Which is why a cleaning schedule could be the answer to all your prayers. This is where you workout and determine certain chores that need doing each day. It will allow you to spread out the bigger jobs and keep your home in good order on a weekly and monthly basis. You can even schedule in those yearly tasks like cleaning out the garage or clearing the gutters.

Don’t be afraid to hire help

It’s so hard to ask for help sometimes. I don’t know why but it just is. But this is where you can save yourself so much time by hiring someone in to do certain things for you. It’s not an easy way out; you are paying for the privilege. But it could free up more time for you to do other things. Life is too short, and it shouldn’t be spent constantly cleaning or working through that clothes ironing pile. It won’t be easy to find someone you trust, but I’m sure you will find the the best house cleaners for you. Just think how nice it would be to take some of those daily stresses away.

It doesn’t just mean hiring help for the interior of your home; household chores extend to your garden and the maintenance side of things. So don’t worry if you want to get a gardener to come and sort your hedges out every few weeks.

Create a family organizer to keep everyone in check

An organizer for you and your family may seem like a bit of a strange one to consider as a life hack for running your household. But keeping on top of things is what makes your home dynamic work. If you have after school activities that children need to attend. Or work meetings that you need to be aware of, then a family organizer can save you many hours stressing and allows you to be in more control of the situation. Sometimes, on some days, your partner may not need to have his evening meal because he’s working late. Sometimes your kids may need to be at school earlier due to a class trip. There are many times that a family organizer for each week can keep you all in check. Each day you will know what each member of your family needs to do or where they need to be. It will make mealtimes much easier as well as work out logistics.

Keep your appliances under regular services

The worst possible thing that can happen at one time is when your appliances fail on you. This could be anything from your fridge breaking down to your boiler stopping working on the coldest day of the year. These things do happen. However, you can do things to avoid the surprise. Having appliances and pipework regularly serviced means that you are keeping an eye on these things. An engineer may be able to pre-warn you if a certain part looks a bit ropey. This gives you the heads up to budget for those repairs instead of them coming as a surprise to you. Preparation is key to running a successful household. So do all you can to be one step ahead.

Meal planning

Finally, meal planning is one of the big things you can do to make running your household stress-free. What is it about meal times that can send your whole family in a frenzy? Meal planning is just what it says it is. It means sitting down at one point in the week and planning the meals you will eat for the week ahead. This then means you only buy what you need to cook those meals, which can save you a small fortune of your food bill. Each day you and your family will know exactly where you stand. You will know who is home for food and who isn’t, which will then have determined what you will have prepared. Mealtimes can be stressful, so make them easier on yourself by preparing and planning ahead.

I hope these life hacks get your household running like a dream.

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