Posts tagged: investments

Things to Consider When Planning a Tree Change after Retirement

retirement advicesBy now, you might be confused what a “tree change” means. Experts are advising that people need to start thinking about their retirement early because the current economic trends have brought about a hike in property prices. There are very few living options for retirees and even then, they have to rely on someone, after their savings run out.

When it comes to retirement, people have three options – tree change, sea change and inner city living. As you can understand from the terms, a tree change is where you move to a rural setting, a sea change is where you move to a beach side and inner city living is when you move into an apartment in an urban locale.

Tree Change

A country retreat is mostly preferred by people who have or aim to purchase a few acres of land, some space from the hustle bustle of the city, scenery, fresh air and a sense of peace. With retirees, the most pressing concern is their health. Living confined in a house and being dependent on others for making small trips to the market can get rather depressing. When they feel like a burden, they retreat into themselves and destroy their chances of living a quality life. Having freedom insurance can make them feel secure and independent in such times.

Living in a rural area offers many perks, which include:

• Growing your own vegetables and fruit (this can become a source of income)
• Owning animals
• Less security problems
• Less pollution
Healthy environment
• Greater sense of belonging and community
• Peaceful living

How to Make the Decision

Savings run out easily and as a retiree, it’s hard to find a source of income. This means that you have to carefully plan and count your potential expenses before making the move. Make a checklist of all your “wants” and “essentials” and then crosscheck it with your partner’s list, if you have one.

Most people remain at a 200 km distance from where they used to live because this allows them to remain in contact with their service providers such as a mechanic, hairdresser, medical professionals, etc. This also gives you the benefit to visit your neighbors or friends in times of crisis or celebrations. A lot of money is spent on repairs and by hiring someone who has been working for you for quite some time can be a plus. You will be able to save more and can spend that money on other important things.

Before moving, the most important thing you need to make sure is whether or not medical aid will be available to you in the vicinity where you are moving. It can be quite difficult to get medical help for medical emergencies in rural areas. Before moving, visit the location and check the medical facilities on site. Find out how well equipped they are to handle your problems and then make your decision.

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The Future Is Now: AI to Boost Your Small Business

business setupYou can’t have missed the rumblings in the air. From water-cooler chat to major media focus, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the phrase on every business owner’s lips. A lot of the noise concerns what the shape of society will look like with robots in our midst and whether our skills will become redundant under the slow creep of automation. With estimates from the PEW research centre showing that two-thirds of us in the US expect robots in the workplace to be a common sight within the next 50 years, it’s easy to take a dim view of society’s desire for a walking, talking embodiment of our knowledge. But robots are not exclusively a force of the future – since Victorian times humans have created and refined machines to take on drudge work and liberate them to dream bigger and achieve more. So could the future be brighter for small business owners who embrace AI? And how can you use it now? We take a look…

Customer Care Made Easy

One of the most significant challenges facing a young start-up is manpower. You need staffing to grow, but you need more revenue to employ those people. It’s a chicken and egg situation that’s stifled the development of many promising start-ups. And that’s why AI technology is so promising for entrepreneurs struggling to do it all. The advent of a more transparent, internet-connected customer base means that reputation is a more important sink-or-swim factor than ever in business, and whole sectors are now driven by customer review platforms. This means that excellent customer care is simply a hygiene factor, and customers expect an instant response when something goes wrong. For small businesses without an army of staff, this can be all but impossible – so investing in chatbot technology can be a real breakthrough moment. Thinking through the customer journey and created some scripts is simple and doesn’t require any real programming skill. You will find that a lot of basic enquiries are the usual suspects, so this can be an extremely efficient way of filtering those out to allow you to deal with more complex cases. Chatbots are good at instantly retrieving customer information, which can cut call queuing, and it’s a scalable solution that will grow with your company while helping to reduce barriers to sale with potential customers.

Get Your Accounts on Track

Smart software can make your financial management a smooth process, from solutions that allow you to access business loans and receivables all in one seamless system such as www.octet.com to machine learning that can use big data to predict spending patterns. If the day-to-day functions of finance become fully-automated, the resource can be diverted into strategic, long-term planning rather than the bandwidth-drain of servicing routine processes – returning you to being more of a specialist rather than a jack of all trades.

Your Personal Assistant in the Clouds

Keeping on top of the day-to-day onslaught of a small business involves being on the ball about hundreds of micro-decisions that need attention, but not many entrepreneurs can afford a PA from the get-go. Using a remote virtual assistant to schedule and monitor tasks such as travel arrangements, diary planning and admin support makes perfect sense. Using a virtual assistant can free up time and headspace for more demanding tasks, even if we’re not quite in the era of being followed around by a Jetsons-style sassy robot yet (although those will be on shelves in the very near future).

AI doesn’t have to be scary – in fact, it’s working with us right now, and its influence could future-proof your business.

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Building a Nest Egg for a Happy Retirement

happy financial retirementWhen you are young and care-free, planning for a silver-haired future might feel weird. It’s difficult to image how next week is going to go, never mind figuring out how you are going to support yourself when you no longer want to work.

However odd it might be, planning for the future while you are young will give you the best chance of a happy retirement. It may be unpleasant to imagine a day when you will need full time care or perhaps can’t make decisions for yourself, but thinking about it now will certainly help.

Start Young

As soon as you start earning, you should be thinking about how you are going to save up and build your retirement nest egg. By starting young, you are giving yourself plenty of time to build up your financial portfolio and save without really feeling the loss. The older you are when you start, the more aggressive your saving plan will have to be.

Set out your financial goals early on and work steadily toward achieving them over a long period of time. This method will help you to budget properly without sacrificing all the good things you enjoy like meals out with friends or holidays.

Invest Smart

In order to accumulate, you must speculate. This means making smart investments in things such as stocks and shares or alternative opportunities like antiques or gold. In fact, a gold-backed IRA is an excellent supplement to your portfolio as it reacts slightly differently to the rest of the market. This is an advantage because it will help to smooth out any risks as the market naturally fluctuates.

If you aren’t too confident about what you should and shouldn’t be investing in, or how to balance risks, you must see an independent financial advisor before you part with any cash. They will be able to create a personalized financial plan for you and offer good advice to ensure you can save enough for your future.

Save, Save, Save!

If you have a budget, and stick to it as best you can, then saving a portion of your income each month should be fairly easy. In fact, if you get the balance right, you probably won’t even notice it’s happening.

Some of the best advice for building your nest egg is to put any windfalls into savings rather than splurge on things you don’t need. Find other ways to treat yourself without completely blowing your budget out of the water. This isn’t to say that you can’t treat yourself every now and again, but just to make sure that you adjust your budget accordingly.

With a sensible portfolio, your retirement plan should be easy to manage and your nest egg will gradually build up over the years. Try to keep this fund separate from your other savings to prevent you from being tempted to dip in for some extra cash. Keep a rainy day fund as well as a contingency fund and your nest egg will be safe for the future.

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Are House Prices Likely To Go Down?

balance house pricesWhenever you hear people talk about the housing market it’s all doom and gloom. Prices have been rising consistently for years and there’s a serious fear that a whole generation of young people isn’t ever going to be able to afford a house. Last year was set to be a positive one for housing and an increase in house building was predicted, but the reality is, that didn’t happen. Things did improve a little but not as much as we hoped they would. So, it doesn’t look good at the moment and it feels like it’s never going to get better, but is that really true? Nobody knows for sure but these are some of the major predictions from experts.

Prices Will Rise, But Not As Much

This is good news and bad news. Prices rose by a significant amount every month last year, especially in the latter half of the year. Some people predict that trend will continue, but the increases will slow right down. There are a couple of reasons for this prediction. Firstly, unemployment is going down and people are able to afford houses more easily. Demand is stronger and there will be a slight increase in the number of people that are actually buying houses.

Another factor to consider is the number of people opting for alternative housing situations. More people are opting for prefabricated mobile homes, sometimes called mobile homes. These are far cheaper because the components are made separately, shipped over, and constructed on site. The impact of this is minimal but people choosing to go for alternative housing is going to alleviate some of the strain in terms of housing shortage. It also means that houses can be built far more quickly.

On the other hand, real estate as an investment is on the rise so if all of the houses are being bought up by investors, prices could carry on increasing.

This prediction is good news overall because what they’re essentially saying is that, while there won’t be an immediate turnaround in house prices, we’re coming toward the top of the peak and will soon start to see a downturn in prices.

Affordability Will Go Down

Wages are forecasted to grow in some of the larger cities in America which you would think is good news for buying houses, unfortunately it’s not. The amount of homes that are affordable to somebody on a medium income isn’t growing. That means they are unable to access the cities where wages are growing in the first place, so they can’t get the higher wages they need to buy a house. This disparity is one of the biggest problems in the housing market at the moment. Even if house building does increase this year, they aren’t likely to build the affordable housing that is needed to redress that imbalance.

Credit Availability Could Improve

After the crash of 2008, the availability of credit was regulated more strictly in order to avoid the same thing again. However, the new Trump administration has floated plans to roll back a lot of that regulation so banks will be more free to lend money again. It could go one of two ways; either they’ll start lending more freely and people might be able to afford to buy a house, or they may carry on operating the way that they are at the moment.

There’s no telling exactly what will happen with the housing market but these are three of the best theories so far.

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Is Owning Your Home Worth The Hassle?

home owningA dream for many of us is to eventually own our homes so that we don’t have to worry about things like being kicked out by a landlord, or having to move because of renovations being done to the building. Also, once you have paid off your mortgage you no longer have to worry about paying towards the cost of the property unlike if you were renting. All you have to pay for is your utility bills and other essentials like food and clothing. However, with the rising cost of properties and the difficulty of obtaining one, is it worth owning a property? This article is going to explore why we think that even though it’s a hassle, it’s definitely worth it in the long run.

Cost

It’s a little known fact that when you buy a property, not only do you have to find the money for a deposit (it’s usually 10% but it can be lower depending on your lender), but you also have to find the money for upfront fees. These are usually from your realtor and they are to compensate them for handling your property and your move. These charges aren’t something that many people think about until their realtor puts it in front of them.

While these charges might be more of a hinderance than anything else, it’s definitely worth digging into your pockets to pay for it because when it’s all said and done, you’re officially a homeowner and can begin looking forward to creating memories in your new home.

Location

If you’re looking to buy a home away from where you usually reside, it can be difficult to pick a location for you to settle down in. Competa properties offer people that are looking into becoming a homeowner the chance to own their own property for much cheaper than you would in the USA or UK. So if the prospect of living abroad excites you, it’s definitely worth checking out what they’ve got on offer.

If you’re planning to stay local, then a simple trip to a realtor will help you discover what kind of properties are on offer, and it will even help you plan how much you’re going to need to save to get the property of your dreams.

While choosing a location might be something that blows your mind a little, think about the fact that you’re in a position to live anywhere that you want, whereas people who rent don’t often have a wide choice.

Upkeep

Another thing that puts people off buying their own homes is the upkeep of the property. When something goes wrong, it’s up to you to make the repairs to your home. Unless of course, it’s on the pavement that you don’t own. If for example your boiler breaks, it’s up to you to either replace it yourself, or hire a professional to come and do the work for you. Obviously this can be costly, and if you’re salary is only making enough to pay your mortgage and other bills, this could be a problem.

One way of solving this is to arrange with your bank a saving scheme for when times like these arise. Most banks these days offer something to help you save money, whatever it’s for. Alternatively, you could put as much money as you can afford away each month so that if something does happen, you know that you’ve got some money to dip into for repairs.

Again, while this is something that puts people off, it can also be turned into a good thing. This is because when you do have repairs made, you can ensure that it’s done to the best quality so that you don’t have to pay for it again any time soon. Whereas if you were renting, you’d have to contribute to your landlord who might go cheap on the repairs and keep the extra money for themselves.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many downsides to owning a property but in the long run there are always solutions around it. For example, if you ensure that you have home insurance, some repairs you might be able to claim from that, especially if it’s caused by a natural disaster or robbery. While it might be difficult to begin with, wouldn’t you rather have your home to own when it comes to later on in life too?

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