Posts tagged: loans

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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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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Freedom Debt Relief Shares Old-Fashioned Savings Tips That Still Work

debt storyIt’s true that financial habits change as time passes, but there are some money saving methods that are tried and true. Adopting some of these old-fashioned savings tips recommended by Freedom Debt Relief will help you build your savings account. The money you save can be used to boost your emergency fund, pay off debt, or take your annual vacation without going into debt. With that said, there are a few time-tested savings methods you can adopt.

Get rid of marketing messages.

Once you give your contact information to a company, you open up the door for them to send your marketing messages. Companies send millions of dollars and lots of time crafting messages that will convince people to buy. It’s hard to resist the temptation of marketing messages, so opt-out of them completely. If you’re receiving marketing messages, click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email to stop receiving those message. That way, you never get hit with an advertisement.

Cut back on eating out.

Eating out at restaurants is enjoyable, but the cost adds up quickly, especially if you’re eating out several times each week. Reducing the number of meals you eat in restaurants will let you save hundreds, possibly even thousands of dollars each year. When you do eat out, don’t let leftovers go to waste. Portion sizes in the United States are large enough that you can take half your meal home and enjoy it for the next day’s lunch or dinner.

Don’t pay for things you can do for yourself.

While it may be more convenient to pay someone to do small repairs or other odd jobs, you’ll save money by doing things yourself. Picking up some basic sewing skills, for example, will allow you to make your own clothing repairs and avoid having to pay a seamstress. Freedom Debt Relief recommends using the internet to learn how to solve some of your basic repairs and save the big jobs for professionals.

Save your change.

A few dimes and nickels here and there doesn’t seem like much, but over the course of weeks and months that little bit of pocket change adds up. Get a separate change jar or bucket where you can collect you change. You might be tempted to dip into it every down and then, but leave it alone. The longer you let you change accumulate, the more you’ll have, says Freedom Debt Relief.

Avoid disposable items.

Let’s face it, many of us like to eliminate as much housework as possible. To accomplish that, we turn to disposable items like paper plates, cups, and cutlery. Not only do these items lead to more environmental waste, they also cause you to spend more money than necessary. It only takes a few minutes each day to do the dishes. Freedom Debt Relief advises families to simply make the sacrifice and avoid throwing money away on disposable items.

Get rid of debt.

With debt, we can purchase things now and then conveniently pay for them over a period of time. But, there’s a catch. When a lender gives you the option of paying for something in installments, you’re going to pay interest. The more you borrow, the higher your interest rate, and the longer it takes you to pay off the debt, the more you’ll pay in interest. You can potentially save thousands of dollars in interest, says Freedom Debt Relief, just by paying off debt faster. Look for extra money in your budget or find ways to increase your income and use the additional money to reduce your debt faster.

Don’t discount these methods because they seem old-fashioned. You’d be surprised to see just how much impact these savings strategies can make on your savings account.

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Small Business Owners Need To Be All-Rounders, Not Specialists

business ideasThere’s a misconception about entrepreneurs that need to be eradicated. It’s the one of the genius leader, the one who can come up with a genius idea, usually thanks to their one track mind. In reality, small business owners don’t need to be specialists in anything; indeed, it’s probably better if they’re not. What they do need to be are all-rounders, able to do a lot of things well, rather than just one thing like an expert. Below, we take a look at a few of the areas that every small business owner needs to have at least a passing familiarity with, and a willingness to learn about.

Dealing with the Public

Your business depends on the public. Without people buying your products and using your services, there is no business. As such, you need to learn how to handle the complex nature of “the public”; a public that is often demanding, and full complaints; though of course, also filled with happy, pleasant people. If you’ve never had to deal with the public, you’d be well advised to put yourself in front of house – that is, if you’re normally behind the scenes – to see what they can be like first hand.

Being the Boss

If you’ve hired a team of staff, then you’re no longer an entrepreneur: you’re a leader. And as a leader, you need to know how to handle underperforming employees, office complaints and arguments, as well as all the logistical issues that go into staffing, such as rota planning, covering sick days, and managing staff holidays. For the personal skills needed to be the boss of a productive staff, learn from the experts. For the logistical side, you can use rota and holiday management software to make your job easier. If your staff are well-prepared and productive, then your company will have the best chance of being a success.

Marketing and Advertising

Once upon a time, it’s possible that your business may have been able to be successful without much marketing or advertising. Alas, those days have long gone; now, you need to commit considerable resources to your marketing campaign and be advertising in a variety of mediums (print, online, etc). No-one’s expecting you to come up with the world’s greatest advertising campaign, but you should understand what works and what doesn’t.

Inspiring, Productive

The company, especially in the early days, isn’t anything overly abstract: it’s you. The quality and success of your business will rest on your ability to be an inspirational and productive worker. While there are a lot of tasks to take care of, it’s important that you’re always well rested and able to deliver your best work.

What To Outsource

Finally, remember that you don’t need to do everything on your own, and you don’t need always to give your staff tasks. Outsourcing will be an invaluable tool for your business, especially when it comes to repetitive and specialist tasks. Use it wisely, and you’ll be bringing the best on board to your company.

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The Golden Rules of Taking Out a Loan

loan timeIf the world was perfect for everyone, no one would ever need to borrow any money. Unfortunately, things just don’t work like that yet – and as long as we have a banking system, it’s unlikely to change. The reality is that we have to borrow money to lead the lives we want. However, there are limits, and many people are guilty of stepping over the mark.

The truth is there are good debts and bad debts, as you probably already know. And even if you are in good enough shape to take out the former, after a few missed payments or a challenging life event, it can quickly turn into the latter.

When it comes to personal loans, the temptation is strong enough to turn heads of even people with the strongest financial constitutions. Advertising is everywhere, and almost all speak to your aspirations and the life you could have – if only you would borrow a few thousand dollars or more.

To make sure you don’t fall into a trap, there are a few things you need to consider when taking out a loan. These golden rules should be set in stone, as when you step outside of them, it’s often the first step down a slippery slope to unaffordable, bad debts. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

Always shop around

It doesn’t matter whether you are borrowing money to buy a car, a home, or just pay for something quickly with cash loans, always shop around and look for the best deal possible. You should compare percentage rates for interest, but also check the length of the loan. Sometimes, cheaper interest rates over a longer time period will result in a higher overall cost.

Always check your credit score.

Another thing to consider before applying for a loan is your credit rating. When you make an application and get turned down, your credit score takes a hit. Not only that, however, but when you are attracted by a fantastic looking deal that you see in an advertisement, you have to remember that these deals are only offered to consumers with the best credit scores. If your rating is anything less than perfect, you won’t be offered it, and instead, have to put up with a much more expensive deal than you applied for in the first place. A lot of people fall for this, so ensure your credit rating is up to scratch before you apply.

Always read the small print.

The terms and conditions on loans are notoriously detailed, and the vast majority of borrowers never pay them a blind bit of notice. It’s no surprise – who has time to read the reams of paper that often come with your application form? However, you should make time. Banks and lenders of all varieties depend on your ignorance and lack of time, and will often include some pretty dire conditions that you need to meet to qualify for any of the supposed advantages. Another thing to watch out for is early repayment charges – you should always include them in the overall cost of the loan when you do your initial sums. Ideally, all loans would be free to pay off whenever you want, but the reality is somewhat different.

Consider insurance

Loan insurance gets a bad rep, because of a lot of malpractice in the past. However, it’s a valuable protection if you can find the right deal. For a few dollars a month you can protect yourself in the event you suffer an injury at work or get ill and can’t earn any money to pay the loan back. Again, shop around – there are varying rates from all kinds of lenders and insurance companies, and you will often find it is more expensive to buy insurance from the company offering the loan.

Compare with a credit card.

Another major misconception is that personal loans always have better deals than credit cards. To be fair, this used to be the case, back in the day when credit cards were only for the very wealthy, but times have changed. When you consider the long 0% deals you get on credit cards – some of which go for around 18 months at the moment – they often compare very favorably to a personal loan at, say, 6%. And if you can pay off the card before those 18 months are complete, it won’t actually cost you a penny.

Pro tip: borrow more money

As a rule, you should never borrow more than you can pay back. However, when you consider that banks and lenders will offer lower interest rates for higher loans, wouldn’t it make sense to get the better deal? In short, of course, it would, but you have to have a lot of self-discipline. You could borrow a larger amount of money, only spend what you need, and then pay it back over time using a combination of your personal repayments and the surplus. Over the course of a 4-5 year loan, this could actually save you a four-figure sum, so it’s well worth investigating – if you have the discipline, of course.

Be careful with secured loans.

Secured loans will always give you a fantastic sounding deal. But there is a reason – it’s because you have capital at stake. When a loan is secured against your possessions, lenders tend to sleep easily, content in the knowledge that if you fail to pay, they get your house, car, or treasured objects. Yes, the deals can be tempting. But unless you are 100% sure that you will be able to pay them back. Unsecured loans may attract higher interest charges, but ultimately if you have a problem paying them, there is little a lender can actually do.

Always stake the shortest path.

Finally, whenever you take out a loan, the cheapest option will always be to pay it back as quick as possible. It’s down to your personal circumstances, of course, but if your idea of the perfect loan is that it ends up costing you less, it’s the only way to go.

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