Posts tagged: pension

Loan Options Available if You Have Less Than Perfect Credit

loan approvalMost people will encounter a time in their lives where they fall short on cash and need to borrow to cover their expenses. If you have a savings established you simply have to make a quick withdrawal. However, if you have no savings set up for emergencies and your credit is less than perfect you may think that you have no options. Luckily there are lenders willing to loan money to people who have a lower credit score, as well as other options available.

Short Term Loans

When you think of short-term loans, you may think that the only one you will qualify for is a very high-interest payday loan. Thankfully, there are payday loan alternatives. There are online lenders who offer low-monthly installment loans to people with less than perfect credit. And, unlike a payday loan, you have several different repayment options.

Title Loans

If you own your vehicle, there are lenders who are willing to use your car as collateral against a loan. Depending on the Blue Book value, this type of loan can give you access to more money than a short-term loan.


If your company has a 401k plan and you are a contributor, you can borrow up to 50 percent of the vested amount. Since you are borrowing the money from you, the chances for a quick approval are very good. The best part about this type of loan is that while you will pay interest, you pay it back to you.


While you should never touch a retirement fund. If an emergency arises and you need the cash to prevent losing your home or your vehicle, and the company you work for allows it can give you access to a lot of cash in a lump sum. If you are less than 59.5-years old there is an additional fee of 10 percent plus the 20 percent withheld for the IRS.

Borrowing from Family

If you don’t have a savings account, a 401K or a pension that you can withdraw from, you can see if a family member is willing to give you a loan. If someone in your family does front you a loan, remember to treat it the same as you would any other lender. Come to an agreement before accepting the loan and then stick to it. It’s very easy to put a family member on the back burner and pay other bills first. Make every effort to repay per the terms agreed on and if you should have a rough month contact them and advise them when the next payment will be. This way you’ll stay on good terms should you need their help in the future.

Take on a Part-Time Job

If you find that you are having trouble making ends meet often, you may need to find a way to bring in more money each month. If you have a talent, you can sell items or services to fill in the gap until you reduce your overhead. If not, you may need to consider taking on a second job for a while to get you on your feet.

Hard times can happen to anyone. Maybe you lost your overtime or you have extra expenses like school or medical bills. Whatever the reason, there are many ways to dig out from under and get on an even platform. If your monthly expenses are very high, look at your bills and see where you can make cuts, even for the short-term. For instance, if you have a large cable bill, go to basic service. Also, if you eat out often, reduce it to once a month as a treat, brown bag your lunch for work and use coupons when going food shopping. By pulling in your belt, you will have the money you need to cover your expenses and work towards improving your credit score.

Government Employees Can Choose Their NPS Fund Managers

pension plansThe National Pension System (NPS) is a defined contribution retirement plan offered by the government. The plan is regulated by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

Subscribers must avail their Tier 1 NPS accounts with one of the PFRDA-appointed Point of Presence (POP). The contributions may be invested in 3 asset classes’ viz. equities, government securities, and corporate bonds. These funds are managed by professional fund managers designated by the regulator.

NPS is compulsory for government employees except the armed forces. The plan is optional for the private sector personnel. An increasing number of private sector employees are choosing NPS to take advantage of the various tax benefits available under the Income Tax (IT) Act.

Here is how government employees may choose fund managers

Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN)

Applicants are updated about their PRAN application status through an email or SMS. This number is unique for each subscriber, which makes the NPS account completely portable. The applicants may check the status with the POP or the regulator’s website in case the PRAN card is not received.

Choosing the fund manager

Government employees did not have the liberty of choosing their fund manager as available under the All Citizen Model. The state or the central government had the responsibility of choosing the fund managers. However, recently, PFRDA announced that public sector employees will now be at par and may choose their preferred fund manager to handletheir NPS contributions.

Being able to choose their preferred fund manager provides the subscribers an opportunity to assume higher risks and enjoy better NPS interest rate. The returns on NPS contributions depend on the percentage that is invested in the different asset classes. Therefore, by investing the maximum permissible amount (50% of the total annual contribution) in equities offers investors the chance to earn higher returns.

Changing the fund manager

The private sector personnel also have the option of changing the fund manager in case they are unsatisfied with the services. The proposed modification by the regulator also makes the option of changing the fund manager available for the government employees.

Opportunity to earn higher returns

The public sector employer matches the annual contribution made by the employees to the NPS. Having the option to choose their preferred fund manager allows the subscribers to take advantage of investing more in equities, which may potentially increase their returns.

The NPS corpus may be withdrawn on maturity. Investors may withdraw 60% of this amount as a lump sum. The balance must be compulsorily converted to an annuity plan. Subscribers may use a pension plan calculator to estimate the potential returns on their investments.

The revised norms for government subscribers make NPS beneficial for the investors. They may now choose the fund manager and the investment breakdown to maximize their returns.However, the existing system of the government choosing the fund manager will also continue for those subscribers who do not want to make their own choice.

The Top Three Ways To Invest Your Pension Fund

yearly investmentsSaving for our future is one of those things we all know we should be doing. However, whether we actually get around to it is another point entirely. It is so easy to just put off sorting out for another day. But when the time comes for you to retire, you will need to have some kind of plan in place for your next steps. Chances are you will have been putting money into a pension scheme in addition to the workplace pension you will be entitled to receive. But, what do you do if this isn’t enough to tide you over? With other financial issues looming over us as we approach retirement age, such as whether you have the best life insurance policy, our retirement funds should be the least of our worries. If you are thinking about investing your pension fund, don’t rush into it. We all want to enjoy our retirement, but make sure that whatever you are investing your money in is right for you.

Property investment

Real estate is quite literally hot property these days. If you’re looking to invest your pension somewhere, look no further than the real estate sector. The best way to go about this is by acquiring property through a real estate IRA. This way, you open yourself up to unique investment opportunities and you can be sure that you are putting your money into a secure asset. It also has the added benefit of being able to rise in value, which is perfect for if you are hoping to pass the property down generations. You also don’t need to be restricted to houses or apartments when investing with an IRA. You can also claim farmland or holiday resorts, or commercial property such as shopping malls.

Stocks and shares

The stock market might initially seem like a bit of a daunting minefield. But, it could be the perfect place for your pension to go if you have chosen to self-invest. In fact, in provides a great opportunity to protect against rising inflation and bring in higher returns than cash and bonds. You can go into ‘direct investment’ into the stock market via a stockbroker. This essentially means that you buy shares in a single company, which makes you what is known as a shareholder. If you want to minimise the risk associated with investing in stocks and shares, instead consider investing indirectly. This way you can invest your money in a number of different companies rather than just one.

Precious metals

This may appear unusual at first, but precious metal investment has soared in recent years. They are a hard investment, which means that they are also hedged against inflation. If you are looking to invest in precious metals, you will need to comply with the rules and regulations set up by your pension account. Gold, silver, palladium and platinum are all approved by IRA accounts. You will need to purchase the metals yourself through a dealership, and then keep them in an approved depository.

10 Tips for More Successful Retirement Planning

Retirement planningPlanning a retirement lifestyle is one of the single-most rewarding aspects of working hard all your life. However, this planning is oftentimes wrought with worry, because many people do not understand how to do this successfully so they can live out the best years of their lives in comfort.

From how and where you will reside to how you will care for personal health and end of life decisions, the decisions you make now are critical to successful retirement planning. Here are some helpful tips to help guide you on this journey.

1. Start a retirement fund now. You may have a few years until retirement age, or you may just be starting to think about a retirement plan. Whatever the case may be for you, experts advise planning your retirement with an investment strategy as soon as you can. The sooner you can start to put away money, the more you will have accrued in savings and interest by the time you are ready to retire.

2. Focus on living frugally. The trouble with retirement planning is that some people fall into the trap of trying to get too much stuff early life, which only leads to long term debt. Spending your life paying off debt interest takes away from your ability to dream about the future. Living frugally now pays off later on.

3. Make your “bucket list”. It’s time to start thinking about all the things you’ve always wanted to experience in life. If you’ve put off traveling or taking up a hobby of some sort, now is the time to include this into your retirement planning. This gives you a measurable goal that will keep you on track.

4. Choose affordable living arrangements. Whether you plan to own your home in a few short years, or you want to move in with family; the decisions you make now should include your life needs as a retiree. You may realize that a large house will be too much to manage in your older years, or you may want to have a community of others in your age group as you advance in life.

5. Research services and support for retired people. A portion of your retirement fund will be spent on your personal care and health concerns as an older person. Be sure to plan for these aspects as you put your retirement plan together, considering the advantages of long term care insurance and retirement assisted living communities.

6. Get your will and legal affairs in order. As soon as you are able to, have a personal will drawn up and kept with your lawyer’s office. Let your children or siblings know where to find this information, and assign a power of attorney who can handle things for you if you become ill or incapacitated at any time.

7. Set aside tax free dollars. Being smart with your retirement savings also means investing in the next generation, while enjoying a nice tax shelter. While you can only put a certain amount into your 401k and IRAs each year, you can also put tax free money into 529 plans for your nieces, nephews and grandkids who plan to go to college.

8. Start a second-life career. Most people who retire often want to remain active in other things than leisure living. Consider your talents and experience, and develop a flexible and enjoyable second career path. Perhaps going back to finish your college degree, or starting a home-based business is in order.

9. Work with a retirement investment planner. Getting the most from your retirement often requires the support and guidance of an expert. Periodically review your investment portfolio with a trusted and qualified retirement professional.

10. Pay down debts and reduce overhead. Once you near retirement, consider that you will soon be living on a limited income. Therefore, you want to get your debts paid down as much as possible. Eliminate the burdens of too much property by selling now.

Retirement is a time to celebrate. You can be better prepared and enter this exciting time of your life by planning ahead and reaching your retirement goals in style.

Julia Dennis writes about Eco Friendly Senior living facilities and other assisted living topics for Friendship Village. When she’s not writing she enjoys running and spending time with her children.

How Will The Flat Rate Pension Affect You?

Pension after retirementAlthough it isn’t due to be introduced until 2016, the flat rate state pension is a major shake up of the retirement benefits system and will have an impact on anyone retiring after that time. It’s therefore important to understand what it means and to carry out a pension review accordingly.

If you’ll be retiring before April 2016 then the changes won’t affect you and you’ll be paid a state pension under the current system. Currently this is £107.45 a week for the basic pension or £142.70 if you get the additional pension based on National Insurance contributions or you get pension credit.

Retirement After April 2016

If you reach state pension age after April 2016 then you’ll receive the flat rate pension rather than the existing one. This involves some major changes as follows:

1. You’ll need to have made National Insurance contributions for at least ten years to qualify for a pension (currently it’s only one year) and this will only get you £41 a week.

2. To get the full state pension you’ll need to make 35 years’ worth of NI contributions (currently you only need 30 years).

3. With 35 years’ NI contributions you’ll receive £144 a week at today’s values. Since state pensions are adjusted for inflation this is likely to be more when the policy comes into effect. The new pension will be adjusted in line with the CPI index or 2.5% each year, whichever is higher.

4. The second state pension, pension credit and other top-up schemes will cease. However, if you’ve already built up an entitlement to a higher pension through second pension or SERPS contributions before 2016 this will be protected but you won’t be able to add to it.

5. You’ll be able to take time out to raise a family and still build up state pension qualifying years, which isn’t currently the case.

6. Eligibility for a pension will be on an individual basis, so married couples will each get their own pension rather than the married couple’s rate that’s paid at present. The other side of this is that a widow without enough qualifying years for a full pension will no longer get a portion of her husband’s pension after he dies.

7. If you’re still in a final salary pension scheme with an employer you’ll end up paying more in NI contributions as the contracting out option will no longer be available.

8. The state pension age will be reviewed every five years starting in 2016. It’s currently planned to increase it to 66 in 2020 and 67 in 2028.

Additional Pensions

Because the changes mean the end of the second state pension if you need to increase your income in retirement you’ll need to look at other means. These changes overlap with the government’s plan to have all employees enrolled in a workplace pension scheme which will give them an additional means of saving for retirement.

Low earners and the self-employed, who may in the past have found it hard to build up enough contributions for a full state pension, will benefit most from these changes.

If you’re on a higher income want to save more for your pension then you’ll need to look at other alternatives outside of National insurance such as starting a private pension plan or a SIPP. If you’re in a pension scheme with an employer you could also look at making additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) to boost the value of your pension pot.

Kay Brown is a writer who has a keen interest in personal finance. With the imminent changes to pensions, she suggests conducting a pension review so that you know the impact that the flat rate pension will have on your retirement.