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Four Hidden Costs of Buying a Home

Buying a new home is a potentially once-in-a-lifetime purchase so you’ll no doubt want to make sure you get the best deal. The bad news for you is that buying a property is almost certainly going to cost more than you originally thought. Without proper research, even the most critical buyer will likely end up overlooking something. Here are four expenses that people often forget about.

Stamp Duty
Stamp Duty is a requirement when purchasing residential properties over £125,000 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The rate ranges from 2% to 12% of the value, depending on the final value of the home. Since April of this year, there’s also an additional 3% tax if this isn’t your only property (this also applies to homes that cost less than £125,000 too). Take a look at this Stamp Duty calculator to see how much you’ll have to pay.

Mortgage Expenses
If you’re taking out a mortgage to pay for your home, you’ll likely have to pay some additional fees. Arrangement fees can range from just a few hundred pounds to 1% of the final value, which could end up a significant figure. Similarly, if you decide to use a mortgage broker, you may be required to pay a fee equivalent to 1% of the cost of your mortgage, though some brokers don’t charge for this at all.

Legal Fees
You’ll need a solicitor or qualified conveyancer to carry out all of the necessary legal paperwork that goes with purchasing a property. Solicitor like Withers Worldwide are qualified lawyers, whose training covers many aspects of the law, whereas a conveyancer typically has less training but is specialised in real estate. What you need will be dependent on the complexity of your situation, but regardless you should budget between £500-£1,500 plus VAT to cover the service.

Removal Costs
Finally, another area that people seldom consider is removal costs. If you have friends who like you — and we mean really like you — they may not begrudge you asking them to spend a day hauling heavy furniture. The alternative is to pay a team of professionals, which could set you back several hundred pounds. Even if you have friends willing to help you, you may also need to rent a truck for the day.

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Start Saving Money Right Now!

There’s not a single soul on this planet who wouldn’t want to use more money. Everyone wants to save some more and spend some more at the same time, but that’s not an easy task. If you’re looking to save some money for future occasions, you’ll either have to earn more or spend less.

IN todays’ economy, making more money is a dream that seems ever out of reach. Your earning may go slightly up, but keep in mind that the inflation rate and cost of living is increasing at all times. With the increasing cost of EVERYTHING, your increase in earnings will seem meager.

You might get a promotion, but that takes time and besides, in an economy this crippled, you can’t rely on that option. You might take on another part-time job, but trust me when I say this, that’s absolutely exhausting and monotonous.

So the option you have is to lower your expenses. It may sound difficult, but with proper planning and a little control, you can save more without even knowing the difference. Look around your house and ask yourself: “Did I really get the best deal in buying these things? Would I be able to retire when I want to?” If your answers are no, then you’ve probably missed out on opportunities in your life that could’ve changed your life.

Don’t get too upset. Achieving financial security is a difficult task, and it’s not something that we’re taught. You’ll have to learn them yourselves. All we can do is to show you a few ways to improve your financial state.

Set your goals. Whether it’s going on a nice vacation or buying a bigger house or retiring early, set your priorities. From that moment onwards, whenever you’re about to spend, consider whether it’s worth risking your goals.

If you own a house, see if you can refinance your mortgage. Find out if you can refinance them with lower interest rates, and hopefully you can save hundreds of dollars.

Don’t keep huge balance on your credit cards. If you already have a balance, see if you can transfer them to a card with lower interest rates. Many cards offer 0% interest for a year or more, transfer your balance to these cards and pay off as much money as possible, as soon as possible. Keep an eye out on credit report and if anything seems unusual, get it checked immediately.

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Money Saving Tips On Funerals

Funeral arrangements are one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make in life. Like purchasing a car, planning a wedding or buying a home, planning a funeral can have quite an impact on one’s finances. And while it’s normal to worry about the finances, a funeral of a loved one is something that can’t be done over. How the funeral is planned should show the kind of respect for the deceased one has, as well as reflect their unique personality. The good news is that there are money saving ways to meet all these objectives and more without having to break the bank. But to make that happen, below are a few tips that will help you save money when planning a funeral.

Skip embalming: If you wish for people to view the body of the deceased, you can easily achieve that without having to go through with embalming. If the body was kept in a refrigerated area, some areas will allow public viewing of a body that’s not being embalmed before the funeral thus helping cut on the cost of the funeral. In cases where you still don’t want to embalm but your locality doesn’t allow public viewing of a body that’s yet to be embalmed; you can instead opt for a private visitation where only family members are allowed.

Limit attendance: Another effective way of saving on funerals is to limit the number of people who attend the funeral service of cremation. In some cases, the families prefer to have the cremation or burial first and then a bigger service where charges may or may not apply. Either way, it’s something worth considering.
Opt for a less expensive gravestone or avoid it altogether: The price of gravestones imprinted with the information of your loved one can easily spike the overall cost of a funeral. To save money on it, you can opt not to use a gravestone and put a wooden cross with the details of your loved one at the gravesite. Additionally, you can opt for less expensive stone and have as little information as possible imprinted.

Opt for a less expensive casket: When selecting a casket for the deceased, there are several ways of making sure that you save money. Rather than go for a casket made of hardwood or metal, consider choosing one that’s made heavy –duty cardboard or fiberboard. While they aren’t the most exotic materials for caskets, they sure are a great way to save.

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Where Should You Save Your Money?

Saving money can be difficult, particularly in the current financial climate. As such, when you actually have money saved, you want to ensure that it’s working for you. This means that you want your money to be earning you the highest possible level of interest, so it’s worth more when you need it. Here we look at three places that you could save your money.

Savings Accounts
Savings accounts are widely available both on the high street and through banks operating online. They’re popular with most people because they’re convenient. If you get a savings account from the same bank that you have a current account with, transferring funds can be simple, too.
However, just taking out a savings account with the bank you currently bank with can also mean that you’re not fully benefitting and, as a result, you should shop around. Just because you’ve banked with someone for ten years plus doesn’t mean that you’ll get the best rate, so compare options up and down the high street.
The other downside to savings accounts is that, although you’ll gain interest, it may not be as high as through other options. However, they are a great risk free option.

Investments
Investments, either in property or stocks and shares can provide you with great returns. However, unlike savings accounts, there’s an element of risk too.
Although the value of property, for example, has risen rapidly over the past decade, prices also go down like they did in the last financial crash. This could lead to you losing some (or even all) of the money that you invested.
As well as the risk associated, investments can also be hard work. You have to constantly monitor any investment in stocks and shares and houses often need repair work. So, although returns on investments can be very high, be sure to fully research the downsides and ensure you can commit to monitoring.

Premium Bonds
Nearly half of the UK has premium bonds. Premium bonds are a savings account you put money into where the interest paid is decided by a monthly prize draw. Generally, people can win between £25 and £1,000,000 tax free. Every £1 you have represents a bond, and each individual bond is then entered into a prize draw. The more bonds you have, the higher your chances are of winning.
Premium bonds are great because they’re completely safe and there’s no risk. However, your chances of winning the £1,000,000 is 29.2 billion to one. Generally, people win less than they would through interest – but you have to be in it to win it.
To conclude, there are a number of places you can put your money, and all have different levels of risk. Ensure you do your research before investing.

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Money saving tips for your daily commute to work

How much do you spend to commute to work daily? Well, for most people, the amount spent is unbearable. With everyone trying to save money to invest on other projects, commuting costs continue to hinder the plans. However, cutting the commuting cost is possible if only the proper money saving tips are applied.

Tips to save money on your commute costs
Several aspects need to be considered if you are to reduce the commute costs by a considerable amount. In addition, you should consider applying a long-term solution that will help you save a significant amount of the commuting costs. Some of the money saving tips include:

Moving closer to your work area
Most people love their jobs but hate the fact that they spend a lot on commuting. Therefore, if you can find an apartment around your area of work that allows you to live within your current budget or lower, this should be the best option. In no time, you will notice a steady growth in your savings.

Working extra hours
If your employer is kind enough to compensate you for the extra hours worked, then this could be a great way to save on commuter costs. The amount paid in the extra hours could be dedicated to commuter costs while the rest of the income is channeled towards other projects.

Find greener pastures
In some instances, the job might not be well paying yet you travel a long distance and spend a lot on commuting costs. Try and look for a better paying job in your home area or neighboring area that will not eat into your finances in the name of commuting costs. Preferably, you may opt to start working from home. With the availability of modern technology and the internet, it should not be long before you find a decent income from online gigs or jobs. Additionally, your employer may allow you to work from home for a few days in the week thus allowing you to save some cash.

Changing your mode of travel
If you feel that refueling your car is having a negative impact on your finances, you could opt to change the mode of commuting. You may decide to ride a bicycle to work if you live within your work area. Secondly, using public means will also cut your transport costs by a substantial margin. Moreover, you can decide to buy a used car with a good fuel consumption record. This guide about buying a used car will be of immense help.

Conclusion
Commuting costs is one of the most recurring expenses. More to that, commuting costs exhaust most of our finances. However, it is important to make arrangements with your employer in order to know their stance on the matter.

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Where Does Money Come From?

Get ready for a shock if you don’t already know….

Every day countless millions of transactions are facilitated with money. Why do we need money? How does it get into “circulation?” Who puts it there? Who creates money? And on what basis? Is it the government? If not, why not? Who is it? And how do they know how much to “print?” What if they add too much or too little to the economy?

Three chapters of my book How to Profit from the Coming Great Depression are devoted to these questions. Most people are shocked when they first learn about our “fractional reserve” money system, which has sewn within it the seeds of its own destruction.

First of all, we need money because the barter system is too unwieldy. If you are a building contractor and I am a potato farmer, and I want you to build me a house, how am I going to pay you? How many potatoes can you and your family eat before they go rotten?

Clearly we need something that represents both houses and potatoes. But note that that does not make money a resource in itself. It is merely a vehicle for transferring the value of resources from one person to another. There are natural resources, both under the ground and above it, and there are human resources – labor and intellect. Put these together and man can produce. But although money may be used to value and transfer these resources, money is not a resource itself. Those who control money really want the resources that money represents.

Centuries ago things like gold and silver were used as money, before we had notes and coins like today. Remember the old western movies where highwaymen would hold up the stage coach and people would have to hand over all their valuables? Why, on earth, would people carry their gold and silver with them? Because they had nowhere else to put it.

This created an opening for the goldsmiths, who were the forerunners to our modern day bankers. They built large, secure vaults and allowed people to deposit their precious metals in these safes. In return they gave people “receipts” confirming the amount of gold held on their behalf. In time people began trading with the receipts rather than the gold. Today these receipts are called banknotes.

But that’s not all the goldsmiths did. They even paid interest to those who had deposited gold in their vaults (e.g. 3%), but then lent the gold out to others (in the form of more receipts) at say 6%. That’s how they covered their costs.

In time the goldsmiths noticed that nobody ever came back to collect their gold, and not all being honest, began to lend out more in new “receipts” than was represented by the gold in their vaults. In time there was ten times as much “money” in circulation as there was gold in the vaults.

That’s exactly how our money system operates today. For every dollar you deposit in a bank, the bank lends out about ten dollars. Money is created by banks – out of thin air! All money comes into existence by way of a bank loan. Less than 5% of it is ever converted to notes and coins. Most of it is never anything but a balance on a computer at the bank.

A hundred questions come to your mind. Right? They are all answered in my book.

Why do I say the system has sewn within it the seeds of its own destruction? It has a use-by date. That is why we have an economic depression at least once each century. It is not a question of if the system implodes. Only when it implodes.

Let’s say you borrow £100,000 from the bank (which takes security over your real estate worth £150,000). But you have to pay back £110,000 with interest added.

Where does that other £10,000 come from? You will have to get it from someone else. Where will they get it? What’s the only way money comes into existence? They will have to borrow it from a bank.

Can you see how in our debt money system it is not possible for everyone to pay their debts? Some have to go bankrupt. And as money is sucked out of the system in interest by the banks, money supply is reduced. The only way it can be replaced is with more borrowed money. So debt must rise exponentially. Can you see now why we have a debt bubble and why there is no solution to it other than a massive purging, with all of the horrific deflationary economic consequences, not to mention social dislocation that will come with it?

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The Importance of strategy when saving: How to optimise your earnings for the future

As a general rule, savings rates have tumbled over the course of the last few years. Interestingly, this trend has not impacted on the traditional savings account, which is usually made available alongside current account options. While this type of regular savings account offered an average return of 1.64% back in December, it has risen slightly to 1.72% at the beginning of 2016. While this is still below the rate of 1.72% available 12 months ago, it at least shows that some savings accounts are heading in the right direction.

How to develop the ideal saving strategy in three simple steps

This is just one element of saving money, however, and if you are to successfully make the most of your earnings you must create a viable, simple and manageable strategy. Here are three steps towards achieving this goal:

1. Choose a viable savings Vehicle

To begin with, you will need a viable savings vehicle to deposit and grow your wealth. We have already touched on how regular savings accounts offer optimised returns in the current climate, but it is still important to compare the market before making an informed decision. This will offer you access to an account with the highest possible rate of interest, while also enabling you to operate within the limits and thresholds that are relevant to you. Entities such as Kent Reliance even offer regular savings accounts with interests up to 4%, which ensures that you can quickly optimise your original savings and future deposits.

2. Consider Investment Options

There is an old adage which suggests that you must 'speculate to accumulate, but this works better if you are dealing with a large fund to begin with. So once you have used a regular savings account to gradually build your wealth in a risk-free environment, you can begin to diversify and seek out more substantial returns. There are a wide range of investment options available, from low-risk vehicles like secure bonds and dividend investments to more profitable entities such as forex trading. They key is to scale your efforts and look to diversify across a broad range of options, creating a portfolio that reflects your level of knowledge, experience and appetite for risk.

3. Create passive income streams where possible

Over time, this strategy should begin to deliver returns while helping you to build and manage your wealth. The final step is to consider automating your earnings through the development of passive income streams, which instantly increases the amount that you commit to your savings in the first instance. While you can seek out extra work or look to sell your skills as a freelancer, this may compromise your work-life balance over time. Whether you look to invest in real estate or generate an annual return from a blue-chip stock investment, passive income offers you the best possible chance to grow your savings quickly and in a risk-averse scenario.

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Live like Richard Branson – On a houseboat!

Yes you read the title of this post right. You may have been thinking of tropical, private islands, but if you have ever read Richard Bransons autobiography then you may well know that as an entrepreneurial hippy back in the day, he actually lived on a houseboat in order to cut down costs whilst building what has now become a multi million pound empire. Don’t believe me? Take a look at how the costs stack up below.

Boat vs House Infographic

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Joint Bank Accounts – The Simple Explanation

People who want their money to be available for access to more than one person, joint accounts are the right choice. In general, a normal checking or savings account has only the owner name listed in the account. This means that only the owner can withdraw money from that account. But is some cases, where more than one person needs to access an account, a joint account is the obvious choice. This can prove to be of extreme benefit for married couples.

Joint accounts are not only for married couples. It can prove be of great assistance to business partners, parents who want to open an account with their children etc. In some cases, community agencies also prefer a joint account.

After opening a joint account, each and every person on the accounts’ list can access the account; making deposits, writing checks, and withdrawing money from the account. However, in some cases it’s mandatory to have two signatures on the check or withdrawal slip. It’s checked prior to releasing the funds and it ensures that no secret or illegal withdraws are made from the account.

Joint accounts are mostly popular between married couples where both parties are able to access the account at will, making bill paying procedures a whole lot easier. Besides married couples, elderly parents can open a joint account with their children, making sure that the children can avoid court mandated probation after the death of their parents.

Unlike the normal savings or checking account, joint accounts provide its owners with the right of survivorship. This means that in case of the death of an account holder, the other person is named as the owner of the money in that account. This avoids the need of court probations, which can keep the money in probate or escrow for a long time.

Due to the fact that either party can access the funds in a joint account, it’s absolutely necessary that you trust the person with whom you’re going to open a joint account and that he/she trusts you as well. You should also know that in case of a bank overdraft, you’ll be held liable as well, even if you didn’t have anything to do with it.

Another thing you should understand is that to a creditor, a joint account is no different than a personal account. They will still be able to deduct money from the joint account.

Joint accounts are of great value to married couples, especially in cases where either party has a lot of outstanding debt to their name. It can help them restore some balance to their financial state. But in all cases, for a joint account to be effective, it’s of utmost importance that both parties trust each other fully.

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Ways to Finance Your First Car

Once you’ve passed your driving test one of the next things that will be on your mind is likely to be what your first car will be. With so many options out there it can be hard to decide upon a model and where to buy it from.

Another important thing to consider is how you will be financing your first car. The amount you need will depend on whether you’re after a brand new car or used, where you are buying it from and the funding method. Here are a few ideas of how to successfully afford your first car.

Savings
Paying for a car outright is often the most cost-effective choice as it avoids paying any interest or extras when spreading payments out over a longer period. It also ensures you own the vehicle. Paying for driving lessons can be expensive but where possible it is a good idea to save at the same time so you can afford a car when you pass. Or those lucky few may even be bought one or lent money from family members towards a car.

Leasing
Leasing a car offers many benefits. It will be more affordable in the short term as you will only make monthly payments so can budget a lot easier and you can get access to a brand new car at a better price rather than buying outright. Most include breakdown cover and repairs too. However, once the lease is up you won’t own the car or have anything to show for it.

Personal Loans
Personal or unsecured loans can be used for a range of purposes, including buying a new or used car. You do not have to be a homeowner and although you will pay more than the car’s value in interest it can be the best option for purchasing a new or second-hand vehicle quickly. Ensure you can meet the repayments and work it into your monthly budget before taking one out. You can find a personal loan from any one of many trustworthy suppliers.

Hire Purchase
Hire Purchase is similar to leasing in that you pay monthly between one to five years except at the end you do own the car. A 10% deposit is usually required and most have flexible terms with fixed interest rates, meaning you do pay more overall. Such deals are a lot more competitive for new rather than used vehicles so this is worth considering if you’re desperate for a brand new car.

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