Financing Home Renovations For A Better Retirement

Couples nearing retirement may be considering upping sticks and relocating to be closer to family or to explore a new country. According to a Merrill Lynch study, 64% of retirees move home during retirement. Therefore, increasing your property’s value in the years leading up to your retirement is the perfect way to ensure a good return when the time comes to sell. Everyone knows that preparing for your retirement is essential, so if you’re one of the ones looking to move home, what are your finance options?

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Remortgage your home

One of the easiest and quickest ways to free up some cash in order to install a new kitchen, undertake a loft conversion or add an additional bedroom to your home is to remortgage your property. This means borrowing a sum larger than your existing mortgage so that you can use the additional funds to complete your renovations. Once you’ve retired and have bought a new home, you might be wanting to complete home improvements on that too. Taking out a reverse mortgage can be an ideal solution for those aged 62 or over who are looking to free up some spare cash.

 Take in a lodger

As a couple nearing retirement age it’s likely that your children have moved on and in their place are large empty bedrooms, gathering dust. Taking in a lodger is the ideal way of increasing your bank balance each month. Most lodgers are very little hassle and choose to spend most of their time in their rooms, so you’ll barely notice the additional body in your home. The extra income will be a welcome bonus, too. Just remember to make any potential lodger aware of the renovations you’re planning.

Turn your home into a business

If you’re after something a little more lucrative than a lodger, consider transforming your home into a bed and breakfast. American B&Bs can be very profitable businesses with the average daily rate being $150 and average revenue per room hitting $58. When you decide it’s time to retire, you’ll have two valuable products to sell; your home and your business, which can result in a nice return for you to rely on during your retirement.

Invest your savings

You’re probably keeping your savings back to use once you retire. However, investing them to boost the value of your home is a great way of seeing a larger profit when you decide to sell up and retire. It’s not advisable to splurge all your savings on your project, but, taking a chunk of them to cover the cost of the work and to, ultimately, increase the value of your home is a practical way of financing your home renovations.

Finding suitable ways to finance home renovations when you plan on moving home during your retirement is the perfect way to ensure it’s a prosperous and healthy one.

How to Find the Right Office Headset: Questions to ask yourself

Thanks to the role of modern communications, it is increasingly common for office employees to make use of a headset during day-to-day operations. This is an important piece of equipment, so several variables should be addressed. In order to clarify this topic, we have put together a list of the most important metrics to examine in detail. Let’s take a closer look.

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The Preferred Brand

It is always prudent to purchase a reputable brand, as you will not be sacrificing quality or reliability. Some of the best manufacturers of 2018 include well-known names such as Bose, Sennheiser and JBL. Even if their prices are slightly higher, you can rest assured that the unit itself will last for a significant amount of time.

Taking Your Budget Into Account

The expression “you get what you pay for” is perfectly applicable here. However, never make the mistake of superseding your budget. Some entry-level office headsets can cost as little as $40 or $50 dollars while high-end models are associated with prices of $200 dollars or more. So, compare and contrast different providers in order to discover which price suits your financial requirements.


The sheer variety of headsets dictates that you will have a number of styles and designs to choose from. Ergonomics are quite important, for the chances are high that you will be wearing this accessory for hours each day. Features such as a Bluetooth connection or a wireless adaptor are now quite common. However, look at the padding around the earphones and determine if the headset in question will be able to fit comfortably on your head through the use of an adjustable strap. Always keep in mind that companies such as PMC Telecom offer a host of solutions for your discrete requirements. These suggestions will provide you with expert help finding your headset in no time at all.

Customer Service and Support

Even the most reputable of headsets can encounter stumbling blocks from time to time. Whether referring to an installation problem, a technical issue or a question about the warranty, you should always be able to contact a customer support specialist on short notice. While a standard email and a dedicated telephone number are common, many modern organizations are now offering a live chat feed. As this blog notes, such an advanced application is extremely convenient if you require answers within a real-time scenario. Therefore, you can solve any potential issues and your headset will be up and running in no time at all.

In theory, these variables should all be given an equal amount of importance. It is still a fact that there are literally dozens of manufacturers and each produces numerous different makes and models. This is why you should spend a significant amount of time performing online research; particularly if you are purchasing these units in bulk for employees. For more professional advice, always be sure to check back at The Financial Fairy Tales on a regular basis.



Home Loans: Your Options for Purchasing a Property

The vast majority of homebuyers in the UK will require some type of home loan to fund their property purchase. Yet many aren’t aware of how many loan options are available to them. Buyers don’t have to just rely on a mortgage from a high street lender if they wish to buy a home. There are a number of different loan types and government back schemes that can augment or completely replace the need for a mortgage. This guide will explore all of the different options available to you so that you’re in the best position possible when it comes to finding finance.

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A private mortgage

For many, a mortgage will be the only loan they use to buy a home. Individuals can rarely pay for a house in cash, so banks and high street lenders will typically loan up to 95% of the cost of the home. In return, the mortgage provider will charge interest on the loan, which the homeowner must pay every month. Failure to keep up with payments will result in losing the home. Mortgages usually last 25 years, but they can be shortened to any length of time. Mortgages are the most common form of home loan, but they aren’t suitable for everyone. Banks have become increasingly cautious since the recession and it is much harder for people with small deposits, low incomes or bad credit histories to secure a mortgage.

Help to buy equity loan

First-time buyers have been hit particularly hard by high property prices, which have made it almost impossible for many young people to get on the property ladder. In response, the Government launched the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme to help first timers get a foot on the ladder. With a 5% deposit, first-time buyers can secure a 20% loan from the Government on the cost of a newly built home meaning they will only need a mortgage of 75% to complete the purchase. This will result in much more affordable repayments. The Government’s loan is interest free for five years and then charged at 1.75%, rising annually by any increase in the Retail Price Index plus 1%. To qualify you must be a first-time buyer, use the property as your permanent residence and be buying a home that costs under £600,000.

Shared ownership

Another Government-backed initiative is the Shared Ownership scheme. Rather than buy the entire property outright, this allows buyers to buy a share of the property and then pay rent on the remainder. As a result, you pay the mortgage payments you can afford to start off with, and then buy the remainder of the property over time as your finances allow. There are strict criteria that you must meet to become eligible for this scheme, however.

  • Your household income must be less than £80,000 (or £90,000 if you live in London)
  • You can’t own any other property
  • You can’t have outstanding credit issues

Only specific properties are available to buy under this scheme, too. They will typically be new builds and will be purchased from a Housing Association.

Right to buy

A final Government-backed initiative to help people get on the property ladder is the Right to Buy scheme. If you are council tenant who has been living at your property for at least five years, you could be eligible to purchase the property at a discount. Discounts can be as large as £104,900 in London and £78,600 outside of the capital. Not everyone is eligible, however, and you will need to check the Government website to confirm your eligibility.

Bridging loans

The problem with mortgages is that they can take up to six months to get approved. For many buyers, this delay can mean missing out on the property of their dreams. In cases where time is of the essence, a bridging mortgage specialist like Top 10 Finance Bridging Loans can help you find finance that’s an excellent alternative to traditional mortgages. A bridging loan is a short-term loan that aims to “bridge the gap” until more secure funding is obtained whereupon the loan is repaid in full with interest. A common scenario where a bridging loan is useful is where a family want to purchase a new home before their current property has sold. Getting a mortgage will take too long but a bridging loan can be approved in a fraction of the time. The bridging loan is used to buy the new home and is repaid when the previous family home has been sold. Bridging loans aren’t for everyone so it will be important to speak to a bridging mortgage specialist to decide if this is the right solution for you.

So there you have it, there are all of the types of funding available to you. But don’t forget to speak to a specialist before you apply for a home loan or government scheme.

Money Lessons Children Need to Learn Early

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As children grow up, there are a lot of important lessons that they will need to learn. A number of these lessons are going to revolve around money. It is important to educate your kids so that they do not make any silly mistakes later in life. After all, managing your finances is not something that is taught in schools. However, you don’t want to overwhelm your child with information, so you need to choose your money lessons with care. Let’s take a look at some of the pivotal money lessons that children should learn early in life below…

You may have to wait to buy something you want – This is probably one of the best lessons you can teach your child, and one of the earliest. You can start teaching them this from the age of three or five years old. It is all about not giving your child what they want straight away. If you go into a store, and your child asks to buy something, or you even want to buy something, make a note of saying you cannot afford to right now, and then purchase it at a later date. This will show your child that you have had to work hard to secure the purchase you wanted to make.

The true cost of every purchase – One of the most valuable money lessons to teach any child is about working out the true cost of any purchase. Rarely any cost is as simple as it seems. There are always extra expenses and costs that may not be financial to think about, such as time. The most obvious example would be buying a house, of course. A lot of young adults think that the only thing they need to save for is the deposit. They are then alarmed when they see other costs. Not only do they need money for a deposit, but they need to factor in expenses on the day of moving, for example, removal services like those from businesses listed on Shiply. They also need to factor in legal expenses, as well as the cost of a professional home inspection.

You need to make choices about how you spend your money – The third and final lesson you should teach a child is that every purchase comes with a choice. You cannot buy everything you want, and it is all about making wise decisions. At this point, introduce your child to goal setting, as well as saving. Set up their own savings jar at home.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding some of the key money lessons that children should learn from an early age. If you teach your kids the lessons that have been discussed above, you can help to prepare them for the future and you can make sure they learn the value of money from a young age. It is very much about small lessons and baby steps that will ingrain valuable money lessons into your child’s mind so they can carry them forward into the future.

3 Ways Introducing Loyalty Programs Can Improve Your Small Business’ Bottom Line

If you are new to the small business world, the chances are that one of your top aims for the next financial year is to improve your business’ returns. One of the most effective ways that come to mind? Well it begins and ends with your customers. With the rise and globalisation of ecommerce, businesses have seen their reach extend beyond borders. On the other hand, they have also seen a rise in competition on a worldwide scale. In addition to building great employee relationships and securing any financial risks to your business, it is incredibly important that you focus on both attracting potential customers to your new small business and of course, retaining them.

3 Ways Introducing Loyalty Programs Can Improve Your Small Business’ Bottom Line - customer image

Photo by Ellen Auer on Unsplash

It Can Cut Your Costs

Customer loyalty schemes and programs are a great way to help your business achieve this. It is also one option that many businesses are increasingly embracing. There is a great rationale behind this as well. It can cost businesses between 2 and 5 times more to attract new customers than it would cost to retain them. The amount of funds to be spent on advertising campaigns and market research to specifically target new customers along with introductory discounts can add up to a sizeable amount at the end of the financial year.  With the reduced spend on marketing and the increased repeat sales benefits of a successful loyalty program, you can see increased profits in no time. In the end, a low customer turnover is much more cost efficient than repeatedly attracting new customers every day.

You may have seen major corporations advertising their alternatives to this customer retention tool but it can also be applied to smaller businesses across the UK and worldwide. This goes beyond incentives such as discounts for repeat purchases and extends into your customer service as well. One thing to be noted is that loyalty programs are no longer effective being structured as they were a decade ago. In Deloitte’s 2017 Customer Loyalty survey, over 54 percent of people still valued a points based system but an increasing 32 percent of them would prefer to be given rewards that are better suited to their lifestyles and interests. So when you are considering the different customer loyalty programs to incorporate into your business, take the time to understand your customers’ expectations and your business goals.

It Can Help You Attract New Customers

It may seem counteractive but yes, focusing on retention tools can also help your business to attract new customers. Customers in the UK are increasingly loyal compared to their worldwide counterparts with65 percent considering themselves as loyal shoppersin 2017. It is therefore increasingly important to get customers to make first time purchases and have the chance to win their loyalty. A customer loyalty program can help you do this. In a study by Deloitte in 2017, over a quarter of the respondents said that a customer loyalty program would be a factor in them remaining loyal to that business or brand.

The benefits offered by the loyalty program are attractive to new customers. The idea of their purchase being rewarded every time they shop can be quite alluring to not only keeping customers but getting them in the door initially. Why choose a competitor and be rewarded for their support? Be aware that the relevance of your loyalty program is paramount. The rewards should be something your customers would appreciate and be happy with.

It Can Act Be A Great PR Tool To Build Your Brand

Great marketing and promotion can play a huge part in your income generation as a business. Using a well tailored loyalty program can improve the communication channels between you and your customers. In addition, you are able to better tailor this communication to your customers’ needs and interests including through emails and follow up offers. By recognising your customers individually, you are building a great foundation for customer satisfaction. In the end,customers will feel valued, differentiated and appreciatedfor their choice in shopping with your business.

Happy customers are a significant aim for all business  regardless of size. Positive word of mouth from satisfied customers is one the most powerful marketing tools a business can employ. Positive messages can improve a business’ market share by up to 20 percent in two years. On the other hand, a dissatisfied or unappreciated customer can tell up to 15 people about their experience. This tackles both aims of attracting new customers through word of mouth and also keeping current customers happy to encourage repeat business.

There are a variety of strategies you can adapt to achieve a better bottom line for your business. These three ways are great examples of why a customer loyalty program would be an essential strategy to include in your plans for business and profit growth. Customers are a key part of any business and encouraging their loyalty should be a priority.