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Can Quarantine Improve Your Household Finances?

These are uncertain economic times for everyone. With the global pandemic affecting nations and business, no one knows quite how the next few years are going to play out. Even with government backed stimulus packages in place for a lot of countries, the stock markets are suffering and businesses are failing. Even if you haven’t suffered being made redundant, you may have seen the value of savings and investments fall, and be worried about the long term outlook. Thankfully, you can take steps to prepare while in quarantine, to ensure that your finances are in the best possible shape for whatever the future may hold.

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Overhaul Your Budget

Living a simpler life during lockdown conditions has made many of us realise how wasteful some of our pre-pandemic spending habits really were. It’s a time when rampant consumerism has been exposed as unfulfilling, and what we’ve really missed most are simpler pleasures like seeing our friends. With a bit of space, it’s the perfect time to give your personal budget an overhaul. You should currently be making savings on things like eating out, so make the most of it by channelling those into separate account to create a financial cushion for the future. And with a bit more time on your hands at home, it’s an opportune moment to go through all your fixed outgoings like energy bills, insurance cover and credit card debt and shop around using price comparison sites for a better deal. It doesn’t take long to save on things like car insurance – click here to see what cover might suit you.

Look Into Transferring Debt

If you have outstanding debt you’re looking to pay off, you should prioritise securing the lowest interest rate possible so that more of your money goes to making a dent into what you owe rather than servicing the interest. Hunt for a balance transfer to a zero per cent APR card if you can manage to pay off the balance before the term comes to an end. If you can’t, then it can be a better option to seek a bank loan at a lower rate to pay off credit cards. This move can also free up more cash each month should you need it in the future. 

Hold Steady With Investments

If you do have investments, you may have been watching with concern recently as the markets have plunged. But resist the urge to cut and run at all costs. In most cases, if your investments are for the medium-to-long term, it’s better to have them stay put and wait for the market to recover. If you have a short term need to access money, you may need to do some juggling, but it’s wiser to leave as much as you can invested and ride it out. If you have concerns, speak to your financial advisor for some guidance on switching to safer options – for example investing into precious metals rather than stocks. 

Planning For Your Retirement: Steps To Take Now To Benefit Later

If you’ve got 20, 30 or 40 years of your working life left, you might not think that you need to start planning for your retirement yet, but getting started early is hugely beneficial. If you’re looking to lay down foundations, here are some steps you can take now.

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Investigate pensions and employee benefits

If you’re employed, you may already be paying into a pension pot, which your employer is also contributing to. If this is the case, make sure you understand the terms of the agreement and you know how much you’re putting into your pension each month. Read the terms and conditions and consider increasing your contribution if you tend to have money left over at the end of the month. If you’re self-employed, it’s important to investigate the options open to you and to find a pension that works for you. If you’ve been paying into a private pension, read the small print carefully and make sure you haven’t been mis-sold a pension. SIPP claims are increasingly commonplace. If you were advised to move your money into an SIPP (self-invested private pension), and you believe you were given inaccurate or unhelpful advice, you might be eligible to claim compensation. 

Budget

Budgeting is one of the most effective ways to take control of your finances and it will stand you in good stead for years to come. With a budget, you can set spending limits, set aside money for your savings account and plan for the future. Use your budget to compare your income with your outgoings and calculate how much disposable income you have. If you have money left after paying your bills and household costs, you could transfer cash to your savings pot or to a retirement or an emergency fund. When you draw up a budget, make sure you include every cost, and try to use accurate figures, rather than estimates. Update your budget as you go. 

Clear debt

If you’re in debt, it’s wise to try and clear it as quickly as possible. If you have credit cards, for example, you might be paying a lot of interest, which makes it more difficult to get back into the black and start saving. Check all your accounts and balances and note down all your outstanding debts. If you’re paying back a loan or a mortgage, and you’re meeting the deadlines, carry on as normal. If you’ve got additional debts, which are costing you money in interest or late payment fees, tackle these as a priority. For those worried about money and spiralling debts, it’s wise to seek expert advice. There are solutions available if you’re anxious about missing payments, you’re falling behind with your rent or mortgage, or you’re resorting to using credit cards.

If you’re in your 20s, 30s or 40s, retirement may seem like it’s a lifetime away, but time flies. It’s never too early to start planning. Taking steps to clear debt, save money and boost your pension pot now will benefit you later. 

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How to Make Your Money Work Harder

If you have spare cash that you want to invest or have inherited a large sum of money, you may be wondering what to do next. Deciding on the best place to keep your money can be a tricky decision to make. Not doing anything with the money and letting it remain where it is can be tempting, but you may decide that you want to make the money work hard and try to maximize it. Investing money is something that requires careful consideration, so you must explore your options before coming to a final decision. 

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There are many different ways to invest, but finding the right one for you requires some thought. You will need to think about how risk-averse you are, as well as considering whether you want to be able to access the money if you suddenly need it. Riskier investments typically have the potential to bring bigger returns, but the chance of losing your money is also higher. Low-risk investments will offer smaller returns, but mean you are less likely to lose your money. Here are some of the options to consider when deciding where to invest:

Savings

Putting your money into savings is the least risky option, but also potentially brings the lowest rewards. If you prefer to know that your money is safe, and are happy to forgo significant returns in favor of security, moving your money into a savings account could be the right option for you. It is crucial to note that not all savings accounts are the same, there are many available all offering different interest rates, so make sure that you shop around to find the best one for your needs with the highest levels of interest.

Property 

Property has always been seen as a solid investment, but it does bring its risks. In uncertain economic times, property values can fluctuate wildly, and you may have to keep hold of your investment for a long time before you can reap the rewards. Keeping the property as a longterm investment is fine if you plan to rent it out. However, you may decide to renovate and then flip a property to realize a profit, but this does require careful monitoring of the local property market, to ensure that you don’t make a loss. 

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency may have been around since 2009, but it is still a relatively new kid on the block. Many people believe that crypto is the currency of the future, but it is vital to do your research before investing. 

If you plan to start investing in blockchain, you may find it easier to use a buying and selling platform that specializes in cryptocurrency, such as https://bitit.io/buy/ripple-xrp

Stocks

Stocks are a common form of investment and involve purchasing shares in a publicly-traded company. Investing in stocks means that you can make money if you sell your shares at a higher price than you paid for them, or lose money if the stock price falls.

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How An Investor Could Get Through Corona Virus Markets

Ok, so Corona virus has hit us hard in so many places, and it has certainly made the investment market very wobbly. If you’re someone who has investments in the markets and are being affected by what is going on at the moment it can seem like a bleak, uncertain and unnerving time. But, what exactly are you supposed to do to get through this difficult time?

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Photo by Lorenzo from Pexels

Let’s have a look at some of the thing you can do during this uncertain time: 

Don’t Do Anything

So, the value of your current portfolio has already declined. One option you have is to do nothing, if you sell now you are converting your paper losses into real ones. 

Stop Constantly Checking 

We all know that times are bad for investors at the moment, and constantly checking the value of your portfolio isn’t going to change that. Turn off your notifications, it’s probably already too late for you to change anything now. You might make a bad situation even worst if you keep looking, you might feel forced to sell when you shouldn’t from nerves and anxiety. 

Stick With Your Plan 

If you already have an investment plan in place where you use tools like MetaTtrader 4 for mac, stick with it. Try to keep investing as you normally would. For example if you have money that goes into your retirement plan every month or two weeks continue to do that. 

Remember To Stay Calm

You need to remind yourself to think like an investor, just because time are uncertain at the moment doesn’t mean you should jump if the market jumps or falls dramatically. Especially if it’s happening over a day or the course of a week. You need to think rationally and leave your emotions behind. It’s much better for you to sit back and ride the storm, wait until everything calms down before you make any significant decisions. Remember you can never pick the market bottom or turnaround and just jump in. You need to fight the impulse of thinking this is good. 

If You Feel Like You Have To Do Something 

If you get the feeling you really, really need to do something, try to use this as a learning moment. If you keep hold of individual stocks, you can take the opportunity to review those holdings and review what could have happened with them. 

This may all fall on deaf ears, especially for those who want to use this crash as an opportunity to buy low and sell high. Using this time as the buy-low opportunity. If you absolutely have to buy in the current market make sure it is in a rational and disciplined manner, think about how much you can risk losing as this is only the beginning and things could get worst before they get better

Do you have any other tips that you could share in the comments below?

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You’ve Inherited A Lot of Money – Now What?

When a loved one dies, some of us may expect to inherit money. This could be money tied up in property or funds in a bank. Some of us struggle to know what to do with this inheritance – should you invest it, and if so where? Below are just a few tips on how to handle money that you have inherited.

You’ve Inherited A Lot of Money – Now What? - piggy bank image
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Don’t spend it all straight away

There’s nothing stopping you from splashing all the money straight away. After all, it’s your money. However, you may want to consider all the choices that you have rather than splurging half of it on an impulsive shopping spree. It could be money to spend on travel or it could be money to spend on a down payment on a home. Compare all your options before spending your money.  

Find out if you have to pay tax on your inheritance

In the case of large amounts of money, you may have to pay inheritance tax. The exception is money that was given to you before your loved one died – this could be money left in a trust or even a property that was transferred over to your name before your loved one passed away. If the money is liable for tax, it could be important that you pay this tax first before spending it all.

Prioritise paying off your debts

If you have debts, it could be sensible to pay these off with your inheritance. It may not be as exciting as using the money for other purposes, but it will save you a lot of money in the future, possibly giving you a lot more disposable income to use. Paying off debts could be particularly necessary if you’re falling behind on payments or it’s affecting your credit score.

Get professional advice when investing

There are many ways you can invest your inheritance from savings accounts to stocks and shares. It could be worth getting professional advice using a service such as Equilibrium so that you can find the best place to invest these funds. After all, you don’t want to gamble away this money or put it in the wrong saver where it may only accumulate minimal interest.

Give money to family and friends

There may be family members and friends that can benefit from the money you’ve inherited. For instance, you may have kids that you can give the money to. If there was conflict within your family, realise that some people may have been deliberately left out of a loved one’s will – if you share your money with these people, realise that it may be going against your loved one’s wishes. That said, it is your decision how you spend your money.

Consider giving some to charity

 If you’ve inherited a lot of money, you may feel like giving some to charity. This could be a charitable cause that you feel strongly about or a cause that affected your deceased loved one (a great way of honouring them). Take your time to compare charities that are out there using sites like Charity Choice. You may even consider setting up your own charity if you inherited a particularly large amount of money. 

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