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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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Tips To Be More Financially Successful In Life

Money isn’t the be-all and end-all in life, but it can sure make our lives a little easier. Being financially successful can be different for everyone. Some might see themselves as being a millionaire as being successful, while others might just like to live comfortably and feel financially stable. Everyone has the ability to be financially successful in life with some finding it easy enough while others might find it more difficult. Here are some handy tips to be more financially successful in life.

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Know How Much You’re Worth

Firstly, when it comes to the finances, everything you do in life where you provide a service should be compensated. It’s important to know what your worth is and how much you’re worth when it comes to any job that you have. There are lots of jobs and opportunities out there in order to earn money, but not everything is going to be offering you the money that you deserve and need. That’s why its good to get an understanding and to know how much you’re worth. It can help when searching for jobs or those opportunities where you are rewarded financially. As time goes on, depending on your growth in terms of skills, experience, and education, this can increase your financial worth. It’s good to always keep an eye on this so that you’re never selling yourself short. There will always be those out there who will look to make a cheaper deal, and you should always be getting what you deserve and nothing less.

Learn To Negotiate For Salaries

Negotiation is something that some of us are good at, and some of us are rubbish at or don’t even bother. The art of negotiating can be used throughout your life and can be helpful in a variety of ways. Whether that’s cutting a deal with a car dealership for your new car or finding a cheaper price for something you’re trying to buy at a car boot sale. There are plenty of opportunities, and the same can be said for your salary. Salaries are something that can be negotiated, but not everyone does it because they feel like the salary is something that’s been advertised and therefore locked in. However, once you’ve got the point where they want you for the job, this can be a good place to start negotiating. 

It’s worth taking a look online with platforms like LinkedIn. They have handy tools that can help you find the average salaries for different jobs, and you might find that you’re on the lower end or possibly not even getting near enough. The more money you do get, the more financially successful you become in being able to negotiate with pay rises and promotions.

Get Educated

It’s important to learn because learning is powerful, and it can also make you financially successful too. The influence that it can bring can help elevate your current role that you’re in, or it can open doors to opportunities that you hadn’t considered before. So when you’re going through life, you should always be on the lookout for the chance to become more educated than you were before. Each day is a chance to learn something new and the career you’re in now, might not be something you end up doing further down the line. What about going back to full-time education or doing an online course? There are plenty out there, and places like the University of Nevada Reno are offering courses online that make it possible for anyone to do. If you’re thinking about getting further education, make sure to weigh up the options about what this can provide for you both in terms of your happiness and fulfillment but also financially. These courses cost money, so you want to ensure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Stick To A Budget

It’s not easy to stick to a budget, and some people won’t be financially successful because they end up struggling to manage their money properly. Being able to manage your money is a lot easier than you think, and sometimes, it just takes a little bit of control. We all have our income, whether it comes in irregularly or on a monthly basis. What we can do with that is lay it out on a spreadsheet like Excel and document all your expenditures. Being able to see where your money goes and how much you will have left of it can help you understand where you might be going wrong. You always want to have money left over by your next paycheck so that you can put this away in savings or towards a pension plan you might have. Everything you save can end up providing you with a much better quality of life because you’ll spend less time worrying about going into debt or having no money left. Being able to struggle a little less can be beneficial.

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Invest & Diversify A Portfolio

Investing is one thing that’s worth considering, and with the online world being what it is, investment is not just for those who already have plenty of money. You have p2p lending, stocks, and bonds to consider as well as investing in property both physically and through stock form. By investing, you increase the opportunity to have more financial success, but it also gives you a chance to take risks in life, which is healthy to a certain degree. Diversifying your investment portfolio is also recommended in order to help make the most out of your money. If you’re not diversifying it, it’s like putting all your eggs into one basket.

Have A Savings Plan

Savings are good to have because they can help you in your time of need. When you don’t have savings, it causes problems and can put you at risk. What happens if your car needs replacing or your boiler breaks down, and you have no disposable income apart from your wages? For peace of mind and security, it’s a good idea to have a savings plan in place. This can help you learn to save and to show yourself that it is possible to save money from what you get from each pay packet. Open up a savings account and make it one that you don’t necessarily have a lot of access to so that you’re not tempted to dip into it.

You could also automate your savings by setting up a standing order to the account, and therefore, you’ll consider it to be like any other bill payment that you make.

Create A Side Hustle

A side hustle is something that you some people have that is an addition to what they do as a full-time career. For some people, the work life of a full-time job isn’t enough, and they may have other personal passions and dreams that could make them money in theory. Whether that’s running a YouTube channel or becoming a weekend handyman. There are lots of ways that you can create a side hustle nowadays, and if you have the drive to do so, you might as well give it your best shot. You never know, you could become financially successful off it and end up quitting your current job because of it.

Being more financially successful in life is what you make it to be. Whether it’s owning several properties or just being comfortable each month, it’s up to you what you want that to be. Use these tips to help you get there.

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Building Your Brand On A Budget

When you are launching a business, you want to launch it as cheaply as possible. You already have a lot to spend out, and when it comes to your branding, you need to think of ways to have it slick and powerful – without a massive spend, or instead of spending just in the right places.

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Let’s talk… 

Use What You Have

There is a big temptation when you are starting a business to buy new things to use. Of course, you want new notebooks, branded pens, and glow in the dark ink… things that you feel will put the fire under you and will give you the big juice on the branding and your business. But, resist temptation. Hold back. 

Use what you have at your disposal right now. If you have a mobile phone, you can take photos and make videos. If you have access to the internet, you can create logos and color palettes. Heck, you can even build a virtual team this way too. A limited budget forces you to get creative to go with it. 

Templates Make The World Go Around

So use them! For sure, you want to be a unique and individual company, and you can’t do that with a template… or can you? Wix, Squarespace, Canva, PicMonkey, and https://www.templafy.com/ have some of the most customizable templates on the market. Meaning that you have simple and practical tools and can create a website, social media posts, and all of your business documents in minutes. Small spend, big perks. 

If you are, however, blessed with excellent technical skills, coding, or the affinity for graphic design, then consider this a way to speed up your own process and something that can be tweaked and molded to exactly what you need. 

Exclusive

If people don’t think they can get something, it becomes something they NEED. FOMO will almost always work in your favor. If you can create a sense of need or even one of curiosity, you are going to do better than 99% of other start-ups. 

The option for early adoption, critical access, a waiting list – all entices people. Not showing all of your cards straight away can be a big deal. 

Collaboration

Who you do business with, will dictate who does business with you. For example, if you are a make-up brand, and you are currently working with companies that test on animals – you’re going to feel the force of losing credibility pretty quickly. 

And, will miss out on being endorsed by millions. However, partner with the right animal charity for the right reasons – and you’ll cement your position in the area you really want to be in. 

When you collaborate, you can maximize your brand awareness and your research pretty quickly. Look for a person or a company that has the same ethos and vision as you to maximize the chances of working well together. 

When you don’t have a big budget, that can actually be a more powerful motivator than being able to pay for everything to be done. So use it. 

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