Using A Micro Loan To Start A Home Business

The micro loan began to support poverty stricken people, who were unable to prove that they could repay. Using charitable donations, these impoverished individuals could fund their small businesses, and start to create some wealth and income by themselves. Frequently, a high rate of interest is charged, due to the servicing difficulties of these small loans. However, for those who have no alternative option, these loans can be very welcome.

Using A Micro Loan To Start A Home Business

Micro lending schemes have been very successful, and have started to be used on more mainstream projects. A home business start up, with an unproven business plan, or a stay at home mom, who has no collateral and little credit, could both benefit from micro lending. Although micro loans normally mean small amounts overseas (i.e. roughly $100.00 on average), this is a bit different in the US. Usually, banks do not provide loans below $50000.00 for small businesses. However, with micro lending, the majority are from $1000.00 to $15000.00. Obviously, this fluctuates depending on the lender.

While micro loans are easier to acquire than traditional loans, and normally permit lower borrowed amounts, you still have to satisfy a few requirements to qualify for one. This varies depending on whom you borrow from, but here are some of the more common criteria. You must not have filed for bankruptcy recently, you must prove you have a stable income to support the loan repayment, you must have no overdue bills, and you must not have a credit score that is classed as "high risk".

As with all start up businesses, a sound business plan is a prerequisite. This is particularly true whenever you lack the collateral or credit to obtain a standard loan. You will need to prove that you are prepared to use your micro loan to create sufficient income to repay your lender.
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How to Save Money - Even on a Tight Budget

The expense of higher education seems dear when you’re looking at tuition and student-loan interest rates, but when you start factoring in the cost of living, the numbers begin to seem staggering. If you’re pinching pennies in college or grad school, you’d better be prepared to tap all your creative faculties. Living frugally isn’t impossible, but it is at times an art form that requires experience and energy to master. From buying generic brand goods to riding a bike, these five tips to save money will help you meet your budgetary goals:

1. Buy Generic Brands

From breakfast cereal to prescription drugs, you can save money on many products simply by giving up the brand name. Generic brands are often able to produce identical products at lower prices simply by cutting down on marketing and advertising costs. You will be amazed at the difference: Generic cereals are often half the cost of the original, and prescription drugs can be hundreds of dollars cheaper.

2. Use the Library

One of our nation’s most under-appreciated and valuable public institutions is the public library, and students also have access to well-stocked private institutional libraries as well. Avoid purchasing textbooks and research materials unless absolutely necessary, but make sure to check out the books you need early (i.e before your classmates do!).

3. Find Online Discounts

Coupon-clipping has fallen out of fashion, but there are zillions of apps that will help you save money in ingenious ways. Savored allows you to book last minute reservations for fine dining at deep discounts, which is an unbelievable combination, and Foursquare will tell you where your friends are shopping and eating, while also alerting you to sweet deals at the same locations.

4. Ride a Bike

Biking will save you the expense of gas or a monthly subway pass. Plus, in some large cities, a bike will get you where you’re going faster than a car or public transportation! It’s the right thing to do for the environment and an excellent form of exercise. If you’re not convinced yet, you’re probably just being stubborn. Loosen up -- by taking a ride!

5. Buy a Printer

Printing on campus or at a copyshop costs a fortune, while older-model printers can be bought dirt cheap. This will also save you the trouble of waiting in line to print, and dealing with the paper jams in the arcane industrial-sized machines on campus.

While these five tips to save money will help you shrink your spending, they aren’t the only ways to reduce costs. The trick to living frugally is making conscious decisions about how you spend your money and bringing those decisions into line with your real priorities. Marketing and advertising are designed to provoke impulse spending on items we don’t really value, and this is one major area where Americans lose control of their budgets. If you think about why you want something, how badly you want it and what else you could spend the money on each time you take out your wallet, you’ll be surprised how many purchases you can do without.

About the author : 

Melissa Woodson is the community manager for @WashULaw, one of the premier LLM programs offered through Washington University in St. Louis that allows foreign attorneys to earn their llm degree online. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.
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Pay Yourself First: Savings Tips and Tricks

The ancient Babylonians were credited with mean the first people who came up with the idea of "paying yourself first." Although it is an old idea, it is still just as effective today as it was then. If you want to be able to grow your wealth, and live a more comfortable lifestyle, paying yourself first is critical. Here are a few tips and tricks that you can use to pay yourself first and boost your savings.

Take Some of Your Paycheck First

Pay Yourself First: Savings Tips and Tricks
In some cases, you can have a portion of your paycheck put directly into some sort of savings account. Some payroll service providers make it possible for employees to send money from their paychecks to multiple accounts. You could have some of your paycheck go into your main checking account and another portion go into a savings account or an investment account. By doing this, you won't even notice the money coming out of your paycheck. Before long, you'll have a large sum built up in your savings account.

Automatic Transfers

Another way that you can pay yourself first is to have automatic transfers set up with your bank account. For instance, you can set it up to have an automatic transfer done from your bank account to a savings account every time you get paid. When you make it automatic, you take it out of your hands. You don't have to make a conscious decision to transfer money to your account every month. By doing this, you can accumulate some major savings along the way. 

Don't Wait 

One of the big mistakes that many people make when it comes to saving money is that they try to wait until later in the month to transfer money to a savings account. They think that they'll pay all of the bills and expenses that they have, and then save anything that is left over. The problem with this scenario is that there is nothing left over. If you transfer the money right when you get paid, you have a much better chance of being able to actually save some money. Otherwise, you'll probably end up spending most of the money before it can hit your savings account.

Special Debit Card

Some banks are now offering special debit cards that transfer the change left over on each purchase to a savings account. For example, if you spend $4.20, $.80 will be transferred to your savings account. This makes it easy to get some money in a savings account. 

Overall, there are plenty of ways for you to start saving, if you will just do it. Make it a priority to begin saving money today.
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Two Methods to Reduce Credit Card Debt

The warning signs are all there. Your credit card bills are slowly increasing, while more and more you have to juggle your finances to pay everything on time. Even worse is if you miss a payment and face even greater challenges with penalty fees and increased interest rates. You know you need to take action to get your debt under control, but what’s the most effective way to pay back what you owe?

There are two methods to reduce credit card debt that have proven effective for consumers. Which method you choose is largely a matter of where you are with your finances and how you feel the most comfortable in paying them back.

Method 1: The Debt Meltdown Method

With this strategy of debt reduction, you focus all of your efforts to paying off your high interest rate debts first. Since these debts build faster with accrued interest, it is often more efficient to pay them off first. In the long run you save money because you pay less for interest added to your debts.

Two Methods to Reduce Credit Card Debt

You start by taking aggressive action to streamline your budget as much as possible. This allows you to free up money that can be put towards reducing your debt. Reduce discretionary expenses as much as you can for a while and look for ways to reduce flexible expenses, such as food or gas. You may need to commit to eating at home more and taking your lunch to work, couponing, and finding people to carpool with so you can share the high cost of gas. Keep in mind these cutbacks are only temporary, so these expenses can be reestablished once your debts are paid.

Once you have as much money as possible, focus that extra cash on paying off your highest interest rate debt first. Pay all of the minimum amounts required on the rest of your credit card bills, but put everything you freed up from your budget to paying off one debt at a time. After you pay off your highest interest rate debt, move on to your next highest, and so on until you are debt-free.

Method 2: The Debt Rollup Method

In some cases – either because your highest interest rate debt is too large or because you can’t free up enough money to pay it off quickly – you may wish to use the debt rollup method instead. This strategy largely works in the same way, except you focus on paying off the debt with the smallest balance first.

This allows you to see a positive impact from your efforts faster. It can also help you gain momentum to tackle your bigger debts. After you pay off the first credit card, you can “roll up” that money with the money freed up from your budget to pay off the next smallest debt. With each debt you pay, you have more money available to pay off the next debt until you are completely free of credit card debt.

If you assess your budget and even the rollup method won’t allow you to pay off your debts efficiently, it may be time to seek help. Contact a trained credit counselor to get an assessment of your situation. They can evaluate your debts, review your budget, and provide options to help you find relief from debt.

About the author : Connie Solidad has been writing about finances and debt consolidation for years. She's an expert in the industry and writes about debt management and credit counseling options and resources. When Connie is not working, she loves playing with her two dogs in Tampa, Florida. To learn more about debt management refer to 
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Remodeling: Keeping it Affordable

In the current tough-as-nails housing market, there’s no question that remodeling your home can add some much needed resale value to your home. While taking out a loan and hiring a licensed contractor to do a major remodel will yield great results, many of us just can’t afford the cost. Luckily, there are many simple things you can do to drastically change the look of a room in your house while not spending a lot of money.

Before we begin with the specifics, let’s get into some general concepts.

Remodeling: Keeping it Affordable
1) Concentrate on one room or one series of rooms (kitchen or bathrooms come to mind) instead of tackling the whole house.

2) Second, if you’re remodeling on a budget it’s best to pay cash for everything and not take out a loan.

3) Keep a very close eye on your budget. Lists and spreadsheets are your friend. Plan it out ahead of time.

4) Warm colors are in right now—they’ll bring a positive, relaxing energy to your home. Fifth, start small but look at the big picture. This will make more sense as we go through some specific ideas.


That little plate around your light switch or electrical outlet is often ignored, but let’s face it- these often off-white or cream-colored pieces of plastic often accumulate a staggering amount of dirt and grime over the years. Swapping them out with new switchplates (in warm colors) will highlight all the work you’ve done to a room. They’re cheap and they make a big difference.


Faucet knobs, cabinet hardware and door handles are easily replaced. Since we touch them so much, they often show signs of wear and tear faster than many other items in our homes. Sticking with the warm color scheme, bronze or a convincing faux-bronze are great options for sprucing up a room.


This is perhaps the cheapest way to make a big change in a room. For a kitchen or bathroom, try using a high gloss paint that won’t absorb spills or splatters. If you’re on an extremely tight budget, remember that you can change the whole tone of the room with just one accent wall painted in a different color.


Old, raggedy curtains are an eyesore. Old floral curtains that have been in a home for decades can also bog a living space down. There are many inexpensive curtain options available, and almost any set of curtains that looks bright and clean will drastically improve the look of a room.


Just as faucets get an overwhelming amount of traffic from our hands, rugs are abused by dirty shoes and what we track in from the outside world. Kitchen and bathroom rugs are battered by water, both dirty and clean, and a multitude of soaps and cleaning products. Look closely at the rug in the room you’re remodeling, and if it needs a change, swap it out. A new rug can really tie a room together.


Even if you’re not replacing the entire cabinet system, this can add up quickly. If it’s in your budget, swap out cabinet doors with freshly varnished or painted replacements. If you’re on a slimmer budget that does not allow new cabinet doors, just replace the handles and hardware. A little new metal goes a long way.


This is perhaps the cheapest thing you can do to improve the look of a room. Remove the clutter from bookcases, countertops and other surfaces. If a surface looks wide open then it looks more inviting. Less clutter gives a room a new, cared-for feel. No one is saying you need to get rid of your knick knacks or your salt and pepper shakers—just put them somewhere out of sight.

Utilizing any combination of these ideas should provide a cheap, easy way to breathe new life into a room without relying on loans or a contractor. If you plan the remodel out ahead of time, keep a tight budget and look at the big picture while you change small things, you’ll be living in a brand new space in no time at all.

About the author : Tim Richmond is a passionate blogger who writes about the economy, finance and home ownership. He is an online publisher for 1st Tribal lending.
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An Idiot’s Guide to IR35

An Idiot’s Guide to IR35
Have you ever found yourself feeling slightly dazed and confused about IR35 legislation? If so, you’re not alone! The IR35 is a difficult topic to get to grips with for many contractors and entrepreneurs, so it’s about time we put together a straightforward, no-nonsense idiot’s guide to this piece of legislation, to allow you to stay out of financial difficulty.

The legislation was introduced back in 2000 in early April. At the time, the UK ir35 rules launched by the government were intended to stop individuals from leaving their jobs on Friday before coming back to the office the following Monday in the role of a contracted ‘consultant’, thereby enjoying tax relief benefits while still receiving the standard employee benefits. This sort of ‘disguised employment’ was a massive problem in the 1990s, and the IR35 was meant to render the widespread issue redundant in the workplace.

Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly go to plan!

Since the introduction of the IR35, numerous sole traders and limited companies have found themselves falling unwittingly foul of the legislation, perhaps as a result of their business practices not closely matching those of contractors in the same industry, or perhaps as a result of failing to produce accurate documentation of their business practices for an official HMRC investigation.

Let’s take a look at the aspects HMRC may investigate in order to check whether or not you fall outside IR35:

Financial Risk: It is a rare occurrence for permanent employees to put their finances at serious risk. It therefore makes sense that, In order to be outside IR35, you need to prove that you’re at financial risk. Let’s say, for example, that a client fails to pay you on time. As a contractor, this places you at financial risk and this is something you need to prove.

Company Benefits: All contractors falling outside IR35 will not be entitled to company benefits such as holiday pay, pension contributions, sick pay, or training courses.

Control: Are you in control of your daily work schedule? Can you clearly demonstrate this? You’ll need to be able to if HMRC start prying.

Company equipment: The company equipment debate is a bit of a grey area, as some clients do not allow personal laptops to be used due to security fears. It is, however, something to keep in mind.

Performing Your Task: The IR35 rules state that there should be a clause in your contract that disallows any other person from performing the role you’ve been hired to perform by any given company.

Dismissal period: If you have a set notice period in certain industries, HMRC might consider this asking to the rules that apply to a permanent employee. As such, many contractors have immediate terminations written into their contracts. This might seem like a bit of a negative point, but think positively; this could turn out well for you if the company hiring you turns out not to be the best to work for!

It is worth remembering that there are significant advantages to keeping within IR35 as a contractor. For example, you will be able to enjoy tax relief by claiming business expenses, with the aim being to help develop your business for the future while improving the services you have to offer potential clients.

One thing to bear in mind, though: you need to keep receipts as evidence of all the expenses incurred during your work contract. HMRC are within their rights to ask to see all records dating back as far back as the last six years, so don’t be too quick to throw those flimsy bits of paper in the bin!

Claiming expenses if you own a limited company is quite a straightforward process. Any expenses claimed must be for your business, which can cover aspects such as travel costs, overnight accommodation, meals consumed away from your place of work, pensions, and training courses.

Meanwhile, if your contract falls within IR35, bear in mind that the only expenses you can claim are admin costs, fixed at 5% of your contract income, travel and accommodation expenses, pension contributions.

Being a full time employee brings with it its own benefits, but contracting through your own limited company or setting up as a sole trader can also bring with it some serious advantages. The IR35 rules may well be open to interpretation due to a couple of grey areas, but a good contractor accountancy will be able to clarify any confusion for you. Some accountants will even offer a verbal review free of charge in order to encourage you to call back with other issues and requests for services.
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5 Apps For Managing Personal Finance

If you are looking for an easy and convenient way to keep track of your finances, both at home and on-the-go, use your iPhone, Android or Blackberry phone to organize your financial life. There are hundreds of personal finance apps available for download, but only a few can provide a comprehensive picture of your current and future financial life. 

1. (iPhone, BlackBerry and Android) is an impressive personal finance app that allows users to manage and track spending and savings. The app syncs with the website, allowing users to access their profile directly from their smartphone device. This handy app compiles a wealth of financial information including user’s bank accounts, credit cards, loans and retirement accounts. 

5 Apps For Managing Personal Finance

In addition to providing a comprehensive picture of user’s financial information, the app tracks and charts spending, provides handy bill pay reminders and categorizes debit and credit card transactions. One of the app’s coolest features is its ability to create charts and graphs that track your spending trends. The app also allows users to compare their spending habits with other users. The app is free and can be downloaded from your smartphone’s app store.

2. MoneyStrands (iPhone)

MoneyStrands is a personal finance app that compiles and categorizes information from your checking and credit card accounts. In addition to compiling financial information, the app provides a visual spending analysis to help users better understand their own spending and saving habits. 

One of the app’s best features is its ability to compare user’s spending habits with other people who share similar demographics. MoneyStrands is available for the iPod Touch and iPhone and can be downloaded for free. 

3. RetirePlan (iPad)

If you are close to retirement or looking to get a better picture of your post-retirement budget, RetirePlan can help you gain a better understanding of your future financial life. This handy app allows users to upload their financial data and run scenarios to see how different variables will impact their retirement plans.

The app helps users determine the best age to retire, charts annual retirement savings goals and projects how long your retirement savings will last. One of the app’s best features is the variable calculator. The variable calculator allows users to see how changes in their pension, social security, interest rates and inflation will impact their retirements saving. RetirePlan is only available for the iPad and can be downloaded from the iTunes Store for free. 

4. PayPal (iPhone, BlackBerry and Android)

If you like making online purchases but don’t want to use your credit or debit card for your transaction, then you probably already have a Paypal account. If you have a PayPal account, be sure to download the PayPal app to your smartphone to keep track of your PayPal account information and online spending. 

This handy little app allows mobile users to check their Paypal balance on-the-go, withdraw and add funds to their account and transfer cash between their PayPal account and bank account. Download the free PayPal app from your smartphone’s app store. 

5. Smart Money Retirement Planner (iPhone and Android)

Whether you are fresh out of college or ending your career as a business professional, it never hurts to think about retirement… and the SmartMoney Retirement Planner app can help you do it! This powerful app helps users understand how their day-to-day financial choices impact their plans for retirement.

The app compiles user’s demographic and financial information, including assets, 401K and home equity, to run scenarios which determine how inflation, changes in social security, debt and taxes will impact their retirement plans. SmartMoney Retirement Planner is available for iPhone and Android phones and can be downloaded for free. 
About the author : Rosie writes on behalf of a number of businesses ranging from Auto Enrolment Administration to holiday destinations. She enjoys reading design and technology blogs and baking sweet treats. Any opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily represent the businesses Rosie writes for.
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Business Budgeting: Monthly Copier Lease Rates

For many business owners who don't have the budget to buy a large, high-capacity commercial copier, leasing is a smarter and more affordable alternative. Leasing is also great for small to medium offices in need of equipment on a limited budget.

However, it's very important to become familiar with average monthly copier lease rates to make sure you are getting the most competitive deal when signing a lease for office equipment.

Average Monthly Copier Lease Rates for Small to Large Offices

So what are the prices? Glad you asked:
  • To lease a business copier with a 2500 count paper capacity, 45 CPM, and network printing functions, it can cost $208 a month for a 39 month lease.
  • An even larger commercial quality color copier can be leased for $309 a month with a 60 month minimum lease, with additional 6 cent charges for color copying and 1 cent charges for black and white copies.
  • Smaller offices can take advantage of a cheaper $70 per month lease for a low-volume copier with 20-30 ppm.
If you're still at a crossroads and can't decide whether it’s the smartest business solution to lease or buy a copier, it’s essential to assess if your business can afford paying a monthly lease throughout the entire term of the agreement.

Copier Leasing versus Buying

Most copier leases are long agreements that will extend from one to three years with monthly payments required for the duration of the contract.

Business Budgeting: Monthly Copier Lease Rates
For businesses that don't have thousands of extra dollars in their budget to purchase a large-scale commercial copier outright, leasing may seem to make more sense. However, the cost of a lease for several years must be tallied and compared to the total investment of purchasing a commercial volume copier outright.

In many instances, a copier lease may work better for an established business or a company that has short-term copying needs. But if you are a small to medium-sized company that has the means to put a down payment on a commercial copier, it will be wiser investment of your funds since you will own the equipment in full.

How to Compare and Find the Best Copier Lease Rates

Taking into account that a copier lease could range from as little as $70 per month to over $300 per month for a 60 month lease, it's important to compare average prices from leasing retailers before entering into an agreement.

As you begin to compare copier lease rates between leading companies, take the time to calculate the total cost of buying a copier compared to how much you will pay for the entire length of your monthly contract. This will give you actual numbers that you can use to determine if the expense of a copier lease makes more financial sense than setting up a payment plan to buy a copier brand-new.

About the author: Sylvia enjoys writing about ways business owners can save money. Researching copier lease rates is just one of the methods she’s written on.
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Tips For Buying Laptops on a Budget

Cup of coffee? Check. Pen and sales papers? Check. Internet browser open and ready? Check. Now you’re ready to learn how to find the best laptop deals! While it may seem simple to some to blindly wander into their local electronics store and choose the first laptop they see with all the bells and whistles, there really is an art to finding just the right laptop to fit your needs as well as giving you all the fantastic “perks” that you’re looking for at just the right price.

Set your budget.

The first thing to do, as you should anytime you’re making an investment purchase, is to set your budget. Laptops vary in style, color, even screen size and of course, memory and processor speed. Setting a budget will affect the type of laptop you actually end up with as opposed to the one you want. Most laptops average in price from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Factors that play a major role in the price will be the amount of storage space and the speed of the processors.

Know your product.

Tips For Buying Laptops on a Budget
Would you buy a house without doing a walkthrough? Or buy a car without test-driving it first? Buying a laptop is no different, it is an investment. What good is your hard-earned money if you spend it on something you know absolutely nothing about? Make sure that you are not just buying, but buying smart. If all you need a laptop for is to do homework assignments and surf the web, then you probably don’t need to buy a high-end laptop with a processor that works faster than the speed of light, leaving you with a large hole in your wallet.

Laptops come with different “abilities”, that is, different amounts of memory and speed to fit your purpose. Find out if it comes with software you need pre-installed or do you have to purchase programs separately. Remember the more programs you install the more memory you should have. Knowing your product will help you stay on budget and get you the laptop you need and not the laptop that makes someone a sizeable commission. Determine what you will be using the laptop for and how long you expect to get good use out of it before it needs to be replaced or upgraded.

Get back to basics…stretch your dollar.

Remember those days in school when your teacher gave a research assignment to the class for homework? Making your money work for you is all about getting back to basics. Know your budget, know your needs and then start searching. Sunday paper advertisements are always a great place to start, but even better than that is the good ‘ole internet. The internet gives you access to not only local deals, but worldwide as well and as long as your research skills are up to par, you can luck up on the perfect laptop.

In today’s economy, everyone is shopping smarter. There’s no reason you should be paying full retail for laptops (or anything else for that matter). Again, let the internet work to your advantage by searching for online coupon codes. Many highly sought after brand names offer online coupons or some sort of discount. This includes Dell, HP, Toshiba, even Apple. If you’re a student, check with your college or university for amazing student discounts. Compare online prices to in-store as well. Often, the in-store price or savings can outweigh purchasing online. Sign up with online rebate websites like Fatwallet or Ebates; they can get you some of your cash back, anywhere from 1-5% on items you’ve purchased. Now, how’s that for savvy shopping?

Finally, try not to do the brand name shuffle. A laptop from Dell or Toshiba is just as good as one made by Acer or Apple. Sometimes, all you’re really paying for is the brand name. Read product reviews by consumers and see what experiences they’ve had with the product themselves. There’s no better advertisement than word of mouth, so if someone thinks a laptop they’ve bought is crap, you best believe they’ll tell people about it on the web. Use all the tools at your disposal, both in print and online and you’ll be all the wiser for it. Happy shopping!
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Pound Battles the Euro in the Foreign Currency Markets

It has been impossible not to notice, especially amongst holidaymakers in Europe, how badly the British pound was performing against the Euro in the foreign currency exchange market. News is not improving after the pound fell against the Euro and the UK economy slumped back into recession. This will undoubtedly affect those involved in Forex trading and financial spread betting.

According to a report on the BBC, the British pound recently secured its best position in relation to the Euro in 2012 after a 7 month high against the dollar and this will have satisfied holidaymakers heading abroad this summer because it previously made less than pretty reading for those who kept an eye on the foreign currency exchange markets. However, numerous factors have combined recently to affect the position of the pound against both the Euro and the Dollar in the foreign currency markets. The chief catalyst for recent improvements is unquestionably the fact that Britain are seen to be well position to be one of the first to successfully banish the recession and this has created an air of positivity around our economy which is reflected in the heightening of exchange rate of the pound. For anyone planning a holiday in Europe or to make a large level overseas payment, it may be prudent to strike while the iron is hot and speak to foreign currency experts about what you need to do to make sure you capitalise on the Sterling's current strength.

Foreign Currency – Economy on the Up

According to the report on the BBC, the economy in the UK increased in the past 7 months and this has borne fruit with the British Pound reaching its best level of the year against both the Dollar. It has been perfectly timed in some senses as this is the time of year in which most people in the UK intend to venture abroad and the news that their money will go further in the foreign currency exchange market than would have been the case earlier in the year will certainly be welcomed. It goes without saying, however, that a good foreign currency exchange rate isn't the end of the matter when it comes to make your money go further when abroad as most now realise that seeking out the specialist services of foreign currency experts, they will invariably secure a much better exchange rate than that which is to be found amongst mainstream providers on the high street.

Foreign Currency – Making the Most of your Money

Taking advantage of the strength of the pound is something which many in the UK will be unable to do now and they are being advised to move quickly and seek the advice of foreign currency specialists who will go that extra mile to ensure the best exchange rates are secured; a characteristic that is seldom found amongst more mainstream foreign currency providers on the high street.
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Retirement Annuity – A Financial Means to Live Life Happily

Undeniably, there are several retirement policies to consider in the global economic market. Once you start ransacking the online search engines, you come across numerous financial policies that have been designed to keep retirees financially secured throughout their retirement period. One such monetary scheme is annuity that can be accessed only on making an agreement with an insurance company. Once the contract is successfully made, the insurance company will keep providing a regular income to the annuitant till the policy matures. There are many retirees who buy annuity schemes with the intention to give proper shape to their finances that can help them strengthen their financial abilities during the postretirement period. Well, you can do the same only after proper research work.

Types of Annuity Schemes

Now, there are different types of retirement annuity plans – Fixed and Variable.
  • Fixed – The annuity plans under this category are usually invested in conservative vehicles or the bond funds used by an insurance agency. In fact, one is not required to spend time in handling the investing after the payment of the premium. This entire task will be handled by the insurance company singlehandedly.
  • Variable – The rate of interest can never remain stable in case of a variable annuity. It all depends on the market conditions whether the interest rate for variable annuities will rise or fall.

Which is Safer – Variable or Fixed

Annuity professionals now opine that a variable annuity is the best financial policy that can let retirees obtain potential gains. However, risks are certainly involved since variable annuity holders will have to remain in anxiety whether the market conditions experience any turmoil. Once it happens, their interest rates will be lowered and consequently, their income will be reduced to a good extent. In this respect, a fixed retirement annuity is still a safer option since you will enjoy a fixed rate of interest till your annuity contract comes to an end.

Look for Good Insurance Companies

Remember, a good insurance company will allow you to set a time period of your choice. However, annuitants prefer to pay off the annuities over a time period of five, ten or maximum fifteen years. In this context, lifetime annuity is certainly a superb option since the annuitant gets an assurance that he/she can now live significantly longer than average. If the annuitant however dies before the completion of the term set in the contract, he/she will not get the extra funds hidden in the premium.

Check & Compare Retirement Annuity Rates

The annuity rates vary from one insurance company to another. The better the rates, the greater are the returns. However, there are several factors that determine how good the returns can be. The insurance company’s management overhead; the role of investments; the number of customers; the condition of the business etc are some of the prime factors that actually judge the nature of your returns. So, research accordingly and find a good insurance company to buy a retirement annuity policy.
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Calculate your Annuity Payouts with an Annuity Calculator

So, what are your postretirement plans? Are you planning to depend on pensions throughout your entire life? If it be so, are you aware of the interest rates which will determine your income at the end of every month? Now, it’s no doubt painful to knock your pension department every month to check whether your payments are ready. So, why take pains and suffer unnecessary delay in your regular income? In fact, annuities can help you make your life smoother and keep you financially stable.

An annuity payment is synonymous to a loan payment provided by an insurance company. Many annuitants however come up with questions related to payment calculations. Since these schemes are new to many retirees, proper researches should be done to know how much one can possibly draw in respect to a certain time period. So, the best thing that can only help you calculate annuity payments is an annuity calculator. Now, the question is how to correctly calculate the payments with the help of such a specialized calculator.

So, here are some instructions that can help annuitants calculate their earnings with the help of an annuity calculator:

Know your policy 

As a matter of fact, a certain portion of the money comes as a part of interest and the rest of the amount is treated as the principal. On receiving the annuity payment, the annuitant pays the tax for a certain portion, that is, the interest. Once the money is invested in annuity, one cannot access the principal since it acts as the steam of payments.

Calculate your life expectancy

For providing an annuity scheme, an insurance company follows a projected life expectancy chart designed on the basis of a massive population. Now, the insurance company is certainly unaware of the fact whether you are well or not. However, the numbers are based on the average. Women are considered to live more than men and therefore, they get the maximum annuity payments than men.

Ask for annuity rates

Although 6% of an annuity is paid in the accumulation phase, one is not required to pay the same rate of interest on liquidizing a portion of it. The insurance company takes the liberty to raise and reduce the interest rates during the accumulation period. Therefore, it’s advisable to know beforehand the rates offered by insurance agencies.

Avoid formulas to make Calculations Easier

Calculating annuity payments using formulas can be confusing. Rather, get an annuity calculator. This will help you calculate the exact amount you can possibly earn at the end of your set time period. However, if you think that you are not able to use such calculators flexibly, you can always get in touch with an annuity professional online.

So, do your researches well, choose your preferred annuity policy and order an annuity calculator online today so that you can assure financial stability for your family members.
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Profiting in Hard Times with Forex Trading

The recession has left many businesses and currencies at the brink of collapse. With experts predicting the Euro will not survive the year intact, it is hard to see how investors can succeed within the current economic climate. However, many keen traders and Forex brokers see Forex trading as a viable option for profiting in hard times as well as during periods of economic stability. Many traders are realising that they can benefit from markets suffering as they trade on the fluctuations that inevitably come with currency values.

Forex traders can trade both falling and rising markets so there are opportunities to turn a profit whether the markets go up or down. Individual traders attempt to maximise their profit on each trade by trading at the right time. Forex traders can select a currency pair that they expect to change in value and trade according to their market predictions. Should a trader choose to end their trade, the Forex broker will credit their account with a loss or gain.

In order to achieve their financial goals, both novice and experienced traders must research trades which they believe may be opportunistic. Forex traders must investigate the currency pairs and current worldwide events that may affect their stability. Learning about how financial markets can impact each other is often the best way to ensure you trade successfully whether profiting or avoiding financial loss.

The Euro remains resilient despite predictions by financial experts of an imminent collapse. By monitoring how the Euro is currently changing in value, Forex traders can trade on the market going down and profit from ending their trade at the right moment. A genuine trading method like this can give you better chance of making large gains on the Forex market despite the plummeting currency.

Forex traders must maximise their trading with the most appropriate FX trading platform for their needs. In order to avoid losses, Forex traders must look for reliable Forex trading platforms that contain accurate and timely technical analysis of the foreign exchange market. Access to high quality analysis and current financial trading news can help traders make the most profitable financial decisions.

Because Forex trades 24 hours a day, monitoring their financial position is crucial to traders looking to maximise their trading opportunities. With a close eye on the market, traders can exercise greater control over their trade by knowing when best to place and end a trade.
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Personal Finance Resolutions for 2012

Another year has passed. Unfortunately while many people had lost their homes, jobs and money in the stock market during last year, it may seem almost hopeless to make any personal finance resolutions for 2012, or is it? There is hope, and with practical steps there are ways you can begin to immediately save money, and even invest in 2012.

Ways to save money during 2012

People are frantically searching for ways to protect and save their hard earned money this year like never before. Because of all the government bank bail-outs, banks no longer inspire people to invest. On the contrary, the current financial situation in America has inspired people to save money in 2012.

Credit Cards – One of the first personal financial resolutions for 2012 should be to get the lowest possible interest rates on any loans or credit cards you may have. In this way, you can save a little or a lot of money each month, which can add up to big saving over the course of a year.

You can do this by transferring existing credit debt, if possible, to a 0% credit card, even if it is only for a few months to take advantage of the low interest rate. Once the 0% credit promotion has expired, you can then either transfer the credit to another card with 0% or if your credit is ok, apply for another card or loan that has 0% interest rate.

In this way you could possibly avoid paying interest on your loans and credit cards for six months or more, and then use the money you save to pay down your credit faster. Your ultimate financial goal for 2012 should be to pay down your debt, and ultimately eliminate it.

Tax efficient savings account -- Depending on how much savings you may have stored up, you should find out how much tax you are paying on your interest, so you don’t have to pay more than you have too. Usually a normal savings type of an account will be taxed at a regular or standard rate, while some creative savings schemes have been known to pay nothing in tax.

How to spend less in 2012

Make a list – It is amazing to discover that many people don’t have a set or fixed budget. Whether you have a budget or not, making a list of your daily expenditures is a great way to see where every penny you spend goes each day. In this way you can get an idea of what necessary and no essential things you buy daily. Once people do this, they are amazed how much money they spend each month on non-essential items and activities.

Controlling spending may seem hard at first, but your goal is to save as much money as you can, while at the same time paying down your debt each month to meet your personal finance resolutions for 2012.

Cancel auto-payments – You may want to re-evaluate any monthly or yearly auto-payments on your credit cards and PayPal account. You may be able to do without some of the monthly or yearly services and subscriptions you have. The money you save from cancelling them, along with the few dollars saved cutting back on daily miscellaneous spending can add up to a lot.

Now-a-days people are shocked to discover with regularity auto payments being taken from their PayPal accounts from services or subscriptions they assumed where cancelled months earlier. This can be a hole in the boat of any attempt at saving money.

Cut your monthly bills in 2012

If you’re looking to find some personal finance resolutions for 2012, then look no farther than your utility bills. In some regions domestic fuel prices skyrocket more than 20% last year alone! Turning off unnecessary lights whenever possible can save more than you realize.

Using lower watt bulbs, using solar lights outside your home and tinting your windows are all effective ways of whittling away at your utility bill each month. Installing a programmable thermostat for the winter and summer months when you’re sleeping or not in the house is a great way to reduce you energy bill as well.

Your auto insurance in 2012

Surprisingly, most people feel like they have good, or great insurance for their vehicles, but the truth is that most people pay too much for basic car insurance. Changing insurance could save a few hundred a year, especially if you pay yearly rather than monthly to avoid extra charges.

You can’t depend on the government or anyone else to help you save money during these difficult times. So, are you willing to make these part of your personal finance resolutions for 2012? Your financial future is up to you.

Isaac writes for a host of UK business on subjects from total reward statements to successful entrepreneurship. In his spare time Isaac cycles and studies.
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Pension Transfer Advice – Secure Your Future

If you are concerned with the future and your financial situation after you have left the world of work, this is a good thing. Too few people nowadays think about how they will fund their lifestyle when they reach retirement age and such people could find themselves without adequate income if they do not plan for the future with a pension. Some pension funds are better than others too, and subsequently for people who do have a pension, a pension transfer can be in their best interests.

The Importance of a Pension

The government and other official organisations are trying to impress on people the importance of pensions. This advice is aimed particularly at young people as there are many who do not have a pension plan at all. The sad truth is that if these people do not get themselves sorted with a pension, they will find themselves poor in old age – a time of life when people want to be comfortable and to feel secure.

It is therefore essential that people start to think about pensions as something that they do need, rather than imagine that something will come up by the time they are ready to retire. Usually this something doesn’t come up so it is wise to plan ahead.

Pension Transfers

If you already have a pension then that’s obviously good news; however, there may be a better pension out there for you. Pension products vary widely as they are intended to cater for people with differing circumstances and needs. This means that there may be a pension that is more suited to your situation. Don’t feel that you are trapped with your current pension provider as it is very possible and relatively easy to do a pension transfer, and there is a lot of pension transfer advice available.

Where to Find Pension Transfer Advice

Pension transfer advice can be found in all sorts of places, from websites such as this to with companies that specialise in pension transfers. It is wise to do your research and it pays to read-up on the different pension products currently on the market before making any decisions. Scouring the market can also help you transfer your pension without having to pay a fortune, as there are firms that will do it for a very fair price. Transferring your pension is also an investment so you should consider the potential benefits of moving providers in the future.

A Secure Retirement

If you want to have a comfortable retirement then a good pension to suit your circumstances is an absolute must. This could involve getting a pension in the first place if you do not have one now – and that is something that you should start looking into today. If you do have a pension already then a pension transfer could be prudent, to maximise the amount you will accrue and have to enjoy when it is time to leave work for the last time. With adequate funds your retirement could hold adventure, travel and fun, so start planning now.
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