Top 5 Reasons for Borrowing Money

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An infographic looking into the reasons why people borrow money – whether it be for a car or home improvements. Currently in the UK we borrow on average £3326 per household, over a term of approximately 5 years. We look to high street banks, peer to peer lenders and guarantor lenders for the majority of our borrowing.

Know Your Financial Terminology

One of the biggest problems people have with their finances in todays economy, is their lack of understanding of the subject. Financial terminology is designed to be confusing, and bank employees speak in their monetary argot, just so they get the sale that suits them, not the product or service that suits you.

Okay, maybe it is not that cynical, but we can agree that there are far too many terms, variations and categories of finances to fully understand. It can be helpful to your financial security if you took the time to obtain a better understanding of what your bank account or your savings account entails exactly.

Here is a quick breakdown of some of the more common occurrences that you may come across.

Standing Order

One of the terms that you are likely to hear in a bank, particularly if you are paying bills. A standing order is a way in which you can regularly pay companies etc. that will be requiring payment from you on a weekly/monthly basis.

It is very similar to a direct debit, but you set up a Standing Order yourself, and it works on your terms. You control how much will be paid, when it will be paid and when it should finish. Though, as with a direct debit, you are also responsible of making sure there is enough money in the account to pay the recipient.

Credit Rating

Something that is going to be with you the rest of your life is your Credit Rating or Credit Score. You will need to know what this is and how it works particularly if you are looking to borrow money or take out a line of credit.

Fundamentally, your credit rating is a score based on your ability to meet your financial obligations. It is derived from your previous dealings and other factors such as your employment status.

Banks used to work in the way of personal relationships or reputations was enough to take out a loan, but no longer. If you want a loan, a credit card, a mortgage, anything along these lines, you’re going to have to have a polished credit rating, otherwise, you may be turned away.

Compound Interest

If you’ve got a savings account or an existing loan for example, you’ve probably heard the term compound interest – it’s what increases your savings, or increases your loan.

For a savings account, it is calculated by finding the sum of all the money you have paid into your account (your capital) year on year (usually.) So, interest for year 1 is based on the running total for year 1. Year 2, the interest is based on the running total of years 1 and 2, and so on.

It works the same for credit. It takes what you owe, applies the interest, then the next period it is added to the sum of those two.

It can be difficult to grasp, and there are formulas used to calculate these totals, which you might want to take a closer look at.

Secured & Unsecured

You might hear these if you’ve applied for a loan, but you might not have known the difference, which is understandable.

When borrowing money, there are two options, you guessed it, secured and unsecured. So, a secured loan is when you are a homeowner and the loan is put against your house, ie it is used as collateral. An unsecured loan is when you are not a homeowner and this is where the credit rating we talked about earlier will come into play.

This is of course a straight forward explanation, but there is more out there explaining the differences between secured loans and unsecured loans.

 

These are just some of the more common terms that you may encounter on your fiscal journeys, but as I said, there are many more out there. It really is worth familiarising yourself with the ones that you feel you may come into contact with at any point in the future.

Smart Money Saving

Just because we’re well into the first month of the year doesn’t mean we can’t make some changes in how you spend and save money in 2015. Getting over the festive season is always a painful experience but maybe now that you’re in the throes of it, you can think of creative and effective ways to spend your money so that you’re not in the same position 12 months from now.

52 Week Saving Challenge

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This challenge is supposed to last over 52 weeks but of course, you can alter it to your own timeframe and even the amount of money you’re putting away at a time – this can be the money to tide you through Christmas this year (so you don’t need to touch your wages) or to tide you through January so that you can spend in Christmas without worrying. As well as this, it encourages smart, affordable and step-by-step saving to ease you into what could potentially be a habit of a lifetime.

Coupons, coupons, coupons!

It’s a tried and tested way of saving money and, if you have the patience and know-how, it can be highly effective. Coupon websites, cut outs from magazines and newspapers and money-off codes seem like pennies but pennies add up to pounds and very fast! There are plenty of sources out there and, as a bonus, always keep notes of how much you’ve saved and see how that could be spent far more efficiently!

Get a cash ISA 

Cash ISA’s are a great way of saving money and when there’s a 40 day notice required for access, you may second-guess whether you really need the money you’ve put away. As well as this, the interest that can be gathered within ISA’s can go towards the big things like mortgages, cars and dream holidays.

Enter competitions

This sounds a little wacky but it’s actually becoming a very popular and interesting way to make money! A lot of the competitions you can find online offer small things like beauty essentials right up to £1000’s in cash and holidays. It takes a little perseverance but it’s usually very easy to do and could end up making a huge difference to your life.

Ditch the mobile phone contract

Way back when, phone contracts were a better investment solution than pay-as-you-go deals. However, as time has passed, phones have gotten far more advanced and intelligent leading to far more expensive phone contracts. The average contract is over £30 a month, phone inclusive and over a 24 month period, that’s a hell of a lot of money. Usually more than the phone would have cost in the first place! With rival prepay companies like GiffGaff offering more affordable payment plans with no ties. Their most expensive deal is £18 p/month for a 1,000 minutes, unlimited UK texts & 5GB of data. Similar to GiffGaff are Lebara who offer cheap international calls.

Finally…

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something you can actually achieve. Changing the way you spend and save money is a constant work in progress and there’s no use in jumping in at the deep end- start small, work your way up. You’ll soon find that looking for bargains, corners that can be cut and cheaper ways to do the things you love will become second nature to you.

The Ongoing Payment Protection Insurance Scandal & You

As the ongoing payment protection insurance (PPI) scandal leads to more and more people claiming back the fees on policies they have been mis sold, so the lenders in the UK continue to suffer. Indeed, the collected lenders involved in the scandal have had to set aside many billions of pounds to cover the cost of repaying mis-sold fees, and many in the industry believe the eventual cost of the PPI saga will be colossal.

Payment Protection Insurance and You

The payment protection insurance scandal came about when a number of allegations of mis-selling were investigated by the powers that be. This uncovered widespread mis-selling within the industry, and a full revision of the regulations was deemed to be necessary. Fines were also levied on the main protagonists, and the High Court eventually ruled that fees on mis-sold policies must be repaid. The regulations regarding PPI are now geared towards protecting the consumer, and if you think you have a valid claim you should consider getting things underway as soon as possible.

Can I Make a PPI claim?

If you have taken out a mortgage, loan, credit card, car finance or other type of credit in the past few years, it is very possible that you have a PPI policy (whether you already know about it or not!).

PPI is also known as Loan or Credit Protection Cover, or ASU (Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Cover).  Essentially its an insurance policy designed to cover the repayments in the event you are not able to pay due to sickness, injury or loss of job.  In itself, the policy is not problematic, it’s the way it was mis-sold that is the scandal.

People were automatically opted in to the policy, with or without their knowledge, and some were told it was mandatory.  Others had it sold to them despite their employment status (of self-employed or retired) meaning that they are not eligible or suitable for PPI, and therefore it was a complete waste of their money.  Legally, at point of sale, customers should also have been given the option of looking at other PPI deals, not only having to take the one offered by the lender.  These are just some of the examples of the mis-selling that was common.

You should check your original paperwork for PPI, though if you don’t have that to hand you can check over your credit file for details of all your previous credit agreements.  If you suspect you had PPI and think it was mis-sold, you should seek advice to see if you can claim.

How to Make a PPI Reclaim

You may wish to make your payment protection insurance claim with the help of a claims handling company such as ours at www.haveigotppi.org.uk.  Our team of experienced advisers and claims handlers are waiting to help you in any way we can. We can handle your claim on a no win no fee* basis so you won’t pay if you are not successful, and we give every case the individual attention it deserves. With an industry average repayment of £2750 per policy it is certainly worth getting things underway, so get in touch if you want to claim back your mis sold PPI charges.

We have already helped lots of people make successful claims and we are confident that, with our experienced team of claims handlers, we can help you, too.

3 Unorthodox Investment Methods that Have Low Financial Barriers to Entry

Here it 2014, it can be difficult to make ends meet. Although Chancellor George Osborne tells us that he is looking out for everybody, it is clear that large amounts of the population are being left behind. What this means is that if you want to have that little bit of extra money in your back pocket at the end of the month, you’re going to have to take matters into your own hands and generate a second income.

If your current job isn’t making you enough to meet your needs, a good solution is to invest some of your salary each month into a project that will help you live the life you want to live. With that in mind, we’ve thought of three not-so-generic ideas that all have low financial barriers to entry, meaning that you don’t need to have a lot of start-up capital to implement one of them.

1 – Hobbyist Collecting
Whether you’re passionate about china dolls, comic books or wine, your hobby can quite easily be monetized to allow you to make that second income. If you do what you love and sell what you’re passionate about, you’ll be far more invested in your business than if you were selling something completely outside of your interest, and furthermore, you’ll be able to answer the questions of your customers in detail and with a real zeal.

2 – Pawning Antiques
If you have an eye for antiques or you simply have a loft full of old pieces of furniture and ornaments, you could turn your hoard of old items into cash by pawning them at a company like H and T Pawnbrokers, where you’ll be able to watch your old possessions transform into cash. To keep this up, you will need to replenish your collection of antiques regularly, and to do this, places like car boot sales and second-hand sites like Gumtree are your best friends.

3 – Creating an e-Shop
Finally, an online shop can be a straightforward way to generate some money on the side. An online platform like Etsy or eBay will help you to present your store in a professional manner, and with just a little bit of knowledge you can create a cohesive brand identity that will allow people across social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram identify your products from everybody else’s.

So there you have it: some low-cost investment methods that are relatively unique and can help you generate the side income you need.

The Best Way to Invest When You Can’t Afford a Second Mortgage

It’s a well-known fact that bricks and mortar is one of the safest, most lucrative ways to invest your money. Whether you’re buying a property to manage and let out to tenants for a long-term monthly income, or perhaps you’re more straightforwardly buying a second home, fixing it up and then selling it on with the aim of making some money back on your investment, the property market has always been there for anybody looking to invest without having to turn to the alien world of the financial markets.

The Problem with Property
The problem is, to be able to buy that second home, you’re going to have to be able to afford the second mortgage that comes with it. This is a challenge to begin with unless you have thousands of Pounds saved up, but it has become even more problematic in current times due to the number of foreign investors who have turned their attention to the UK’s first-time buyer housing market, driving up mortgage prices.

So, the question is, is bricks and mortar the only option for those of us who are looking to invest in something reliable, safe and productive, that will allow us to enjoy our golden years. We all know that a state pension simply isn’t enough to enjoy yourself on, so ho can we supplement this when the property market – our go to market – has too high of a barrier to entry.

Private Versus Self-Invested Personal Pensions
If you work, it’s likely that your company offers a pension scheme that automatically places money into your personal pension, but the sad fact is that these pension schemes are unlikely to accrue much interest on their own. In addition to this point, personal pensions are extremely limited in terms of the options that they facilitate. For example, you can only draw an agreed amount from your personal pension fund each month on a certain date – there’s no real flexibility.

In contrast, a self-invested personal pension (otherwise known as SIPP) available from providers like James Hay can be drawn from whenever you like, and at the amount you’re looking to withdraw. With a SIPP, then, you could save enough to purchase that second mortgage after all, whereas with a personal pension fund, this is unacceptable.

So ultimately, a SIPP could be a solution to the problem of the inflated mortgage prices we are seeing up and down the UK. Therefore, investment in a SIPP could be a wise decision.

How to Sell Your Home Fast and Get the Best Price

Selling your home can be a long, drawn out process that for many seems like too much hassle to even bother with. There are ways to speed things up that don’t result in receiving a lower price for your property.

Sell Online

The internet has made selling things so much easier and this includes houses. There are plenty of online estate agents, many of whom charge a lot less than your traditional high street variety. More and more house sellers are now marketing their properties online and making huge savings while still getting a great price for their property.

House Buyer Bureau are one such outlet. You just fill in an enquiry form, speak to an expert advisor and they will make you a cash offer, sometimes in as little as seven days. They buy all types of property located across the UK no matter what condition they are in. So if time is of the essence and you don’t want to compromise on price it’s a good option.

Auction It Off

The process of signing up your house to an auction may not be as quick as selling online but it does set a date when you can hope it will be sold by. Rather than let a never ending trail of potential buyers look round your house until one makes the right offer, an auction cuts out a lot of wasted effort as most people present will be interested buyers.

It also reduces costs such as maintenance and tax in the long term. Of course if you feel the price it goes for at auction is unsatisfactory you can normally agree not to sell on the day. However, a lot of the time houses that sell on auction go for more as it creates competition between buyers.

Remember the Basics

It may seem obvious yet as the housing market changes some sellers are forgetting the basic principles which help a house sell. Putting up a ‘For Sale’ sign is still vital as one in three sales are still triggered by this.

Keep your home and garden clean and tidy for visits. Ensure your home’s top qualities are highlighted wherever it is being marketed with a good image of the property attached. Ask viewers for any feedback and then work on their advice to help accelerate the sale. If it’s a good property and well advertised that significantly increases the chance of a speedy sale.

Getting a private equity job

Private equity is a successful means of investing – so it is worth finding out how to get a job in it.

The world economic recovery has been stronger in some advanced nations – such as Britain – than others, but there can be little doubt the overall outlook is brighter than it has been for some considerable time.

A substantial part of that improvement has been in the overall financial sector, most obviously in banks that have had to restructure, take on new investment or even bailouts, and now be subject to more stringent rules and regulations.

However, over time every crisis eases and private equity may be an area in which there is some of the greatest reason for optimism. As it deals with assets not traded on the stock exchange, it is subject to less volatility than stocks and shares, is more long-term and, as we shall see below, has been enjoying better returns.

Moreover, as the economic recovery does kick in, private equity will have a role to play in building up companies as they seek to take advantage of the opportunities out there.

The UK and US are two of the stronger economies in terms of recent growth and in the latter case, the Private Equity Growth Capital Council has been hard at work promoting this form of investment. Its report into the second quarter of 2014 revealed $108 billion (£65 billion) had been leveraged for a range of projects, while fundraising had nearly doubled since the previous quarter to $50 billion.

In the UK, the equivalent body – the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association – has revealed that the last decade has seen returns on private equity of 15.7 per cent, an impressive figure given the economic picture over the majority of that period. That compares favourably with pension assets (7.8 per cent) or the FTSE all-share index (8.8 per cent).

During the past year, the element of the sector performing best was venture capital, with returns of 22.9 per cent.

People wanting to work in private equity may note that employers involved in the sector are among some of the busiest graduate recruiters. According to the High Flyers report 2014, these include PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte. Indeed, the report noted that the accounting and professional services firms and City investment banks were among the most active sectors.

This suggests there are plenty of jobs around, but it is important for candidates to be well-suited to roles that involve handling and investing large quantities of money, with clients depending on you to get a good return.

It is important to note that only the biggest firms will take on inexperienced graduates, as they have more scope for training. Ideally, at least two years of experience in banking and finance is required. Those working as analysts or management consultants can make it in, but it is important to note that qualifications and experience are not the whole picture; many will look at personality as well, knowing that a cool, sound mind will make the best decisions.

Looking for a Private Equity job? Contact Marks Sattin today. Founded in 1988, Marks Sattin takes pride in being one of the oldest privately owned recruitment consultancies with presence in 9 cities across UK, Russia, Australia and Singapore.

What’s the Difference between a Bank and a Building Society?

Walk down any UK high street and you’ll easily be able to identify all of the banks; every town has at least a couple of them, and for the most part they appear to be pretty much the same. Some of them however, may actually be building societies. The clue will be in the name for a lot of them, but it’s not so obvious for the rest. The question is, are these building societies just the same as the banks that they look like?

The answer is unequivocally no. While both are financial institutions designed to allow people to manage their money in numerous different aspects, the two are fundamentally different because of their purpose.

The purpose of a bank is ultimately to deliver financial success to its shareholders. While good customer service and helping consumers do well in life through offering mortgages and business loans may come with this, the end goal is always to make a profit that can be passed onto those who hold stock in the company.

A building society on the other hand is a mutual institution of members who hold accounts. There are no shareholders, and there isn’t the same pressure to turn a profit. Every account holder, no matter how much money they have in their account, has the right to vote, which means that the society is run by its members.

So, What Does This All Mean?

In theory, there are two primary benefits of a building society. The first is that because there is less pressure to make a large profit, the cost of products, whether small loans or mortgages, is generally cheaper. The second is that because the society is run by those who hold accounts, it should have their best interests at heart. This can be demonstrated by the fact that building societies generally receive far fewer complaints than other institutions like banks. Some like Saffron Building Society can even offer independent financial advice.

Your takeaway then is that if you’re looking for a financial product like a savings account or mortgage, then take a look at a building society when you’re making your decision. You’ll still always need a bank for a current account, but it may well be better to be part of a society that you have a say in when it comes to everything else.

The Balance between Data and Security: How can Companies Remain Informed and Safe?

The majority of the time, it feels as though large corporations and dominant market brands can do no wrong. Omnipotent both in terms of their stature and the influence that they yield in their chosen market, they turn over billions of dollars each year and grow wealthier with each new innovation. From Facebook to Google, these brands set trends and break rules with breathtaking regularity.

It may, therefore, come as a surprise to learn that Google are set to face a privacy lawsuit in the U.S. and Europe. After a federal judge recently rejected the business’s efforts to dismiss a lawsuit regarding the inappropriate sharing of consumer data with advertisers, suddenly we are faced with the realisation that no single entity is safe from the reach of international laws and rule makers. What this means for Google has yet to be seen, but it certainly provides a lesson that small business owners should learn from: even Google gets caught out sometimes.

How to strike the Balance between Data and Security

More specifically, if Google can fall foul of stringent data protection laws then so can you. It is no longer acceptable to take a relaxed approach towards data management, as even smaller businesses can access viable and affordable software packages that enable them to collate, manage and securely store sensitive information. While it may be easier than ever to achieve these aims, however, it does require a proactive approach from independent business owners if they are to maintain long-term compliance with international laws.

As a starting point, it is important to recognise the need for data storage. Essentially, modern business is driven by the successful accumulation and interpretation of data, whether this is retained in electronic form or through a series of hard copies. While the storage of data may be easier than ever, it does provide a significant security risk in an age where cyber-crime and sophisticated identity theft is increasingly prominent. It is both how you store data and how you dispose of it once it is no longer useful to you that will ultimately help to keep your sensitive information safe.

The disposal of paper-based data is arguably the single most crucial factor, as once it has been discarded it is no longer protected by locks, keys or server passwords. This means it is suddenly out in the open and vulnerable to the machinations of criminals, who may choose to use consumer identity data as a way of executing fraud. It is therefore crucial that you partner with a reputable and innovative recycling firm such as Lombard Recycling, as this provides a reliable and sustainable solution to your document disposal issues.

In Summary

As Google’s recent legal battle shows, even small business owners cannot afford to become complacent when it comes to data management and handling. After all, while Google will most likely be forced to pay an easily manageable fine to account for their reported privacy infringements, the equivalent sanction on an independent venture could drive them out of business. So be proactive when establishing a data management strategy, and make sure that you achieve the delicate balance between storing information close at hand and keeping it secure.