• Is Owning a Rental Property Worth It?

    by  • January 13, 2016 • Tagged: 

    The buy-to-let market should be going through something of a boom. With first time buyers still finding it hard to raise the required mortgage deposit, often 25%, the housing rental sector continues to increase with almost 3.5 million people today living in private rented accommodation in the UK. But is owning a rental property worth it?

    On the face of it, buying a property to let appears to be a good investment and with home ownership at a 25 year low, there are greater numbers of people seeking rental accommodation today than ever before. There is, however, a shortage in the housing market for rental properties. To discover the reasons for this, we must first look at the recent economic history of the UK;

    The crash of seven years ago saw many of the big property renters off-loading their property portfolios, and the recent new tax laws, due to come into force in 2017, have also proved off-putting for many considering a buy to let mortgage. With many landlords already finding margins wafer thin, the new legislation restricting what can be claimed against tax is enough for some to make property renting an unviable proposition.

    The National Landlords Association claims 31% of private landlords owning one property, and 17% those who own two to four, either just broke even or lost money between April and June of 2015.

    As a property landlord you have a duty of care to your tenants with annual gas and electrical safety checks having to be carried out. Furniture has to be fire resistant and the place fit for purpose. These regulations are being tightened up and wear and tear legislation is changing. From 2016 out goes the annual allowance and in comes tax relief on replaced furniture only. All these moves have been designed by the government to specifically reduce buy to let mortgages. So is the whole thing worth it?

    Providing you realize the pitfalls, and take the time to research the area of your proposed purchase, buying-to-let can still be an excellent investment in the long term. The usual buy-to-let property hotspots continue to apply; London, Bristol and Birmingham lead the pack, with Slough, Reading, and Southampton seeing the biggest monthly rental yields outside of Greater London. Cities with high student populations also do well, with the vast majority of those students living in rented accommodation.

    As with any business, minimizing overheads is the prime concern. There are a plethora of financial institutions offering financial incentives for those enquiring about buy to let mortgages, so always make sure to do a little research on the different mortgage providers. That said, all will probably require you to be an existing customer with a high credit rating, or at least have a good level of property collateral or liquidity.

    If you already have a private mortgage, have never missed a payment, and have accrued a level of collateral on the property, approaching your current mortgage provider is always a good starting point and cuts out any middlemen. Failing that, find an unbiased Mortgage Broker to talk to, or a fully regulated Independent Financial Adviser.

    Comparison websites can provide an idea of what’s on offer but beware, seeking good advice is paramount. Buy-to-let mortgage providers do not have to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and as such you could be open to what might be termed unusual practices.

    Finally, even with all the doom and gloom, in a recent survey of buy-to-let landlords, only 10% said they were considering selling their property.

    How to Handle the Stress of Bad Credit Through the Holidays

    by  • December 11, 2015 • Tagged: ,

    Bad credit seriously reduces your financial options. There are many reasons why you may have bad credit, including a previous bankruptcy or a lack of employment. It can take five years or more to turn a bad credit record good. The holidays are a problem because it usually means a sudden spike in spending. That’s bad news for credit companies, which is why your score goes down as a result. There are ways you can handle the stress of bad credit through the holidays, though.

    Spend Less

    This is the most obvious solution. You shouldn’t go over 35% of your credit limit if you want to avoid a penalty on your credit score. Anything over 35% is a sign that you may be relying on credit. Whether it’s right or wrong, you have to stick below this number. By spending less, you can do just that, while still covering most of your Christmas spending.

    Save in Advance

    There are only limitations on your credit spending. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saving in advance and spending as much as you like. It’s what we recommend for anyone suffering from the stress of bad credit during the holidays. Open up a separate savings account and put a small amount into it every month or so. This will quickly build a nest egg you can use without eating up your credit limit.

    Use a Layaway Program

    Many retailers place a lot of faith in their layaway programs. These are schemes where you can pay in advance for items over a specified period without going into any debt at all. Some stores only offer them during the holidays, but with others, you can start paying for Christmas months in advance.

    How does it work?

    • Buy the item you like without using a credit card.
    • Make the first down payment.
    • Pay off the amount over a specified period.

    Big brands like Kmart, Sears, and Walmart are just some of the companies offering the layaway program.

    Use a “Bad Credit” Credit Card

    Credit cards specifically for bad credit are an option if you have no other ones left. Sometimes you don’t have any credit at all if you’re coming off a bankruptcy, or you simply can’t get a card from anyone else. These “bad credit” credit cards have extremely low limits, but they allow you to spend without having a high credit score. You should use these strategically. Try not to use more than a few dollars or you could find yourself with an even lower credit score because you have gone over ‘acceptable’ limits.
    A similar option is to find a company that provides loans for people with poor credit.  The interest rates will be much higher but you can usually get loans up to $2,500. Tip; try selling items around the house that you don’t use first to avoid these bad credit loans.

    Get Creative with Your Gifts

    Alternatively, the ideal solution can be to avoid using any credit at all. Christmas isn’t about the expensive gifts you buy. It’s about family, friends, and spending time with them. Those are the moment’s people remember long into the future. If money is a problem, you don’t have to buy things you can’t really afford. Get creative with your gifts and make them by hand. Handmade soaps and cakes say far more than the latest games console. You can even get the kids involved and do it together.

    Last Word

    Holiday stress is increasingly common, and bad credit is a sad part of it. Nevertheless, you don’t have to let it ruin the festive season. Through proper planning and understanding what you should and shouldn’t do, you can have a very merry Christmas.

    Childhood Financial Lessons Important for Adult Life

    by  • September 9, 2015 • Tagged: , , ,

    Schools can’t teach everything. The early years of a child’s life is in the home and even when he or she starts to attend school parents continue to have the majority of the responsibility for how their children develop and the habits they form. It is not a paid job; the lessons are taught out of love with the aim of seeing children develop their potential and become people who can contribute to society. A young couple’s own parents, family and friends will be happy to provide help and advice but ultimately it is the couple themselves that have to decide what to teach their children. What they should try to avoid is passing on bad habits and one area where that is very important is in finance.

    Changing Environment

    The environment has been changing regularly in recent years but the rules are still the same even if the early years after the millennium saw a degree of complacency that is unlikely to be repeated. It was a time of easy credit when few people worried about building up debt. There was always another credit card company happy to offer 0% finance transfers and an immediate credit line. In addition real estate prices were rising so few people worried about spending; they could always re-mortgage. The recession brought a sudden halt to that and in theory that should have been the end to complacency.

    A few years of recession followed with many families struggling under the weight of debt they could not afford. A young couple starting out may well have seen the financial problems that complacency and then recession caused. The lessons should be passed on to their own children; buying on credit can be dangerous as well as costly. Children who see their parents spending on a credit card inevitably think that is the norm. If such spending creates a balance that receives a high interest rate charge at the end of the month because the full amount is not settled then it is a habit that parents should never pass on to their children.

    Troubling Statistics

    Some of the statistics in the USA are disturbing; almost two thirds of families have no emergency fund that they can use if a financial problem arises. The figures on retirement are no better with the Social Security system under extreme pressure. Anyone that thinks they can rely on that system when they retire are fooling themselves. Children should be taught the importance of saving to avoid joining the numbers that appear to be short of what they need.

    Stability

    Children develop better in a stable environment and that is certainly more likely to be in one where there are no financial concerns. Those families that suffered during the recession because they were unable to meet their bills had to live through troubling times and that inevitably impacted on children as well as those towards the end of college education when the recession began, people who may now be looking to pass on good habits to their own youngsters.

    There is no reason to discuss every financial decision with your children but what you likewise do not want to do is to give them a false impression. If you are struggling to control your finances and if as a result you have built up debt on your credit cards then you should as a matter of urgency look for solutions to the problem. If you have regular income then online lenders are likely to look favorably on a realistic application. You will be paying less interest on a realistic loans than you are paying on credit card balances.

    You need to act; children can instinctively see when there is a problem and will not necessarily see it as a consequence of spending unwisely or extravagantly. There is an old saying that hopefully no longer applies: ‘Do as I say, not as I do!’ It pays to teach children the right way to manage money; perhaps to give them a few simple chores to earn their allowance. That is a valuable lesson and if parents follow the right rules themselves, hopefully their children will do likewise.

    Taking On Wedding Debt Is a Bad Idea

    by  • August 21, 2015 • Tagged: , ,

    Getting married can be a wonderful thing if you’ve got rich or generous parents and an unlimited budget to fulfill your wildest wedding dreams. But if you’re like most people, the cost of getting married can unfortunately detract from the happiness of what should otherwise be your special day.

    According to The Knot’s 2014 Real Weddings survey, the average cost of a wedding is now a whopping $31,213, not including the cost of the honeymoon. Furthermore, according to the survey, roughly  45% of couples exceed their wedding budgets in the process of getting hitched. The problem is that starting off with a wad of wedding debt is generally a bad idea, and here’s why:

    Money Problems Can Lead to Divorce

    It’s an unfortunate fact that a significant percentage of marriages end in divorce these days, and all too often, money is a major contributing factor. Money, or lack thereof, can be a huge source of stress for a newly married couple. After all, it’s hard to work on building a life together when you’re constantly pinching pennies and worrying about a nagging credit card balance. Furthermore, if the push to overspend on a wedding is really one-sided, it could lead to long-term resentment if that decision causes you financial stress down the line.

    When newly married couples get into debt, they will have to post-pone buying a house, starting a family, and other things they want to do to build a life together. Often they resort to racking up credit card debt and even taking out car title loans. “We see it happen all the time,” says a representative of Title Loans San Diego.

    Debt Can Wreck the Newlywed Stage

    For many people, the first year of marriage is a fun, carefree time. You’re getting to know each other as a married couple and aren’t necessarily ready to build a family, which means you’re free to spend time together, do fun things, and enjoy each other’s company. The problem with taking on too much wedding debt is that it can impede your ability to live it up as a couple during those first blissful 12 months. Or, to put it another way, spending too much on your wedding could mean sacrificing the ability to enjoy travel, nightlife, and other such things people tend to do before kids come into the picture.

    Wedding Debt Can Impact You Long-Term

    Taking on a load of debt to finance your dream wedding can do more than just put a damper on the newlywed phase; it can also impact your long-term financial picture as a couple. If you’re carrying a large amount of debt from your wedding, it could limit your options for getting a mortgage or car loan. Wedding debt can also impact your family building plans. If you’re saddled with debt, it could lead you to put off having children, or make affording them much more difficult.

    It’s not crazy to want a big, beautiful wedding complete with every detail you’ve always dreamed of. But it’s also important to be realistic. Yes, your wedding is an important day, but it’s also just a few hours long. Before you jump in and take on a load of debt, ask yourself whether a single afternoon of perfection is really worth years of sacrifice after the fact. Finally, remember that you always have the option to compromise. Pick the aspects of your wedding that are most important to you, spend some money on those, and go simple with the remaining details. At the end of the day, if you have the right attitude, your wedding will be the fun, fabulous affair you want it to be.

    Out With the Old, in With the Savvy; How to Renew Your Wardrobe Without Busting the Budget

    by  • July 23, 2015 • Tagged: ,

    If you’re looking at your wardrobe and realizing that last year’s summer look just isn’t cutting it this year, this is the post for you. Read below for some ways to use discount coupons at places like eBay, Nike, and JC Penney to give you a new look with money left over to go out and show it off!

    eBay – Get Ready for a Surprise

    If you haven’t been to eBay in a while, then you’re in for a surprise. eBay has become the place for cost effective clothes shopping. With so many established and up-and-coming brands and stores, buying is the perfect place to utilize discount coupons to get the brands you know at a fraction of the cost. Want to save even more? Look for stores that include free postage once you reach a set amount. If you are able to complete your look from these stores, free postage just became a night out in the new dress.

    Nike.com

    Just because it is sports focused, doesn’t mean it isn’t fashionable. In addition to great sportswear, discount coupons can land you some great deals on fashion focused sports apparel. If you have never thought about a sports store for general fashion, now is the perfect time. With so many discounts available, choosing your new wardrobe with sports fashion just became a new way to save money and look good.

    JCPenney

    Did you see something at JCPenney during your last visit to the mall, but the price was just a bit out of your reach? One of the greatest advantages to discount coupons at JC Penney is being able to buy clothes you never thought you would be able to this summer. The next time you’re out shopping, take note of what styles interest you and then check out what discounts are available to get you into those new pair of designer shoes.

    There you have it! Suddenly your drab summer look just became updated and in style without you having to spend a fortune or sacrifice quality of products. All that’s left to do is take the money you saved and treat yourself to a night out to show off your new looks! Summer is yours!

    How to Save Money on Monthly Expenses

    by  • February 16, 2015 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    1.      Verify You’ve Signed up for the Right Plan The wrong cell phone plan can eat up a lot of your income. So you want to be sure you are signed up for the right plan. Contact your carrier and check to see how many minutes you are actually using versus what you are paying ... Read more →

    When Should You Buy Your First Home?

    by  • November 20, 2014 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    Are you thinking about purchasing your very own home for the first time? Perhaps you’re sick of renting or you’d just like a permanent place to call your own. Whatever the case may be, make sure you’re certain that you’re ready to buy your first home and are doing it wisely. Follow the helpful tips ... Read more →

    Maximize Profit on Your Business Website

    by  • November 19, 2014 • Tagged: , , , ,  • Comments

    Every business needs a website. Local market searches are a driving force for businesses to increase market share locally. Organic web traffic is not just about local traffic, though that is where the bulk of online traffic generates. It is also about global traffic. Shoppers in other countries use the web to find better products ... Read more →

    8 ways to monetize your website

    by  • September 29, 2014 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    The Internet is a great way to make money. In order to do this though, it is necessary to know how to monetize a website. There are all sorts of different ways to do this, but knowing the ins and outs of this process is helpful. That is why understanding the eight different ways to ... Read more →

    Budgeting for Traveling and Using a Great Rewards Credit Card to Help Along the Way

    by  • July 8, 2014 • Tagged: , , ,  • Comments

    Learning about different cities, cultures and customs is educational and exciting! Everyone loves to visit different places, whether it is to visit friends or family or for a vacation. You may be wondering if it is possible to travel more without spending a lot of money. It is possible, with careful budgeting and using a ... Read more →

    Loan Shark Guide

    by  • July 3, 2014 • Tagged:   • Comments

    With research suggesting that the number of illegal money-lenders operating in the UK continues to soar, read our handy guide to how to spot a loan shark and what to do if you fall victim to one.  Our guide covers the definition of a loan shark, how to handle a loan shark as well as ... Read more →

    How to Cruise on a Dime

    by  • May 23, 2014 • Tagged:   • Comments

    Cruise holidays are some of the best deals out there for budget travellers. All-inclusive cruise deals mean that most food, accommodation and transportation are all nicely wrapped up into one very reasonable sum for a journey that can vary from the Caribbean to Asia. With a range of amenities that are included in the cost ... Read more →

    Best Money Tips for Single Parents

    by  • May 22, 2014  • Comments

    If you are a single parent, trying to have enough money for everyday bills is hard enough. Yet, you want your children to have an enjoyable life. Follow these money tips to save money and have enough to cover your bills without the worry. Keep an Emergency Account An emergency account is necessary for every ... Read more →

    Can You Write Your Own Will?

    by  • December 18, 2013 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    It’s a common misconception that you have to hire an attorney to write your own will. Yes, an attorney will know how to draft a will properly and they know your state’s estate laws, but there are plenty of legal websites out there that can help you draft just as good (if not better) of ... Read more →

    Getting Rid of the For Sale Sign: How to Get Approved for a Home Mortgage Loan

    by  • November 24, 2013 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    The dire straits of the economic recession are still taking their toll, especially within the struggling real estate market. There are millions of people throughout the United States who are eagerly searching for ways to qualify for a mortgage loan so that they can get the keys to their new home as soon as possible. ... Read more →

    Ways to Save Money on Sports Shoes

    by  • November 13, 2013 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    If you’re a sportsperson then taking care of your body will be essential and your shoes will be far more than a fashion statement. There are many different models of sports shoe for each sport. Some are better than others and some are cheaper than others. The trick to buying the perfect sports shoe is ... Read more →

    Vegas Baby!

    by  • October 1, 2013 • Tagged:   • Comments

    When we started our blog, we were freshly engaged, and had started to plan our wedding. Readers of our blog know that we had some expensive ideas for the wedding and not many of you agreed with our decisions. We went ahead with our own plans anyway a few years after that first post. Five ... Read more →

    INFOGRAPHIC: Be A Premier Performer at Tackling Debt

    by  • September 26, 2013 • Tagged:   • Comments

    The number of individuals living with debt in the UK is on the rise. As of July, the total amount of personal debt held by individuals was right around £1.426 trillion. This is partly the result of the global economic recession which caused a high percentage of redundancies but it’s also on a count of mismanaging ... Read more →

    We’re Buying a House…Sooner or Later

    by  • September 19, 2013 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    Sadly, after almost nine years of renting an apartment and stable rent payments, we’ve decided that we need to get a bigger place to live. Our financial lives were pretty simple the past few years, even with the addition of a new family member. We’ve decided to turn our world upside-down and look for property ... Read more →

    Five Steps to Setting Up Your Online Business

    by  • September 10, 2013 • Tagged: , , ,  • Comments

    There are several online services that allow you to sell products, whether those products are hand-crafted wares, antiques, or even baked goods. Of course, getting your online business up and running can be a little daunting, depending on how complex or competitive your industry may be. These five steps can help you achieve a no-sweat ... Read more →

    Planning a Holiday on a Budget

    by  • May 31, 2013 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    Trying to plan a holiday when money is tight can be hard, especially if you’re planning a break for the whole family. There are lots of ways to save money though, so going away somewhere nice doesn’t have to break the bank. Firstly you should think about where you’d like to go. It’s almost certain ... Read more →

    How Small Savings Can Go a Long Way

    by  • May 14, 2013 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    Even if I am exceptionally good at saving and budgeting money I often forget about small expenses, and whoever said “Don’t sweat the small stuff” obviously didn’t have an expensive daily coffee habit. Despite being organised and striving to be financially secure, if I look at my weekly purchases there are so many small ways ... Read more →

    Choosing the Best Gas Supplier for Your Large Business

    by  • May 8, 2013 • Tagged:   • Comments

    Organising energy providers and paying monthly bills is an arduous task for homeowners and small businesses, let alone large businesses and enterprises. Ensuring that the process of organising and paying for large business gas supply is streamlined and simple will mean that the person in charge of the utilities will have an easier time of it. As ... Read more →