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May 10, 2018

Money Management: 5 Tips to Make Handling Your Finances Easier

manage your financesManaging your finances can be overwhelming when you don’t make use of the right tools to address them. The amount of paperwork will make you shudder if you continue to do things the old-fashioned way.

Making use of technology can revolutionize the way you do your finances. There are services and apps available that will help you simplify payment transactions, staying on top of your savings, and monitoring your personal budget.

Here’s how you can do a better job of managing your money with the help of tech-powered solutions.

1) Register for online banking

Why spend precious time waiting to be attended to in a bank when you can complete your transactions online? Whether it’s checking the balance on your account or transferring funds, you no longer need to go to the actual bank, which saves you money and time.

The major benefit of online banking services is that you have instant access to your money. Plus, with mobile SMS banking, you don’t even have to carry around your laptop. With a few clicks on your phone, you can check payments and see if your budgeting numbers are correct.

The access alone can already help streamline your finances so that you’re always up-to-date when it comes to your money.

2) Opt for paperless

When you see a stack of paper bills inside your mailbox, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by your financial obligations. Sometimes, you tend to place them somewhere you can’t remember, which leads to late fees.

As much as possible, go paperless so that you can easily track your bills the moment they hit your email.

Without the possibility of misplacing your bills, you are less likely to forget due dates of payments. Most utilities and bills have the option for customers to go paperless.

Check if you’re able to sign up for such by taking these steps:

1. Sign in to your online account and check if you have an option to have your bills sent via email.
2. Then, follow the prompts in the email to pay the bills without any extra fuss.

During tax time, it’s a bonus that you no longer have to sort through your stack of bills to gain an idea of how much you’ve spent. You only have to log into your account to look at your statement.

3) Automate payments

If you can, set-up automated payments for accounts that stay consistent every month. So instead of going into your account and paying manually, the amount is debited automatically.

There are many banks that will allow you to have your own auto-pay rules. You can even choose to have the amount immediately sent via check or electronically to your selected service provider.

However, being on auto-pay doesn’t mean you can ignore payments; you still have to check transactions to ensure they’re paid correctly.

4) Combine or eliminate your accounts

When you have countless open accounts, several payments to make regularly, and account maintenance to fulfill, you need to “spring clean.” Streamlining accounts will tidy up your payments and transactions so that you have a simpler path to money management.

Take a look at your regular monthly bills and you may find unnecessary services. If possible, combine or eliminate accounts you don’t need. For instance, if you’re maintaining several credit cards but have one card with a tiny balance, pay it off and close the account. Doing so will leave you with one less payment to remember.

5) Perform a regular budget check

You may have a budget in place, but lining up the numbers isn’t enough to maintain order in your finances. You still have to regularly check your budget to ensure that your numbers are right. Furthermore, you should allow adjustments for any unplanned expenses.

To avoid disorganized finances, you should balance your budget on a regular basis. Make it a habit to schedule a monthly check-up on your budget by following these steps.

● Gather your bills for the month.
● Log-in to your online bank account.
● Look at your account and check if payments match bills and there are no suspicious charges.
● Discuss next month’s expenses with your partner or family.
● Make adjustments to any budgeting numbers that need it. One example is your electricity bill during the summer.
● Ensure that you’re still on track with the financial goals you’ve set.

Don’t let your finances control you. Handle your finances better by using technology and regularly tracking your budget. Remember, how you manage your finances matters as much as the math.

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April 15, 2018

Is Britain’s debt detrimental to pension performance?

dealing with debtsAs the saying goes—out of sight, out of mind. And for many, this has been the motto for their pensions. However, the launch of auto-enrolment schemes, increased media coverage and a growing awareness of retirement has shifted these attitudes.

According to the Q2 2017 edition of the Tackling The Savings Gap Consumer Savings and Debt Data report, 598,000 employers were enrolled in a workplace pension scheme. Over the 12-month period, they contributed a collective £87.1 billion. With the popularity of personal pensions continuing, it’s clear to see that Britain is certainly more aware of their pension responsibilities.

Could our other financial commitments be holding back our personal pension savings? The Q3 2017 edition of the report suggests so. During the quarter, 45% of survey respondents failed to make a pension contribution; this was most common in 45 to 54 year-olds (47%). 18 to 24 year-olds had the second largest proportion of people who failed to contribute (44%).

Consider the above in relation to what the report also found. Findings show that a third of its respondents worry about money on a daily basis, while 37% admitted to lying about their debt. Perhaps then it’s not because of a lack of awareness; it may be because their financial situation simply won’t allow them to make a contribution.

Pension contributors added £203 on average to their pensions during Q3 2017. In contrast, the average amount of debt taken on by UK consumers each month stood at £370—significantly higher than the amount put towards their pensions.

A total of £143 per month is spent on average on purchases that are later regretted, the Q3 2017 report found. This includes purchases across food, clothes, alcohol and other items. If this money was invested in a pension instead for the full span from age 30 to 65, it could translate into almost £320,000. Based on the fact that Brits believe they will need £23,000 annually to live comfortably in retirement, this amount would be enough to fund 13 years of retirement.

This monthly spend breaks down to £4.70 per day. As the above example shows, investing this amount instead could lead to a comfortable start to your pension pot for retirement. As such, we shouldn’t underestimate the impact that small yet regular contributions can have. This underlines the importance of better financial management to allow us the capacity to add such funds to our pension pots.

To help you learn more about how much you could potentially need for retirement, True Potential Investor has created the Saving For Retirement: How Much Will You Need? quiz. By answering a series of questions, you can get an idea of the potential pension pot you’ll need—take the quiz today to find out more.

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April 14, 2018

Tips to earn money in a legitimate way

other source of earningsExploring a few passive means of earning money isn’t bad for those that don’t want to opt for a second job. It’s quite natural for you to think of a consistent source of alternative income that won’t take the juice out of you. Even when you wish to create or join a platform that won’t prove to be taxing, you may need to put in your efforts right at the very beginning.

Consider few of the straight means of earning money as shown below:

Publish your book

Writing a book often lets you achieve a good amount of every sale after it gets published. Self-publishing of books is quite common nowadays; you can do it by checking the e-book options at large. Alternatively, you may get in touch with any publishing house.

Develop smart applications

Developing any smart-phone app has immense potential of earning money when a user downloads it. These apps can fetch a good amount of money as they get more popular with the target audience. Anything that you develop may get viral in no time!

Launch any static blog

Identify your areas of interest besides checking out things that tend to draw the attention of your target audience. Make the most of your website development skills in developing a website in these areas. It’s in your best interest to choose topics that may never get dated with your audience. You may even choose to host ads on a page wherein you have content worth good quality. A piece of content that’s always in demand can actually pay you back on time.

Submit a video on YouTube

Identify a few popular topics for shooting your videos. You may explore it as an opportunity to earn more by running ads on the more popular videos. Earning in seven figures has been a dream turned reality for video submitters on YouTube.

Take a few attractive snapshots

There are a few online sites that help you to sell photos. It’s actually a good ploy for those of you that are passionate about photography. If you’re an amateur, then you may test the water with sites like Shutterstock. For each downloaded image, you’re likely to achieve a commission worth up to $75.

Create your own graphics

Graphics and illustrations are often accepted by a few photo websites. For every download, you may earn a certain amount of money.

Be an insurance agent

By selling insurance policies, you may end up earning a handsome amount with each deal closure. Even when the policies are renewed by your customers, you’ll earn an extra commission.

Achieve stock dividends

Stock investments are among all natural ways of securing a passive income. These stocks yield dividends worth great percentages more frequently.

You must remember that every legitimate way of earning money takes you through a passing phase. It’s not like how easily you earn money in the casinos nowadays.

The ways mentioned above will help you create wealth without worrying much about how the legal authorities will perceive them. Leading a stress-free life is more important than pursuing money in an illegitimate way.

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April 13, 2018

Important Tips While Budgeting For a New Home

new home budgetingYou dream of owning a great home to suit your taste and needs. However, this may have to cost you quite a lot of money. It therefore means that there will be alterations in your current spending or savings. Well, the way you will budget for a new home is dependent on several factors. It will depend on whether you are planning to own the first home, meaning you want to move from a rented house to your own home, or if you want to move from a first house to a dream home.

Whichever level you are at, there are several factors that will determine how much you budget for a new home. These factors include;

• Your earning– It could be your personal earning, or yours and that of your spouse if you plan to jointly buy a home.

• The Location of your home – Where exactly do you want to live? Some estates are more expensive than others.

• The size of your dream home- This may also include the size of the house as well as the land on which the house will sit on.

• How long you want to pay for it – If you want credit for a shorter time, then you may have to choose a cheaper home and vice versa.

After considering these factors, then it is time to come up with a real budget for your home. Remember that it is your own home, a treasure for yourself to take pride and find comfort in. Therefore, take time to budget for the best. Below are basic steps towards getting a perfect budget for your home:

1. Get informed

Be sure to visit a real estate and property development company, to get the available options in terms of different properties available in the market and their value as they have a better understanding.

2. Timing

Decide the exact day that you want to move to your new home. Do not wish for a particular time span when you want to move to the new home, say like in the next three months, but rather set a specified target date.

3. Calculate how much you can afford

Use a mortgage calculator to determine exactly how much you can afford to pay monthly.

If you are cost sharing a mortgage;

• Open a money market account or an alternative of a high-interest savings account. Ensure the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation guarantees your money.

• For every month, deposit the total money (two halves if you are two) to the savings account monthly. Deposit the money until the date for moving in is due. Spend the money to pay for your new home.

4. Reduce your spending

In order to do this, you need to be realistic by spending less than you earn. Make a plan and stick to it. For example, you may realize that you don’t need to live in that two bedroom apartment especially if you don’t have kids. Therefore moving to a one bedroom apartment may save up to around 30% of your expenses which you could channel towards home ownership.

5. Increase your earnings

While most people believe in spending less to save, I think working that extra job is a sure way of increasing your savings. Take up any money making opportunity that comes your way. You could also opt to get a second job as a side hustle to top up your main source of income.

Conclusion

To succeed in owning a new home, you may have to forego some expenses, however small they may seem. These may include your daily cup of coffee which may cost $5 but accumulates to $150 in a month.

As much as you are looking towards owning the best home, be careful so that you do not strain so much that you will have to compromise on basic needs such as food.

While owning a home may seem a hard process that requires a lot of sacrifices, at the end of the day, it is worth it, so go for it!

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March 9, 2018

Reasons Why Your Health Insurance Claim Can Be Denied

health insurance coverageIn this time of rising medical inflation, investing in a medical insurance policy has become the need of the hour. The benefits of a health care plan indeed out weigh the cost. Many individuals, therefore, invest in a health care policy to enjoy financial protection in case of a medical emergency.

You may either opt for a reimbursement of the medical expenses incurred by you, or you may file a cashless claim. Though the procedure for filing a claim is quick and hassle-free, sometimes it may get rejected.

Following are six major reasons why your health insurance claim may be denied.

1. Providing inaccurate or incomplete details

One of the reasons for denial of the claim is a failure to furnish complete or accurate details. These details may pertain to your health condition, pre-existing conditions, or nature of employment, among others. Since these factors are crucial in helping the insurance provider to determine your eligibility and premium, they may deny the claim if they find out that crucial information has been withheld or if facts have been misrepresented.

2. Seeking claims for exclusions

Most medical health insurance plans come with a list of diseases and ailments that are beyond the scope of coverage. Making a claim for any conditions or ailments in the exclusion list will fail to qualify for coverage and hence the claim will be rejected.

3. Making a claim during the waiting period

Waiting period refers to the specified time frame that you must wait for, before beginning to enjoy benefits of the policy. This is the period during which pre-specified illnesses are not covered by your policy. Hence, making any health insurance claim during the waiting period will result in it being rejected.

4. Admission to a non-network hospital

Insurance companies have a network list of hospitals. In order to avail of a cashless facility, it is imperative to get admitted at any of the hospitals in the insurer’s network. The insurance provider may reject your cashless claim in an event that you are admitted to a non-network hospital. In such a case, however, you may seek reimbursement of the hospital expenses incurred by you. You may submit the original bills, medical reports, and fill the claim form while seeking reimbursement.

5. Claims made on lapsed policies

Your policy may stand lapsed in case you have failed to make premium payment before the due date. Making a claim once your policy has lapsed will mostly result in denial of the filed claims. It is, therefore, necessary to make timely payment of your medical health insurance premiums in order to enjoy uninterrupted benefits of your health policy.

6. Failure to notify the insurer within the stipulated time frame

Your medical health insurance policy states the period within which you must inform the insurance provider of your hospitalization. If the claim has not been brought to the notice of the insurer within the time frame stipulated in the terms and conditions of the policy document, the insurance claim will be rejected. You may, therefore, submit the insurance claim request within the time frame. You may also submit the original hospital bills as well as post-hospitalization expenses if any.

A medical health insurance claim denial may threaten your financial security and the ability to receive medical care. It is, therefore, necessary to identify the possible causes of rejection. Once you are well aware of the possible causes of claim denial, you may follow the guidelines to ensure that your claims are honored.

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