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March 28, 2016

When is the correct time to begin investing in mutual funds?

mutual fund investmentsPicking mutual funds for investment is easier than picking the right time to invest in them. We give you five hints to help you choose.

Every investor knows that in order to make money, he must put the money he currently has to good use. Simply letting the money sit in the bank or investing it in such instruments as real estate and gold do not always yield the best results. Besides, if the investor has both short term and long term goals, he may need to look at mutual fund investment.

But despite wishing to invest in mutual funds in India, many factors can hold an investor back. In terms of mutual funds, ‘how’ is often not as important as ‘when’. Consider these five pointers to help yourself decide when to invest in mutual funds:

1 When you do your research.

You must be willing to put in hours of study on both the fund you are interested in and the fund house. Choosing the best mutual funds cannot be a snap decision, and it cannot be based on the current favourite in the market. The fund you purchase must offer the potential for growth that you seek to realise your short term and long term financial goals. Apart from the fund, you must select the right fund manager as well. Conducting due diligence is the crucial first step to investing in the best mutual funds in India.

2 Study the fund manager’s record over three years.

Investors are often tempted to see short term results of the fund manager they wish to work with. However, experts will tell you that any amount of time short of three years is too less to analyse the manager’s performance. Analyse his track record over three to five years and discuss the various strategies he has adopted over the years vis-à-vis market fluctuations and asset allocation.

3 Choose a manager with the same investment style as yours.

A fund manager is not a magician who can convert your mutual fund investment into piles of money. Nor is he a mathematician who follows provable theorems with predictable outcomes. A fund manager studies the markets and interprets them every day, and bases his decisions on his understanding and skill. The gains may be slow in coming in some cases, while another of his decisions can fetch a windfall. However, his investment style must align with yours, or there may be conflict in reaching your fiscal goals.

4 Pick the fund of the best available ones.

Studying market forces every day and picking the right mutual fund is important for the proper realisation of your financial goals. Most people tend to go with the popular choice, or expect a long term fund to generate constant growth in the short term. Discussing the fund’s growth with your manager regularly, reading reports by financial companies and looking up the workings of the best mutual funds relays valuable information.

5 Be certain that it is the best way to create wealth.

Investing in mutual funds is a matter of faith and being open to a little risk. Sometimes, all calculations can go awry and mutual funds may show extremely low returns. Hence, it is important to be convinced about the decision to invest in a mutual fund. Only when the investor is certain that they will give the best returns will the investor be confident about putting in his money in them.

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October 4, 2013

How To Get a Better Money Transfer Deal

piggybanks_2033319bWhether you are importing goods from China or buying an overseas property, you will want to know that you got the cheapest money transfer deal. You may have already planned popping into your own bank to arrange the necessary transfers, but did you know that they won’t offer you the best deal?

The truth is that high street banks are one of the most expensive ways to arrange a money transfer. It’s a much better idea to use a specialist foreign exchange company. They will have access to a higher rate than your bank and can also give you advice on the best way to transfer your money. Let’s take a look at those facts in more detail.

1. Expensive Bank Rates

By using a foreign money transfer service you could make typical savings of 5% compared to transferring the same amount with your own bank. That’s because a specialist money service has access to exchange rates that are very close to the Interbank rate – this is the rate that the banks use to lend money to each other. When you use a foreign money transfer service you get access to live rates and not the static rates that the banks set each morning. As a first step, compare exchange rates online so you can be sure of getting the best deal when you transfer your money overseas, especially when moving around large sums of money.

2. Benefits Of Using a Foreign Exchange Specialist

Not only will you get access to the best rates when you call a non-bank foreign exchange company. You will also get access to the best service and advice. Because exchange services focus on one specific aspect of finance, they have an excellent grasp of what is happening in the currency market and will aim to get you the most beneficial deal on your transfer.

3. Smart Forward Thinking With a Forward Contract

If you know you are going to be transferring regular sums of money overseas, it makes sense to consider a forward contract. Worrying about fluctuating exchange rates can keep you up at night when you are transferring large sums, but with a forward contract, your rate is set in stone for a set period of time – that period is usually 12 months. During this time you can enjoy that exchange rate and the extra money it can give you compared with the current exchange rate if there are adverse currency fluctuations.

4. Shop Around Online For The Best Transfer Deals

It really does pay to shop around for most things online and money transfer deals are no exception. The good news is that you could find the best deal for your situation and currency in moments when you use an online comparison site. Don’t always assume that the first deal you find is the best deal even if it is listed at the top of your Google search results. When you are transferring hefty sums of money around it pays to spend a few minutes, or indeed hours, researching the most beneficial rate.

5. Make Sure Your Currency Company Is FCA Accredited and Regulated

Of course, you need to be sure that any money transfer company you use is legitimate and authorised to be carrying out such transactions. Any UK payment services company that is transferring money and which is not regulated by the FCA is breaking the law. These regulations provide customers with a high level of protection and therefore it pays to look for an authorised company.

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October 21, 2012

Pros and Cons while using Internet Banking

Almost everything has become available online since the rise of the internet, and from apartment hunting to food shopping, going online has become a daily aspect of people’s lives. It quickly became apparent that banking customers should be able to access their finances online instead of having to find the nearest ATM for a statement, and thus internet banking was born. Some people were sceptical, and others wholly embraced the technology, but there was no doubt that internet banking was the future.

Nowadays, nearly 70 per cent of banking customers are registered to manage their finances online, and there are many reasons why internet banking has emerged as a staple of everyday life. Apart from being safe, convenient and secure, online banking is available 24 hours a day,and you can also transfer money to a friend or loved one whenever you want. Furthermore, online banking allows you to access your statement anytime you like, and from the comfort of your home. Here’s a list of the pros and cons of internet banking compiled by the people who love and hate it the most.

Pro – It’s Cost Effective

Internet banking means that you don’t have to travel to your nearest branch or ATM machine to access your finances. That means that you’re reducing your carbon footprint, especially when you think how many times you would have to travel every month to see your finances if internet banking wasn’t available. Furthermore, internet banking means millions of customers can be served at the same time, meaning less queues in branches, and more happy customers.

Pro – It’s Paperless

One of the most important advantages of internet banking is that it is paperless – gone are the days where your monthly statement is posted through your door! Banks have reported to have saved millions of pounds in printing since the introduction of internet banking, and many have donated a proportion of their savings to sustaining the green environment.

Pro – Easy Loan Applications

Before internet banking, customers who wanted to apply for a loan or IVAshad to make an appointment with their local bank. Depending on where a person lived, that could be a long journey, and even worse, some banks couldn’t provide appointments until months after the initial application. Nowadays, people who are registered for internet banking can simply apply for a loan online! In just a few clicks, a customer can fill in some details and get an answer to their loan application in a matter of minutes.

Con – Bank Relationship

Internet banking may be convenient, but customers used to be able to build up a trusting relationship with their bank manager. If personal circumstances changed, people could ask to talk to their account handler and explain their financial situation. Apart from providing the customer with peace of mind, bank managers could use their discretion in changing the terms of an account to help a person with repayments. However nowadays, this relationship has been lost.

Con – The Internet

This may sound simple, but what if a banking customer does not have access to the internet, or they are blind? In these circumstances, a person will have to go to a bank directly and organise their finances in person.

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February 29, 2012

Getting a Loan: 4 Reasons To Stick To Your Current Bank

When you are in the market for a new loan, there are a number of things you need to take into consideration when making your comparisons. With so many different lenders and loan products however, this comparison can be stressful, time consuming and confusing – but unfortunately it needs to be done because a loan is definitely not a financial product you want to get wrong. The wrong loan can be costly, it can be frustrating, it can put your security at risk and you can be stuck with it for many years.

Fortunately there is a way to make all of these comparisons a little easier. You can’t and shouldn’t avoid spending the time comparing loans, but what you can do is make the comparisons you need to with your current bank, and save yourself some time and save your sanity.

1 – Type of loan

Each lender will offer a number of different loans, but most lenders will specialise in a certain type of loan. Whether a lender is a small business specialist, a teacher’s credit union or a financial institution which specialises in bad credit cases, they will have these specialities to allow them to better understand and cater to their particular client, and offer more comprehensive services for their target customer.

If you can find a lender who specialises in your type of loan, then you will save yourself time in the approvals process because you won’t apply to a high profile lender when you need a bad credit specialist for example, who can offer you alternative verification procedures. Similarly, if you are a small business owner, you want to be dealing with a lender who is a specialist in low doc loans.

Therefore, when you first applied for your current loan, transaction or savings account you should have sought out a lender based on your needs and the type of product you were after, as well as the type of person you are. As a result, your current bank should already be perfectly matched to your needs and situation, and should therefore be the perfect financial institution to tailor a loan to your needs.

2 – Staff

When there is a problem with your account or you have a question you don’t want to be endlessly on hold and you want to speak to someone who will listen and be able to help you. If you already have a number of accounts with a certain lender you will know the level of customer service you receive and whether your questions are answered promptly and easily.

It is also important for a bank to have a well qualified loan officer on their staff who is able to look at your situation and tell you upfront whether you will qualify for a loan, and whether there is anything you can do to improve your chances of approval. If you already have a loan with your current bank then you will have dealt with the loan officer previously, and they will know your financial history in detail. This can help reduce the perceived risk to the bank of lending you more money, as they can see the intricate details of your loan history and how reliable you are with your repayments.

Going back to the small business example, if your current bank is a small business specialist, they will also likely have a small business advisor as part of their staff. Having specialist staff to meet your needs means you can discuss exactly why you need the loan, and your goals for your business, to make sure that a loan is the right option.

3 – Access

Successfully managing your finances means always knowing what is going on with your accounts. Therefore, whether you prefer to check your balances online, on your smart phone, by calling the phone banking number of popping into a branch on your way to work, you will have established routines with your current accounts. This not only means you can stay on top of your accounts, but it also means you know the best ways to avoid unnecessary fees.

Even if you are getting a loan with your existing bank you will likely have to go into the branch to complete the paper work, and this gives you a chance to discuss your loan needs. However, there is no doubt that online banking is much faster and convenient than a branch visit could ever be, and by applying for a new loan with your current lender you don’t need to learn any new online banking systems, or remember any new online banking passwords, because you can access all of your banking products in the one place.

4 – Reputation and relationship

The reason word of mouth advertising is so successful is because it is devoid of any marketing hype or spin, and simply tells the true story of a real personal experience with a service provider. When you are shopping around for anything new, chances are you’ve asked your friends and family which product or service they use, and whether they are happy, to help you narrow down your search and choose a reputable and reliable product. However, the danger when relying too heavily on word of mouth advertising when it comes to banking products lies in how different your financial situation is to that of your friends and family.

There is usually a lot more going on with other people’s finances than they’ll let on, so one person’s experience with a bank may not necessarily reflect another’s. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t rely on word of mouth advertising at all when looking for a lender, because you can ask yourself about your experiences with your current bank, and receive an honest and relevant answer. Ask yourself whether you are happy with the service, whether it is easy to do your banking with your current bank, and whether the products are reasonably priced and fully featured. This will give you a good indication of whether it is worth you taking out a new loan product with your current bank – whom you already know everything about.

Plus, when you have an existing relationship with your bank, it is often possible to have loan application fees waived, and you may even be able to negotiate on any ongoing fees, or qualify for a lower interest rate because you are known to the lender.

Alban has been blogging about personal loans for the last 3 years. He has also contributed several articles on savings accounts and credit cards.

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