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June 17, 2017

Saving Money When Renting, Buying or Renovating

money saving purposeWhether you’re getting ready to rent your first apartment, buy your forever home, thinking of renovating your current one, or anywhere in between, there are many ways in which you can still save money.

Statistics show that more and more people are choosing to rent rather than buy a home. This may be due to financial issues or the desire to remain mobile. However, it does not mean you can’t still use your money wisely.

Consider a professional advisor. They can sit down with you and examine your finances, help you decide whether to rent, or – often for the same cost – invest in a house with a mortgage.

If you choose to rent, you can also save money by selecting a property that comes furnished. This will allow you to recoup some costs by selling your furniture, and lowers moving costs, as a van and movers can be a significant expenditure.

Before you sign any contracts, make sure to conduct a walk-through with the landlord. Point out seemingly minor details such as chipped paint and broken appliances. By taking photos and videos, you could be saving yourself money in the future if the landlord were to claim you were the cause of the damage.

Purchasing your first house or moving into your forever home can be an exciting time. You have scrimped and saved for months or years, but that doesn’t mean your saving work is done.

Research is your best friend. There are a plethora of comparison sites such as Colleton River Real Estate that are easy-to-use and allow you to search based on specific criteria. These include: location, price range, property type, and amenities, to name a few. Most of these sites also provide material such as photographs and video; local information on schools, transport, and house prices; and in some cases, the ability to receive price change updates.

For those who feel capable, you can also save money by giving up the traditional agent. Though it is still a new avenue, when done right it can end up saving your thousands of dollars.

If you are already close to living in the house of your dreams, sometimes renovating can be the right choice. Once again, research will be your saving grace.

Get multiple quotes, make sure everything is in writing (including differentiating between labor and material costs), and don’t be afraid to haggle or ask for a price-match. Always use a company that is fully registered and licenced. Check with your local laws and regulations before beginning any work, to avoid your work being demolished at your own expense.

At a time when anxiety is high and all of this might be going over your head, it’s important to remember that, whichever route you choose, there are ways to save money. Take your time, and enjoy this new stage in your life.

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June 16, 2017

Coming to Terms with Bankruptcy

details about bankruptcy filingIt can be difficult to make the decision to file bankruptcy because most people are afraid of the unknowns associated with actually filing a bankruptcy claim and becoming insolvent. It’s scary to think that you could lose your house or your car, or any other valuable asset you have, and so a lot of people put off filing for bankruptcy for as long as possible; unfortunately, this usually only perpetuates the situation. What’s more, some people finally make the decision to file for bankruptcy and then find out they don’t actually qualify for it. It’s important to get the facts straight so you can decide what is right for you. Once you do make the decision to file for bankruptcy, you’ll want to start working toward the rest of your life.

Get Passed the Shame

There is no shame in reaching out to a Licenced Insolvency Trustee to discuss the option of bankruptcy. Once you have discussed your options and it is decided that you will file for bankruptcy, your credit counsellor can help you determine how to move forward. They will talk you through what the next few weeks, months or even years may look like for you in terms of your financial standings, and you can start to put together a plan to get back on your feet.

Work Toward Goals

Now that the bankruptcy has been filed, it can seem overwhelming to think that you need to start rebuilding your financial status. It’s important to have a list of things you want to work toward; for example, make a long term plan for holding a credit card again. Make a short term plan of building a savings account for yourself so you can cushion unforeseen financial issues in the future.

Talk to Your Family

Part of declaring bankruptcy is that you’ll need to attend some kind of counselling sessions; it will be important to your claim that you do this. What’s more, you should have a frank and honest conversation about your finances with your closest family members so they can understand what is happening to you and perhaps can help you. At the very least, having someone to talk to about what is going on can help you deal with it.

Don’t Give Up

Some people think that filing for bankruptcy is the end of the world. It is just a process by which you can hit the refresh button on your finances – in its simplest terms. Good and honest people often find themselves having to file for a bankruptcy because their finances have gotten out of their control. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person or you don’t deserve to have anything ever again. A series of bad choices or circumstances got you here, but you don’t have to stay in that place.

If you aren’t sure if bankruptcy is right for you, consult a Licensed Insolvency Trustee and they will walk you through the criteria and help you determine if you need to file a bankruptcy claim. While it seems like it’s very unfortunate, you will be able to get through it with the help of your credit counselor.

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April 14, 2017

Finance Your Travel Smartly

smart finance tripHoliday plans are often spontaneous and happen when you’re desperately in need of a break from the monotony of your life. Suppose you are planning a family vacation when your spouse or kids have holidays but your funds are a bit tied up. Should you postpone your vacation till you have the money? Absolutely not! Instead of being disheartened by thinking that you do not have sufficient funds at the moment, you can simply plan a vacation with a personal loan.

You can finance your travel smartly by availing a personal loan. Based on your credit history& income source, the eligibility and amount will be determined and accordingly the tenure and repayment conditions for the loan will be laid out. Salaried individuals find it easier to avail personal loans as compared to self-employed businessmen. However, if you have filed tax returns & all company documents are in place, even self-employed individuals can avail a personal loan without providing collateral.

An online personal loan is extremely easy to avail and rarely require any form of collateral. If you meet the eligibility criteria set by the lending institutions and have the necessary documentation in place, there is a definite chance your application will get an approval. In fact, these days online personal loans can be completely paperless with online submission of scanned id and residence proof.

How do personal loans compare with credit card EMIs? There are tax benefits for personal loans. You can claim income tax benefit under Section 24 on personal loan which offers an overall interest benefit of 1.5 lacs for tax exemption. In addition, extending your credit card to finance your travel is not a good idea as they have predefined credit limits that may not suffice the amount you need for your travel.

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April 13, 2017

Demolition or Renovation – Which Should You Pick?

low cost home renovationsIf you buy a prebuilt home that doesn’t have a tremendous value as it stands, you might find yourself wondering whether to rebuild it from the ground up or try to repair and remodel it as it stands. The question is one worth considering seriously because there can be major variations in the cost difference between the two options. There are many factors involved in the final decision according to sites like thepattisallgroup.com, each of which can influence it in a certain way.

Historical Value Must be Checked

People commonly want to demolish and rebuild if the home they bought is a timeworn one. In cases like this, you have to think about the significance of the house in history. Some homes are protected by the city for their historical value. These are commonly referred to as heritage homes, and you can’t just take a wrecking ball to them. You must talk to the state and federal government and get permits to break them down before doing so. In times like this, it might be more convenient just to renovate the home instead.

Consider Local Building Limitations

Some parts of a town, state or country have certain restrictions placed on how you can rebuild the home after demolishing it. These are usually regions of architectural importance, which are visited by tourists often for a look at the homes which are of a certain basic design. Demolishing an old home might not be the best idea if you are required to rebuild it in almost the exact same way that it looked before.

Saving Money on Renovation Isn’t Easy

Most legitimate home improvements are quite costly. You may be tempted to save money by cutting corners on certain aspects of the renovation. However, if you ever try to sell the house in the future and the quality of even the tiniest aspect isn’t up to par, you will have to pay a pretty hefty fine to repair the house before selling it. Because of this, your long-term costs can still be far higher than when demolishing and rebuilding the house.

You Can’t Live in the House While Renovating

Many people choose renovation because they want to move in as quickly as possible. They think that staying in the home while it is being renovated is a good idea and one that will save on rent money. The truth is, this can be quite harmful to the health of the people in your home. Renovation releases toxic chemicals, dust, and worse. All of these can be harmful, especially to pets, kids, and people with allergic conditions.

You should also consider how good you are at planning things. There are people who are great planners and others who are terrible at it. If you’re a terrible planner, renovation might not be the best idea since you won’t be able to determine how well the project goes. Hiring an architect and demolishing the old house might be the best course of action in a situation like this.

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March 26, 2017

Why Wealth People Are Buying In Citizenship By Investment Schemes

wealth investment schemesThese days, many wealthy people are buying their citizenship in locations where it is easy for them to preserve their wealth. There are actually numerous countries that allow what is called an immigrant investor program. These programs are set up by the countries’ governments in order to bring wealthy people into their ranks, and benefit from those people.

Countries with Immigrant Investor Programs

Countries like Cyprus, Spain, Malta and Australia have these programs. It is likely that in the future, more and more countries are going to begin implementing these types of programs. Especially as more countries are feeling the strain of the global financial crisis. This can help energize their economies. The most popular locations are in Europe, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean.

An example of this type of program can be found in Malta. Their program is called the Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme. This program grants ‘naturalization by investment to reputable individuals and their dependents, after a rigid and thorough due diligence processes that make a significant contribution to the social and economic development of the country.’ What are the benefits? After five years of buying property in Malta, this will be tax exempt on sale. There is also no inheritance or death taxes, no estate duty, no net worth or wealth taxes and no municipal taxes, rates or real estate taxes. Dual citizenship is also available.

The examples above for Malta are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits for the wealthy related to immigrant investor programs. These programs are specifically aimed at the very wealthy. The investments required can range from $500,000 to several million dollars. For those that do make this kind of investment, this is a very small amount. In Europe, Bulgaria requires a $700,000 investment in government bonds for five years, whereas in the Caribbean, St. Kitts& Nevis requires a $400,000 investment in real estate or the sugar industry.

Why are the wealthy investing in new citizenship in this manner?

So if the investment is minor for these investors, then what makes them want to participate in this type of investing? The main reason for doing this is the tax benefits. The super rich are always looking for ways to keep their money out of the hands of their government, and hold onto as much of it as they can. In this instance, the countries offering these programs, like the ones mentioned above, offer lower income taxes, and, more importantly, inheritance taxes.

There are other incentives as well. These include:

• Access to better education
• A desire to escape political instability or disagreement
• Better passport or visa-free travel to more countries, especially those in Europe as part of the European Union
• Higher standards of living
• Tax advantages

There are even some of the very rich who try to avoid taxes altogether by bouncing between countries around the globe with different citizenships and residence permits.

Who are these extremely wealthy people making this type of investment?

Those who are gaining citizenship through investment are from all over the world. Generally, many of these wealthy are from the Middle East, India, South Africa and China.

So how can the not-so-wealthy take advantage of these programs?

There are a few countries that do not require as large of an investment, like Bulgaria, in order to invest in citizenship, but gain all of the benefits. Dominica, for example, is the most inexpensive deal. With only an investment of $100,000 plus some fees, citizenship can be bought. Even St. Kitts and Nevis has a cheaper program than the $400,000 mentioned above. For only $25000, you can make a non-refundable donation to the St. Kitts & Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation to get access to citizenship.

There are also many countries that offer citizenship for an investment below one million US dollars. These include Malta, Portugal, and other EU countries where you can also gain all the benefits of the EU. Of late, citizenship by investment in Malta is gaining popularity due to various benefits. Moving and living in Malta has become so popular also due to the economic boom there is on the island

The least expensive of them all may be Latvia, where with a five-year residency costs merely $96,000. The benefits associated with this program include a common visa policy shared by twenty six European countries, but there is no telling how long this deal will last.

More countries are now offering this type of Immigrant Investor Program to help their economies bring the wealthy, and not so super wealthy, into their citizenship.

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