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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 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 19, 2018

8 Benefits of Invoice Factoring

money invoiceWhen working in B2B or B2G sectors invoice factoring is essential. With this type of invoicing, you are provided a short-term capital in exchange for assigning invoices to a factor. The company receives about 80 – 85% of the advanced payment and later when invoice is paid,- the remaining 20%.

Unlike factoring, business invoice finance is easier to use in a way that you don’t need to assign invoices. However, the two terms are often used interchangeably. Here are 8 benefits of invoice factoring in case you are still considering whether to use it for your business or not.

1. Professional Management of Your Finances

When you entrust a professional company to handle your paperwork and collection of payments on your invoices, you save a lot of time. And saving time means saving money. The cost of accessing such services has fallen significantly lately. Though fees vary from one company to another and also depend on what kind of business you have, generally, factoring finance fees range from 0.5 to 3.0%.

Your contract with an invoice factoring company doesn’t have to be permanent or long-term. You are free to choose when to avail yourself of such services depending on when you need them most.

2. Flexible Financing Terms

Accessing finances from banks can be quite challenging for small or medium businesses because most financial institutions prefer to deal with established brands and businesses. The real benefit of using invoice factoring services is that you don’t need to have a great credit or spend years in business to qualify for them.

This happens because the company looks at how capable your customers are of paying the invoices, not how credible or long-term your business is. Moreover, a factor can provide more finances for your business if the need arises. If your business experiences increased sales you can easily apply for more money from a factor.

3. No Stress

You don’t have to wait on your customers to make their payments so you would make yours. Straight away, you are provided with cash on your invoices. You can deal with your taxes and pay all the needed bills on time.

You can proceed with your day to day business without worrying about when you will get paid by the clients. You can actually grow your business, implement new ideas and try new ways of doing business in your sphere while a professional factoring company takes care of your invoices.

4. Growing Your Business

The law of business is if you want it to grow, you need a steady cash flow. Concentrating on your business and acquiring new clients rather than on chasing your debtors will help you do that. As an owner of a business you can pay your suppliers straight away without waiting for some cash from the clients.

Thus, your manufacturing works smoothly and continually without delay. Another benefit is that you will also be able to extend credit lines to your loyal customers. In business, customer loyalty is one of the most decisive factors, so this will give you an advantage over competitors.

5. Easy and Fast Access to Cash

The factoring process is rather quick and not complicated. Usually, the funds are provided to you within 24-48 hours after your invoices have been approved. The initial setup can be 5 top 10 days. However, if you consider business cash flow loans from a bank, it will take you far longer than that.

An adequate cash flow is what keeps your business afloat and growing. All the daily business routines need to be taken into consideration: financing daily operations, paying rent along with utility bills, paying employees and suppliers. That is why it is essential to have cash on your hands at all times.

6. Credit Control

Late payments from clients can cripple your business. A debtor finance company will help you and your employees to concentrate on work instead of chasing the creditors. If you hire an invoice factoring company, it will assume the functions of credit controller and will free time for you to do your business.

An invoice factoring professional knows how to deal with customers who are late on their payments, unwilling to repay their debts or fail to pay them altogether. You won’t have to spend time and money on legal actions against your debtors.

7. Stronger Balance Sheet

Factoring doesn’t appear on your balance sheet or financial statement as an expense because it is not a loan. By using invoice factoring, you avoid taking on a new debt. You will receive the cash that you need to pay your vendors or suppliers on time, to make some major purchase for your business or just to improve your cash flow.

You will use you existing account receivables and this will not be a loan, and thus, not a debt.

8. Profit Predictability

When using invoice finance services you have an opportunity to predict your profits. Since profits can be quite unstable, it is difficult for business owners to make plans.

However, when you use factoring, you know that you will immediately receive most of your payments and thus you can predict your profits and make the needed investments for the future, like necessary repairs or even company expansion.

Invoice factoring can be a huge advantage for small businesses when the credibility of your customers is more important than yours. Invoice factoring services can be beneficial both for B2G and B2B spheres.

Here are some examples of industries where it can be used:

• Construction companies. Construction project need years to be completed but workers need to be paid regularly and on time. Besides, these projects involve a lot of expenditures.

• Trucking companies. There are a lot of expenses in this industry: from truck maintenance to the cost of fuel. You simply cannot afford to wait for 30 or 60 days to be paid for your services. This is where invoice factoring solves the problem.

• Recruitment, staffing and employment agencies. Invoice finance companies are probably the most needed in this sphere. Usually you have to pay your contracted workers before the payment from the clients is received.

• Clothing manufacturers and textile industries. It is obvious that before you receive payment for the products that you sell, like clothes or accessories, you need to invest in materials and of course pay your employees. Utilizing invoice factoring will help you do that without getting into debts.

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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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