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February 7, 2017

How much travel insurance costs?

get insurance to travelYou have finally decided to take the vacation that you were planning since ages. Or perhaps,you have just got promoted and there is a business trip that needs to be undertaken as part of training. More often than not, such trips would entail traveling abroad. In either case, getting a travel insurance cover for your trip is a must. It will ensure that you are safeguarded against any accident or mishap that may occur during the trip.

When you undertake a trip through a travel company, often you would be given the option to buy travel insurance. In case you are traveling on your own, you would be presented with the option of travel insurance too while booking flight tickets. In both cases, you would be informed about the travel insurance premium that would be incurred. Ever wondered how this premium amount is calculated? What are the factors that come into play in finalizing the premium figure? Read on to find out how much your travel insurance cost.

There is a multitude of factors that determine the travel insurance premium. The thing here is, insurance cover cannot be generic. Every individual has unique needs that necessitate a customized insurance cover resulting in varying premiums. Generally speaking, the factors can be broadly classified into the following –

  • Level of coverage

The level of coverage determines the degree of protection you would be entitled to during your travel. This is something that needs to be decided by a careful examination of risks involved during your trip. First of all, you need to check the country you are visiting. You should check how safe it is. For instance, if you are traveling to a country that is not politically stable or is embroiled in a civil war, your travel premium is going to increase significantly. On the other hand, if you are traveling to a country that scores high in the security domain, you travel insurance will cost you less.

  • Nature and/or length of the trip

Next, the nature of the trip is also something that determines the travel premium. A business trip is likely to cost you less since the risk factor is low. On the contrary, if you are undertaking an adventure trip that involves activities like bungee jumping or skydiving, you would need to pay more. Additionally, the trip duration also needs to be given a thought. If you are going to travel to the same place, say thrice during the year. It will be a good idea to get an annual policy at a reduced travel premium.

  • Type of coverage i.e. Individual or Group

In case you are traveling alone, it’s pretty obvious that it will cost you less. In the case you are accompanied by yourfamily, you should opt for a group travel insurance rather than getting individual coverage to save money.

  • Age

Lastly, one of the most important factors is age. Your travel insurance premium will be significantly lower if you are younger. This is because you are less prone to health related risks. Typically, insurance providers have separate plans for senior citizens and require medical check-up.

With the understanding of these pointers, you should get a fair idea of the cost associated with your travel insurance.

For more information on travel insurance policy Click Here

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January 15, 2017

Making Money By Selling Refreshed Apple Products

money appleTry, for a moment, to think of a corporation that compares to Apple. What company has the name recognition, branding, and carefully constructed image that Apple has built over the last decade of total technological dominance?

The Leader of the Pack

The answer, of course, is that Apple has no real competition. Their rise to power has been slow and steady, but the cell phone industry analysis is indisputable. As of mid-2015, CNet reports that about 100 million Americans use iPhones. That’s roughly 1/3 of the population of the United States.

If you walk into your local coffee shop, you’ll immediately note the dominance of the MacBook as the preferred notebook computer for telecommuters across the US. Want a tablet? The iPad is the obvious choice.

The popularity of a product is one of the most important variables in determining whether there is money to be made in servicing and repairing that product. Consider other household goods, appliances, or even vehicles? If a car manufacturer produces a dominant model, and that model is purchased and driven by 1/3 of the US population, how many other services professionals can benefit from that popularity? Mechanics will exclusively service the model. Aftermarket part manufacturers will build and distribute exclusively for the model and re-sellers will benefit from exclusively carrying the model, since such a huge percentage of the population will purchase it.

Using the auto analogy helps to demonstrate the significant opportunity that exists for an iPhone repair franchise. Sure, cars cost more. But the impact of Apple’s popularity is difficult to comprehend without thinking in terms of other, similarly valuable products.

Apple Franchise Markets are Everywhere

One of the secrets to successful franchising is selecting an appropriate market in which to operate a new business. For some franchises, that decision can be tricky. Food preferences can depend on region. Educational and fitness needs are largely dependent on demographics like age and income. But Apple products, with their complete market domination, are present in every metro area and suburb, every college campus and retirement community. Uses vary, certainly. The average MacBook pro user will differ significantly from the average owner of an iPhone manufactured three years ago. Their repair needs, however, are universal.

Refreshed Apple Products as an Income Stream

Making money with an iPhone repair franchise is possible in part because of the multiple income streams that are generated by a familiarity with the products and the capacity to fix them. One of those income streams is the sale of refreshed products, which come in as trades for customers in search of an upgrade. Although we’re accustomed to hearing about how high-tech goods are out of date as soon as they are purchased, there are several reasons that consumers have proven to be quite interested in purchasing used or refurbished Apple electronics.

  • Upgrades are largely software based. From one generation to the next, cell phones, tablets, and computers no longer change physically by leaps and bounds so that they quickly become obsolete. Instead, Apple (along with its competitors), rolls out downloadable software updates that keep even older hardware running for many years.
  • New products are prohibitively expensive. Thousands of dollars for laptops. Hundreds of dollars for even the cheapest cell phone in the lineup. Apple products are extremely expensive, but that has done nothing but whet the public’s appetite for them. Middle-income consumers have kept the prices of used and refurbished Apple products steadily high for years, with online and iPhone repair franchise profits significantly greater, as a percentage of original retail pricing, than any other comparable goods. A car driven off the lot loses a third of its value immediately. A brand new iPhone does no such thing.
  • Many repairs are easy. Broken screens and dead home buttons are often enough to send consumers—accustomed to instant gratification from their expensive devices—running to order a new tablet or phone. But the repairs are often simple and largely cosmetic, which means excellent profit margins on refreshed items. Frustrations with non-working features or broken exteriors often mean upgrades for buyers, but for an iPhone repair franchise they mean quick turnover, minimal investment, and exceptional profits.

Selling refreshed Apple products is worth investigating for any savvy entrepreneur as a personal experiment—list an item online for sale—something in a desk drawer that you’ll never use again—and look how quickly buyers flock to purchase your used electronics. It’s a lesson that warrants reflection.

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December 16, 2016

NPS and How to Maximize Asset Allocation

asset allocationsThe National Pension System (NPS), introduced by the Indian government in the year 2004 is mandatory for all government employees except the armed forces personnel.This scheme was extended to the private sector in 2009. It is a portable retirement savings account, which can be efficiently used to provide financial security to senior’s through a pension income.

This scheme offers benefits such as tax deduction of INR 1.5 lacs under section 80CCD (1) of the Income Tax Act (IT). An additional tax deduction of up to INR 50,000 under section 80CCD (1B) of the IT Act is also available. Subscribers also have the flexibility of choosing asset allocation between equity, fixed income instruments, and government securities.

NPS is known as a defined contribution scheme because returns under this scheme are market driven. The NPS interest rate changes based on the performance of the market and the asset allocation chosen by the subscribers.

Asset allocation under NPS

Funds invested in NPS can be invested into 3 types of assets namely equity, corporate bonds, and government securities. There are two investment options available under this plan;auto choice and active choice.

Under auto choice, funds are automatically allocated in a pre-determined proportion based on the age of the subscriber. For example for subscribers under the age of 35 years, funds are allocated as follows: 50% in equity and balance amongst corporate bonds and government securities. As the subscribers age, the exposure to equity is reduced and investment in government securities increase.

Under the active choice option, subscribers may choose the asset allocation as per their preferences. The NPS scheme allows subscribers to allot upto 50% of their contributions to equity. Subscribers may use this option to their advantage to maximize the potential returns. For instance, an Investor approaching retirement age (between 45 to 50 years) may opt for a conservative allocation by investing a substantial portion of his funds in government securities.

Maturity and Annuities

The primary objective of NPS is to create a corpus that is used to buy an annuity plan for regular income during the post-retirement years. At the age of 60, the subscriber may with draw a maximum of 60% of the funds as a lump sum. The remaining corpus is used to purchase an annuity that will provide regular income to the subscriber.

Subscribers may choose not to withdraw any funds and use 100% of the corpus to buy an annuity. However, if the corpus at the time of exit from NPS at the age of 60 years is less than 2 lacs, the subscribers may withdraw the entire amount in lump sum. To determine the potential income, individuals may use an online pension plan calculator.

Joining NPS

In order to join the NPS scheme, the subscribers must submit the NPS application form, along with Know Your Customer documents to a Point of Presence (POP). Upon submitting the documents, the subscribers are issued with a Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN), T-Pin and I-Pin. Subscribers are informed of their PRAN application status via email and SMS. They may also know their application status by contacting the issuing bank. However, the subscribers may get in touch with the Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA) which manages the issuance of PRAN, in case the PRAN card is not received.

NPS is focused on offering financial security to the individuals after their retirement. The flexibility available for investors to allocate their contributions in different asset classes allows them to maximize the returns and accumulate a higher post-retirement income.

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August 27, 2016

The 3 Keys to Landing Your First Accounting Job

business accountingGraduating from a prestigious educational institution with specialized certification in accountancy? You are all set to bag your first job in your field of interest—accounting.

Applying for that dream job might be a tedious process and waiting for a call back after an interview might take several months.

Here are three of the most important things you need to take care of so you can bag a job before your potential rivals.

1. Resume

The first—and sometimes only—thing that a HR manager looks at to decide if you are worth hiring is your resume and remember you have only 6 seconds to catch their attention. As a fresher with no experience, you might not have much on there. This means you need to figure out what content goes in your resume.

Choose an apt font and size that gives it a classic and clean-cut professional look. With some research, you can find good resume keywords online, including those that help catch the attention of the hiring committee. Avoid using capitalized, bold, and italicised terms in you bio, unless absolutely necessary.

Pick the perfect type of resume that allows you to highlight your skills and specializations. Chronological, functional, and combinational are three of the basic types of resumes among a list of many others.

Use catchy subtitles. Construct lines effectively. Do not write more than two lines for any description, and keep the language stylish yet simple. Watch carefully for grammatical errors.

Make sure you don’t go overboard with any of these tips. Your resume should portray effortless efficiency. Also, try to keep it within 2 pages.

2. Interview

Once your resume is selected, you’ll have to face the interview. Most people get nervous and anxious, and tend to mess up their interview despite their calibre and talent. This is mainly due to lack of preparation. Even though most interviewers expect you to be street-smart, a thorough knowledge in the field of your choice is also essential.

You are spoiled for choices when it comes to resources—be it online or offline—to help your prep for the interview. You can easily find blogs that give out frequently asked interview questions in a finance interview.

Apart from preparing for these questions and brushing up on your syllabi that was covered over the many semesters, you should also have a brief knowledge of software like ERP accounting software and business management software that are in trend, and are used by most organizations.

Knowledge about current affairs and the latest accounting standards is also an absolute necessity.

3. Confidence

To crack any interview, confidence is the most important factor. Your body language plays a significant role in cracking an interview. Even small signs of nervousness or uncertainty are caught during the interview. Stay confident right from when you send out your resume. The process might be a time-consuming one, but leads to success.

With some motivation, patience, and making smart choices while displaying your talents, landing your dream job is a piece of cake. Use these tips, and an accounting job is in the bag!

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August 10, 2016

Using an equity release calculator

calculating financeMany homeowners have a considerable amount of cash tied up in the equity of their homes – that is, the value of the amount of the home they own, less any outstanding mortgage or loan.

Not only is it possible to release that equity – to enjoy its present cash value – but more homeowners than ever before appear to be choosing to do so. This is a conclusion drawn in a story published in the Guardian newspaper on the 25th of January 2016.

During the course of 2015, a record 22,500 equity release agreements were made, representing a return to the nation’s homeowners of a total of some £1.61 billion.

How do I know if equity release is right for me?

Probably the single most informative source is an online equity release calculator. It might be the best step to gaining some idea of what equity there may be in your home that may be released, depending on the value of the property and your age (you need to be 55 or over to qualify for any equity release scheme).

Combine an equity release calculator with a comparison website which shows the various interest rates currently offered by equity release providers and you may get a pretty clear idea of whether to take things further. There is generally no limit on the number of times you may use the same calculator.

There are any number of such online calculators and it might be difficult knowing which one to choose. Some of the things to look out for when choosing one, therefore, might include:

  • how much equity you might be able to release, the interest rates governing the various schemes on offer and what the impact is likely to be upon your estate;
  • whether the provider is a member of the Equity Release Council – since this guarantees a certain number of safeguards built into any agreement; and
  • whether the site providing the calculator also offers a detailed guide on how equity release works and the arrangements that might be made to answer your queries and discuss your concerns directly with any provider.

Types of equity release

Using an equity release calculator is only the first step in what is invariably a complicated process, involving very serious decisions about the home in which you live, the funds it might unlock and the impact any agreement has on the estate you may pass on to your surviving dependents and relatives.

This makes it important that you seek the advice and guidance of a specialist in the provision of equity release agreements and embark on a learning curve that might lead to your understanding of the two principal vehicles for equity release:

  • home reversion – this involves the sale of a proportion of your home to the equity release provider, so that you become a co-owner, but may continue to live in the dwelling until your share of the property is sold upon your death or when you move into long-term care; or
  • lifetime mortgage – this is probably a more popular arrangement than home reversion and allows you to make a more reliable calculation of the costs involved. A lifetime mortgage is similar to a regular mortgage, but you make no repayments on the advance, which continues to attract interest in the normal way. The mortgage is repaid from the sale proceeds of the property when you die or move into long-term care.

The use of an equity release calculator may be enough to set you off on the road to unlocking some of the wealth tied up in your home.

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