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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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January 18, 2017

How to Open a Savings Account

creating a savings accountA savings bank account is where most people begin their journey of savings. There is no safer place than a bank to store your money. It also pays you for keeping your money there in the form of interest. But, there are several banks around and each have their own benefits, so before you open a savings account decide a bank to go to. Following are steps on how to open a savings account –

– Select a bank

Inquire about banks that are situated in your locality. Better will be to research about them online as there is an abundance of information available online. Each bank will have a distinctive service and offer, decide which one’s best for you. Important points to consider is the presence of the bank and their ATM networks. Also remember that you will be needing several services of your bank at random hours so there has to be an availability of online and mobile banking as well. Be it physically or digitally, your bank should be within reach all the time.

– Check out their website

If you like a bank then go ahead and check out their website and find out more about their services. You can check out each and every service of theirs by just sitting on your desk. The advent of mobile and online banking has made life convenient, also ATMs can be accessed 24/7 making banking simpler and hassle free. Plan your visit to the bank on weekdays at 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. and on Saturdays at 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. Banks remain closed on Sundays and other public holidays.

– Type of account

Although we know that we’ve to open a savings account, there are several types of savings account out there catered specifically to match your needs. Some options are Easy access accounts, Basic savings accounts, Joint savings accounts, Women’s savings accounts and Youth account. Best option for you will be to get in touch with bank representative and ask for details.

– Keep information ready

To open any savings account you will have to submit certain documents and information to the bank. This is a norm that is followed by all banks, some banks will require more information and several documents will be asked, it will be better if you keep these documents handy.

– Depositing your opening amount

Several banks require a minimum amount deposit to open a new account. The amount depends on the bank, some may have a greater minimum amount deposit and same may have none. Find out these details in advance and have the amount ready when you’re about to open a new account.

– Read and understand the terms

Do not hesitate to ask questions, you should be clear about each and every aspect of the account. Also read the information available online on the bank’s website, inquire about service charges, benefits and services available on the account.

– Sample signature

You will asked for a sample signature while opening your account. This signature will be used in all of your future transactions related to the account, like withdrawing money or signing a check. If there are noticeable differences in your signature then the transaction won’t be permitted. This a procedure done to keep your account safe and to avoid any issues with the signature, you can practice it on a piece of paper for several times.

– Account opened!

Congratulations, you’re now a valued bank customer. After the verification of your form and documents, your account will be opened. You will receive a welcome kit from the bank that will include important information about your account like information leaflets, cheque book and customer relation number. The kit may also include your debit card, with the pin number, also attached will be your net banking and phone banking pin.

With the advent of technology on the banking front, you can also opt for online account opening, the procedure is easy and the steps are hassle-free.

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October 19, 2016

Four Quick Tips About Budgeting

entire budgetingBudgeting doesn’t need to be hard. It can be as simple as you want to make it. However, there are a few things that you can do to make sure you have a positive experience with your budget. Here are four tips to make sure you have a great experience and start to feel the “magic” of budgeting.

Tip #1 – Write it Down

Budgets can come in many shapes and sizes. They can be created for individuals, families, and households. You can even create them to help you find the funds to go on a service mission, have a wedding, or have another specific event. The biggest issue, however, is not that people don’t want to do a budget…it’s that they never write it down. Writing it down brings a level of commitment. Putting it out on paper or a spreadsheet, or even using an app of software allows you to see it and commit to it. So take a second and write your budget down, if you haven’t already!

Tip #2 – Create a Savings Plan

Along with a budget, consider having a separate document that goes along with your budget that will work hand in hand. That document is a savings plan. Creating a specific savings plan will enable you to keep your mind on the long game… that is saving for the future and for future emergencies. It doesn’t need to be hard. Just specify how much you want to save and then make specific, action goals so that you can make sure and accomplish what you are striving for.

Tip #3 – Make Goals

Speaking of goals…while you are writing down your budget and savings plan, make sure that you make S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time oriented. Setting goals allows you to look into the future and make plans. It will also become a benchmark and allow you to feel successful when you hit those goals. Look at the next six months or a year and make some goals and then do everything that you can to strive to hit them!

Tip #4 – Keep the Long Term in Mind

We all have times when we have an emergency or situation in which we need to spend money to survive. Whether it’s medical bills, or the car breaks down, we all have times when this happens. Don’t let it bother you. Pay what you need to pay, and then get back up and keep striving to hit your goals. If you can keep the long term in mind, then you will forever be able to accomplish your goals (even if it takes a bit longer than you thought).

If you can keep these four tips in mind, then you will have a positive budgeting experience. Put it out on paper, create a savings plan that compliments your budget, and make specific goals to help you get where you want to go. If something happens in the middle of your plans, keep the long term in mind. Following these four tips will increase your level of financial confidence and ultimately help you find financial peace in the months and years to come.

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October 5, 2016

3 ways to keep your online banking secure in 2016

online banking securitiesIt is one of those timeless conundrums which has tested the thinking of man for centuries. If you had to, would you do something you know was very dangerous.

If you saw a child about to be run over, would you step in front of a car to save them? If you are dying of thirst, would you drink filthy water to survive? If you house is on fire, would you jump out of the window to escape.

We have all pondered these kinds of questions at some point, but fortunately most of us never have to contemplate the dilemma in reality.

But there are other everyday dilemmas that we do have to confront which, whilst perhaps not involving the same danger, can still expose us to significant risk.

One such example of this is when we use online banking. We know online banking is insecure. It doesn’t matter which bank you use, and how many trendy keypads and other gadgets they give you, we all know there is still a risk when we log into our online account which isn’t there if we want into a branch.

The popularity of online banking suggests two things about this. Either we don’t fully understand the extent of the risk, or we have decided it is a risk we are willing to take. For most of us, it is a combination of both.

But make no mistake, online banking does pose a significant risk. The level of security used by all banks is extremely weak and the techniques of online hackers gets ever more sophisticated. And often we don’t help ourselves, making basic errors like using easy-to-break passwords or logging on while connected to public Wi-Fi networks.

The ramifications if you are hacked can be significant too. Of course, you can lose a lot of money. However, as most banks will compensate you in those circumstances that is sometimes not a big worry. But going into overdraft or losing a sizable amount of money can affect things like your credit cards, and premium accounts you may hold, and of course run up charges with your bank that can take months to sort out.

Then there is your credit score. If you are hacked and miss payments as a result, it can affect your credit score which might cause you to be unable to get credit and secure mortgages and other financial services.

So, the question I am often asked is whether there is a way to protect ourselves when using Online Banking. Is it possible to make the process more secure?

Encouragingly, the answer is yes. And in this article I will give you my tips as to the top 3 ways to keep your online banking secure in 2016:

1. Use an ‘Anti-Spy Privacy Screen:

For all the high-tech ways that people get hacked these days, there are still a significant number of incidents where data is stolen simply by watching over people’s shoulder as they use their online banking account in public.

It might seem silly, but it happens a lot and it is unnecessary because there is a cheap and simple bit of kit which can prevent it: an Anti-Spy Privacy Screen.

There are available for all devices these days and work in the same way as a regular screen protector. However, they are a little thicker and a little darker, and this means that when you look at the screen of a device from an angle, you can see nothing.

Only the person directly facing the screen can make out what is there, so when you log onto your online banking on the go, you can be sure that the only person looking, is you.

2. Change your Password Regularly:

Passwords are another big vulnerability of online banking. Often they are easy to guess, simple to crack, and offer little or no real protection.

One way around this is to use a Password Manager such as Last Pass which can make it easy for you to use complicated passwords without having to remember them all.

But another relatively effective approach is just to change your password on a regular basis. If you are an occasional user, making a password change every few months is a sensible precaution, but if you are logging into your account regularly and from different locations, every few weeks would be more sensible.

3. Use a VPN:

Perhaps the most important tip on this list is to use a VPN. A VPN can help ensure your online banking is secure in a variety of different ways.

Encryption is vital to keep your data secure online and whilst all banks will encrypt their online banking data, some are more secure than others. A good VPN will ensure all of your online activity, including online banking is encrypted securely.

They also protect you when you are using public Wi-Fi. Again the encryption they offer means even the weakest of Wi-Fi connections becomes secure.

Indeed, VPNs are so good at encrypting your online activity that you can even access otherwise inaccessible online services, like being able to log onto Gmail while in China, where it is usually blocked.

With a VPN in place, and using these other precautions as well, you can be pretty confident that your online banking will be secure, no matter who you bank with.

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