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Are You Ignoring the Power of an ISA – Here’s Why You Should Get in the Action Now

An ISA account isn’t very glamorous, but it is reliable. In an era where people are trying out a lot of different alternatives to make a little more profit on their money, there is a growing movement that is desperate to get people to go back to the basics.

What is an ISA account? If you’re just looking into this, here’s the quick rundown that you need. Basically, this is a savings account that has tax benefits if you use it. It allows you to save money in a way that is advantageous to you tax wise. The money that you make on the ISA isn’t taxed, and the money that you put in is spared from taxes. Given that the government is basically giving you encouragement to save, you might as well do what you can right?

You can open an ISA account from age 16 and over, which gives you plenty of time to let your money grow. The Government is really serious about people doing more with the ISA, because it’s such a great way to build the future while still saving money on their taxes. Nationwide UK did some research and discovered that the Government receives an extra 500 million pounds in terms of tax revenue just because people don’t put enough into their ISA accounts. That’s definitely something that needs to change, and it has to change in a big way. It’s only going to start moving in a positive direction once people start seeing it as something that they need to do.

Power of an ISA

There is a limit that you need to respect, and it includes both parts of the allowance for the ISA. There’s a cash ISA side, and a stocks and shares ISA side. Both sides come up to 11,620 GBP for the current tax year. You should always check year to year, because the allowance changes and you want to make sure that you maximize the tax benefits.

If you want to maximize your ISA, some experts say that you should focus more on the stocks and shares (S&S) side than the cash ISA side. However, you should keep in mind that you can lose your money on the stocks and shares side. You’re not guaranteed to get an increase on your money. However, you can also get a lot more than you might expect, versus the cash ISA side. Either way, you don’t have to report your ISA savings to the Government for tax purposes, as long as you follow the rules. (more…)

Let Yourself Find Financial Peace!

One of the resolutions we had this year was to write more about the mental side of personal finance, something that doesn’t get talked about as much. It’s true — unless you have your mind in the right place, you can get all of the advice in the world can still be in the same place financially. It’s sad, but its’ really true. You just need to make sure that you’re thinking about the bigger picture as much as possible. You can’t just sit there and think that there’s no way that you are ever going to be able to afford to fix your finances. That’s negative thinking, and in this arena…negative thinking can actually cost you big time. You start thinking that there’s no hope for you, and then you literally start living like there’s no hope for you ever. You can’t find yourself making that type of mistake. It just doesn’t allow you to get the type of happiness that you set out to receive in life.

Nobody wakes up as a child and thinks that they’re going to grow into a world filled with struggle. But the world isn’t fair, and that’s what happens sometimes. Sometimes we don’t get to go off to University, and we have to take a job to take care of our family. Or maybe our parents die before we even become an adult, and we have to live with grandparents that we don’t like, or aunts and uncles that have never visited us. They want to do the right thing, but they were busy living the high life found when you don’t have children. They never realized that they would have to take in their sister or brother’s children. Resentment often sets in, making life very hard.

Financial Peace

But what about when love turns sour? You start thinking about this big, brave world where you and your spouse are going to take over everything. There will be love and happiness, right? The reality is that you’re going to find that you will have to think carefully about what you will accept and what you will refuse. If you’re someone that isn’t going to take something laying down, then you have a lot of trouble waiting for you. Marriage is about compromise. When the wedding cake has been eaten and all of the fanfare has gone away, you’ll find that you’re going to be in for a big shock over time. There’s nothing like making sure that you have things laid out in a certain way.

Of course, this brings us to the financial blueprint, but not yet. You have to stop and realize that you’re worth it. It can be hard to hear that. When I was growing up, I didn’t get told that I was really worth it. Believe it or not, that soaked its way into our finances. I started thinking that there wasn’t any point for me to really do anything in life, because nobody would take me seriously. I wasn’t worth it. So instead of fighting for promotions at work — I just let other people step in. By the time I realized that I was a pretty good person, there weren’t any posts available for me to take on! That was a pretty miserable experience, and one that I never, ever want to repeat if I can help it. (more…)

Loans For Bad Credit: There’s Hope For Everyone

Do you have a poor credit rating? Is your credit rating affecting your ability to get a loan?

Countless numbers of people are now unable to borrow from banks because their credit score says they can’t be trusted to make repayments and this has created a major problem for many borrowers in the UK.

For a huge period of time, the concept of borrowing money was based on your reputation; bank managers were a part of the community and personal relationships mattered. Common sense appears to have deserted the financial community, or has it?

a-bag-of-money

Turning To an Overdraft?

One of the first places people used to turn when they struggled to keep their financial head above water was their overdraft but banks will only tolerate people being stuck in an overdraft for so long.

Most banks will run reports that monitor bank accounts and will look for signs that people are struggling.

For more information regarding overdrafts please the dedicated Wikipedia page by clicking here.

Overdrafts Withdrawn

If a bank thinks you’re relying on your overdraft too much they have the ability and have been known to take the whole overdraft facility from the account.

They’ll usually time the removal of an overdraft with your payday, so the money coming in repays the overdraft but leaves you with very little to cover any additional costs.

This has led to the quest for alternative methods of obtaining new credit.

A Second Chance

It hardly seems fair for people to be penalised for a mistake for ever. Yet for anyone who has finds themselves answering yes to any of these questions below, it became crucial that something new became available offering an achievable alternative:

  • Do you have a poor credit record/history?
  • Do you have no credit history at all?
  • Have you moved address regularly?
  • Have you fallen into arrears on loans or mortgage?
  • Do you have any CCJs (County Court Judgements)?
  • Have you defaulted on previous credit cards, accounts or loans?
  • Even, are you self-employed?

Bad credit loans are designed to give people that alternative.

Banknotes

Don’t Fit The Mould?

Many people no longer fit the perfect mould that is expected by nearly all High Street lenders in order to be eligible for a standard personal loan but this is no longer the problem that it once was.

All bad credit loans obviously have their own advantages and disadvantages but they all offer options where there recently were none.

Turning To a Guarantor Loan

One of the most popular alternatives is a guarantor loan which work by offering loans specifically created for anyone with a poor credit rating.

This may sound a little unusual because lenders don’t usually seek our borrowers with poor credit ratings but the risk to the lender is balanced by using family members or friends with better ratings to act as guarantors who will pay the debt off if customer defaults.

For an explanation regarding guarantor loans and their benefits please view the video below.

What are the Pros?

The process surrounding many bad credit loans is designed to offer a swift resolution. Decisions are often made within minutes, with the balance appearing in your account shortly after the application is granted.

Depending on the lender, amounts ranging from £500 all the way to £10000 are generally available at a significantly reduced rate when compared to payday loans.

Having a guarantor makes it more likely you will be accepted for a loan where High Street lenders would reject you. Some allow you to repay early without charging you early repayment fees.

Any Cons?

Interest rates are still comparatively high when compared to standard unsecured person loans but because the majority of these are unattainable to borrowers with a bad credit rating, they are still an attractive and realistic proposition.

The main area of worry for people applying is that having a guarantor means that they can be chased for the money in the event you don’t pay your debts. This can of course be avoided by making the repayments as and when they are required.

Payday Loans

Demand for payday loans soared during the recession with consumers becoming increasingly strapped for cash. But people facing cash-flow problems must look into this type of loan for bad credit before deciding this is the right option.

Payday loans have been specifically designed to bridge the gap until payday if you find yourself short and are as such are generally short-term loans typically of up to £400 provided generally for a maximum of 30 days.

Neon-Loan-Sign

Don’t Be Reliant on Payday Loans

The high cost means such loans should only be a one-off and you should be confident you can pay it back on time. They should not be something on which you’re reliant on a monthly basis, and definitely not to service other debts.

Warning: You shouldn’t take out payday loans if you know you can’t pay them back within a month, nor use them to service other debts as this can lead to significant problems.

Borrowing For Need

Due to the interest rates associated with some bad credit loans, and in particular payday loans, they should only ever be used for emergencies rather than luxuries.

Credit Scoring Problems

It is very difficult for a consumer to know in advance whether they have a high enough credit score to be accepted for credit with a particular lender. This is due to the complexity and structure of credit scoring, which differs from one lender to another.

Lenders do not have to reveal their credit score, nor reveal the minimum credit score required for the applicant to be accepted. It is impossible for the consumer to know in advance if they will pass a lender’s credit scoring requirements.

Improving Your Credit Score

Along side actually getting hold of some extra money, the most important aspect for many people is receiving the opportunity to do something about it.

Many borrowers find themselves stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place when faced with a poor credit rating because the best way to turn things around is to demonstrate an ability to repay debt on time. Until fairly recently, this has often proven to be very difficult though due to the unwillingness of lenders to take on the risk of a borrower with a poor credit rating.

How To Do It?

If you are in a position where your credit report can’t be given the quick-fix treatment such as deleting an entry that doesn’t belong there, bad credit loans can help to turn things around.

If you continue to make the scheduled repayments, not only will successful applications for bad credit loans prove to be immediately beneficial, they will also help in the future when you make any applications you need to make for credit in the future, be they a mortgage, credit card, or loan.

Any Alternatives?

Otherwise there are various other ways to improve your rating over time but the best thing to do is to show you can handle the credit you do already have by using it carefully and making the required payments on time.

Don’t Give Up

Even when things may seem bleak, it is important to remember that there are a number of loans for bad credit out there ensuring there is hope for everyone.

If you would like a little more information regarding the ability to bring debts under control and turn your credit rating around, the UK government offers a range of hints and tips which can be accessed here.

Author Bio

Emma Farmer has been a freelance finance writer since 2005. She now works as blog writer for Guarantor Loans UK which places a strong focus on all types of bad credit loan. For more information please click here. An extreme sport fanatic who completed the London marathon for the first time in 2013, she lives in London, England with her husband and 2 children.

Rewards Credit Cards Are Making a Big Splash This Holiday Season

The holidays are often seen as a time for family, but that doesn’t mean that the UK financial industry is going to stop marketing. If anything, it feels like the marketing increases because they know that you’re going to have time off work. They want to have your business and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. They provide a service that many people want. You need to build your credit history, but you have to make sure that you’re doing in a smart, systematic, orderly and healthy way as it relates to your overall financial blueprint. If you’ve been looking for some opportunities to build new credit, you might want to take a look at actually getting some of the rewards credit cards that come out.

The idea behind these cards is pretty simple — they want to reward you for actually using the card. It’s going to be hard to not use a rewards card, especially when you know that you can earn points and miles by doing so.

Should you go with a card that awards points, miles, or a mix of the two? This is a classic question that comes up when these cards are mentioned. It’s up to you to figure out which one you would rather have. Most of us here around the money blog prefer to go with miles, because we all travel. It’s very nice getting cheap international tickets, especially when we want to go on summer holiday. However, if you’re not a super traveler, you might as well get points that you can use at other places, or get gift certificates for all of your favorite restaurants.

Rewards Credit Cards

The best part of it is that you don’t have to search far and wide for these credit cards. They’re going to be clearly advertised, because they are truly that popular. There’s no need to worry that you’re going to be automatically shut down when you apply. Some rejection happens, but overall even people who have had some credit problems in the past can still be approved. It really depends on what type of credit score you have. If you haven’t pulled your credit file in a while, you might want to do so.

If you’re rejected by a rewards credit card, you can pull your credit file for free. This is a good way to make sure that all of the information that they looked at is correct. If the information isn’t correct, then you’re going to have a world of problems waiting for you, which isn’t what you want. Correcting incorrect information is possible, but negative information that is correct will unfortunately have to stay.

We think that rewards credit cards can be a good first, but you will want to read the fine print carefully. A high interest rate just to earn points and miles should be avoided at all costs. You also want to make sure that you’re going with the one that’s going to offer you the best incoming deal. The new customer is valued in the credit card industry, so make sure that you’re getting as many perks as possible from the very beginning. You want to feel valued, because you’re going to be making them money. You might as well get as much out of it as possible.

The time is right to check these things out. Even though you might be gearing up for a very busy holiday season, you have to make time for some things in life!

Don’t Leave Yourself an Opening for Disaster With Your Investing

Are you tired of worrying about whether or not you’re really going to be able to take care of all of your needs with investing? The truth is that investing is a great way to grow your money, but it’s certainly not without risk. We like to get that out of the way quickly so that people know exactly where they stand. It’s not just enough to think that you’re going to be okay with the overall risks that come into play. You need to know what those risks are, that you could lose all of your capital and then some. It’s all about making sure that you play your odds in such a way that you do not lose the power to keep growing your money. You want to have a mixed portfolio that has multiple outlets towards wealth. The trouble that investors get into is that they think that they’re going to get rich in one field, when it’s really a mix of different things. You can have stocks, bonds, REITs, unit trusts… the whole nine years. You can even invest in pure real estate, if that’s what you want to do.

Your overall risk tolerance will alter your investment strategy. Don’t forget that you might as well get your ISA fully funded while you’re thinking about growing your money. It’s tax-free money that you can claim every single year. While it won’t serve as primary income, it is a cushion that you can use for just about any reason you can think of. It’s your money, so you might as well use it for things that matter to you.

bad investment

Going back to your financial blueprint and really thinking about investing can help you avoid disaster. When things start spiraling out of control, you will be able to figure out exactly what you want to do and how you want to get it done. Feeling confused? Go back to the blueprint.

Don’t forget that there are more investing groups now than ever before. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about all of your options and not getting discouraged. There are plenty of people that are absolutely hungry to get things done, and they don’t mind taking you under their wing. You do need to be prepared to do a lot of studying. Investing is all about paying attention to what the market is telling you. If you’re not well versed in the world of say, stock charting, then you need to make sure that you get your stock charting education. People will help you as long as you show that you have a willingness to actually learn something. That’s the way it goes, and you’ll have to deal with it.

Good luck with your journey through investing. It’s not going to be an easy battle. Sometimes you might have to pull back when you really wanted to drive forward. It just depends on what you’re really trying to accomplish. Be good to yourself and remember — if a deal feels wrong, don’t get into it. Back out of it. There will always be opportunities to make money, don’t worry about it!

Take the Sting Out of the Winter Months Now

Are you trying to think ahead of time in order to really keep your finances on track? If so, you’re definitely not the only one. However, we’ve always found it strange that people seem so opposed to actually getting things done with their finances all year long. They just assume that winters have to be hard, and summers have to be hot. You can enjoy a summer filled with activates and a winter filled with a cities as long as you’re thinking about the bigger picture through all of it. Now, what we think you should do might be a little different than other financial blogs out there. But if you really think about it, you’ll find our suggestions will be pretty helpful.

First and foremost, you need to think about all of the bills from last year. Generally speaking, humans are pretty predictable. You should be able to look at last year’s bills and determine who actually paid what and what happened from there. If you know that December is your highest month for electric and gas, then you’ll probably want to save money ahead of time to be sure that you don’t have to deal with the stress of trying to find the money to pay the bill.

keep your finances on track

It’s really stressful when you feel like there’s just not enough money. Try as you might, there are always other little problems that come up. Surely it would make more sense to focus on what you can fix rather than being trapped in the habit of not being able to do anything about it — right?

Setting money aside should be on your mind, but what about making money? What about selling off things that you don’t need? Not only will this give you a cleaner house, but it’ll also help you drill down on what’s really important. In our opinion, most people have way too many things in their homes anyway. It just makes things complicated when all you have in your home is a bunch of things that you don’t even use. Some people will benefit from being able to just float and focus on what’s really important, while others might find it difficult.

But it’s not just about that. You want to reset your expectations of the winter. If you go into it thinking that it has to be a very stressful and hectic experience, guess what? It’s going to really be a stressful experience! You get what you put in.

This winter, face it with pride. It’s going to come whether you like it or not. You don’t have to spend out of your means just to hang out with people that you care about. The same token goes for people that feel compelled to have to be in the middle of everything. Sometimes it’s perfectly okay to just relax and take breaks. It’s okay to not spend money. Invite people into your home if you’re comfortable, but if you’re really having a rough time financially there’s nothing wrong with telling people what’s out of your reach. That doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means that you’re starting to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. If that’s wrong, well — we really don’t want to be right then.

What matters here is that you start focusing on the real pathways to success. You have to be able to stand up for yourself, claim what you actually want in life, and build a plan to go get it.

If you’re intrigued by our little opener in the “transition to fall and winter” series, then you definitely want to stay tuned. This is truly financial news that you can use right here, right now!

Why Willpower and Debt Elimination Don’t Mix Well

Are you looking at finally getting a grip on your finances? You’ve circled the calendar. You know that today is going to be the day…until it isn’t. Instead of doing that budget, you watch a whole day of Dr. Who. Instead of finally asking your boss for that raise, you turn around and head the other direction. No matter what the goal is, somehow you find yourself being more than a little afraid to really make things happen.

That’s not the best way to handle the situation at all, and it’s time to make sure that you step up. Fight back well. Think about all of your options. That’s the best way to go, no matter what it looks like. You just need to make sure that you’re going to be taking things in good stride. That’s the best way to go, no matter what. You just have to think about all of your options and figure out what you want to do.

Debt Elimination

For many, this can be easier said than done. You might feel that you’re on the right track…until you’re suddenly stressed out and overwhelmed at trying to get everything done. The truth: you’re trying to run on willower. The reality here is that willpower and your financial goals really don’t mix well. When it comes to debt elimination — the systematic approach to getting out of debt for good — you might find yourself facing even more problems. The reason why willpower doesn’t work is that the human mind will always find a reason to keep doing what it’s been doing all along. So if you’re someone that procrastinates, you’ll keep doing that until you’re forced to make changes. That’s not something that we can just say off the top of our head — it’s something that we’ve seen over and over again. If you’re someone that procrastinates heavily, you’ll keep doing that until you have a reason to stop. This is the same with personal finance. If you’re trying to avoid the pain of doing a budget or your own taxes, you’ll keep finding reasons to put them off. You’ll keep telling yourself that it’s not really a big deal. Pretty soon though, you’ll run out of time. This is where the negative emotions come in. Instead of being happy, you’ll beat yourself up. Instead of focusing, you beat yourself up. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just skip over the emotional breakdown and do the right thing for your life?

The key here is that you need to change yourself from the inside. A lot of people really can’t imagine a life without debt. Therefore, they see no reason to push themselves to obtain or achieve a life without debt. See that problem? If you feel that there’s no problem that exists, you’re going to be hard pressed to do anything about it. That’s the truth that you need to realize. The more that you struggle and fight to deal with something, the more likely it is that you’re going to have problems making that change.

The biggest tip that we can give you is to avoid trying to do it alone. This is where a lot of people mess up. Not only do they feel like they’re out of their comfort zone, they really can’t imagine a world where they can make all of these changes and still be the best that they can be in regular life.

Busy mums have this problem in spades — they are so busy trying to be the best for their children that they’re really can’t think about doing anything else. They might feel that taking the time to learn more about personal finance is selfish, when they could be missing a critical milestone in their child’s life. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be so black and white. You can set aside time to learn about new things that are going to benefit the entire family.

Go beyond willpower. Start digging into yourself as a person and figuring out what you believe. Everything else will fall into place if you can do that. Why not get started today, while it’s all still on your mind? Good luck!

Whoa! Debt Is Considered Normal For Youth Now?

There’s something that we need to talk about right here and right now. There’s a new report out that for many British youth, debt is considered part of the “new normal”.

Stop the presses. There should be nothing normal about being in debt. Sure, there are some debts that are definitely better than others. These are usually debts that we think about more than anything else. For example, if you’re going to buy your first home, you know that you’re going to have to get a mortgage. You might want to get a traditional mortgage that decreases with every payment that you make. If you’re going to go with an interest only mortgage, you’re going to have problems keeping up on the payments. It’s something that takes a little more planning, but you have plenty of resources.

What today’s youth need to do is stop thinking that they have to do everything on their own. This is what independent financial advisers are actually there for. They will work with you on these decisions. Yes, there are some that will even just leave you with a fee — no commission is required. These fee based advisers mean that you can get professional advice that you really can use to chart your life. But you don’t want to just leave it up to them to chart a course for your future.

Debt

It’s time to see a world without debt. If you’re going to get credit cards, start out small. Don’t just go for any advertisement that screams at you. That’s the business of marketing, but you don’t have to throw money at every advert that looks like it should be answered. You can go online to different supermarket websites so that you can literally look at what will be the best deal on a credit card. Keep in mind that if you’ve never had one, you’re going to pay a slightly higher interest rate than your parents can probably qualify for. Now, if your parents are going to be nice and co-sign on a credit card for you, that will help you build credit faster. It means that lenders will give you a better rate because they know that your parents have joined forces with you for that card. So if you don’t pay, they will have the legal right to go after your parents.

You’re young. Start out slowly. Don’t rush. You don’t have to “have it all together” at such a young age. Think about college, but make sure that you’re majoring in something that’s really going to leave you with money. That’s really the best way to go, if you ask us what we would do. The worst mistake that we made as teenagers and even young adults is that we thought we didn’t have to think about finances at all. You have to seize control of your future, or someone else will seize control of it for you. It’s completely up to you to choose which direction you will ultimately go towards. Good luck!