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Finding the Right Loan for You

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While there is no such thing as a perfect loan, depending on your circumstances different loans will suit you to different extents. Answering these questions may help you to work out what kind of loan would be best for you.

What Do You Want from Your Loan?

The first, and most important, step in finding the right loan for you is working out what exactly you want from a loan. How much money do you want to borrow and how long a period of time do you want to pay it back over?

Once you’ve thought this through and have an idea of what it is you’d like out of a loan it makes it much easier to compare different lenders’ rates.

Do You Understand Interest?

The main thing to consider when approaching applying for a loan is the APR of that loan. APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate and is the amount you’ll pay each year of your loan. This is based on the interest rate of the loan and any additional charges you may have to pay.

A simple way of looking for the best loan for you might be to simply look for the lowest APR, as this incurs the least extra cost while paying your loan back.

Do You Know What You’re Getting from this Loan?

Once you think you’ve picked a loan which fits what you are looking for, it’s important to look further into it and make sure you know all the facts.

While interest rates are important, you should know the other features of any loans you are considering applying for. For example, are there handling fees that you have to pay? Can you pay your loan back early if you want to? These features can make loans more or less expensive so can be helpful to look at when comparing loans with similar interest rates.

How Much Can You Borrow?

Beyond the fact that you will have to pay back any money you borrow, there are other reasons to consider carefully how large a loan you are going to apply for. There are even ways you could decrease your interest rates by increasing this amount.

This is because many lenders charge less interest if you borrow more, and it may not take as much of an increase as you expect to enter the next bracket and pay a significantly decreased rate of interest on your loan.

Where are You Applying?

Many different places provide loans; banks, building societies and supermarkets all offer different options and rates can be very competitive. This makes it a good idea to do a lot of shopping around.

You should, however, be careful to apply to reputable loan providers rather than smaller companies you may not have heard of. These often have high interest rates and are less likely to allow you to pay off your loan early without incurring heavy penalties. You should also be aware that the advertised interest rate for the lender may not be the rate you get, depending on your credit history, employment stability and other factors.

Do You Have a Poor Credit Score?

The higher your credit score the more likely you are to be accepted by the loan you are applying for. This is why it’s a bad idea to apply to several loans at the same time, as the checks they perform on your credit record can damage your score if too many happen in too short a time.

If you are unsuccessful in applying for a loan it can also damage your credit score so it’s always a good idea to be cautious with where you apply. There are ‘quotation search’ tools which use your personal details to tell you what loans you are likely to be accepted for, a risk-free method of trying out the market without causing permanent damage to your chances.

How Long Will You Take to Pay Off Your Loan?

Borrowing can be done over a wide variety of time periods, five or ten-year loans being common though shorter periods are popular and longer-term borrowing is also available.

Although long term borrowing can seem appealing as it reduces the monthly payments made on a loan, it also leads to a build-up of interest which may make your loan much more expensive in the long run.

If you are looking for a substantial long-term loan, a mortgage may be the best option for you, rather than a personal loan. On the other hand, if you are looking for a smaller amount than is usually offered in a personal loan, a credit card may be what you are looking for. This is especially true if you get a 0% interest offer on a new card and pay off the card before the offer expires.

Does Your Bank Offer Preferential Treatment?

The best choice for you may be to stay with the same people who handle the rest of your financial business. This is worth considering both for the sake of convenience and the growing trend of banks offering deals on other products for their existing customers.

Do You Really Need a Loan?

While it’s likely that you have already thought this through, it is always a good idea to do another quick check to make sure this is the right option for you.

If the loan would be for paying off some form of pre-existing debt then it could end up pushing you further into that debt, making your situation worse. If this is the case, think very carefully about taking on further borrowing.

If the loan is for a large purchase, such as a new TV, car, or other expensive household item, then consider waiting until you can save some more money on your own. While this is a less risky situation then possibly putting yourself further into debt, it might not be worth taking the risk at all.

 

Lifestyle hacks that are guaranteed to save you money!

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Pocket Money Left

Do you have enough time and energy in the day to earn more money?

With our fast paced lives it’s not uncommon to feel like you don’t have time to sleep – let alone do something that’s going to mean you earn more money.

With that in mind, there’s another way to boost what’s in your pocket – that’s to spend less money in the first place! But how do you do it and keep the level of lifestyle that you’ve become accustomed to?

Well, we’ve got 12 great ideas that will reduce your outgoing from today onwards. We can’t give you extra hours in the day, but we can definitely save you some money!

Plan your food

We waste a huge chunk of money by not planning our meals and just shopping either every day or every couple of days. Buying like this means we rarely ever take advantage of the lower prices that come with bigger packet sizes – leaving our freezers and wallets looking quite empty.

Draw up a list of meals for the week, plan ingredients and make one supermarket journey instead of 5!

Turn the thermostat down

It’s a well-known trick – but turning your thermostat down by one degree rarely makes any noticeable difference to the heat of your home – but can make a big difference to your heating bills when added up over a year.

Don’t throw good food away

As a nation we throw an enormous amount of food away each year – billions of tonnes in fact. Part of the reason for this is a misunderstanding around what’s good to eat and what’s not.

A ‘use before’ date means that the food could potentially be dangerous if you eat it beyond that date (think raw meat, diary, etc) – but on the other hand, a ‘best before’ date is really just advice.

Check your food, if it’s a few days over a best before date and it looks or smells as you would expect it to – the chances are it’s perfectly okay to eat! Check the wording and save a fortune on shopping costs.

Do free stuff

It doesn’t get much better value than free! And, if you’re smart with your searching, you’ll find dozens of things you can that are exactly this price.

From museums and galleries to beaches and parks – there’s some incredible free attractions that you can take advantage of if you’re willing to do some web searching to track them down!

Read more books

In this world of box-sets, paid TV channels and expensive streaming services, books look like incredible value for money! Instead of firing up the TV and flicking until you find something you like, pick up a few books. You can find them second-hand for next to nothing – and they’ll take a LOT longer to read than even the chunkiest box set!

Don’t pay more debt than you need to

If you’re struggling with debt you might not realise that there are some great options out there for coming to an agreement with your creditors and reducing the amount you repay.

To work out who you can turn to for support and guidance, check out reviews of companies who can potentially help – like this one from https://www.facethered.com – and slice your debt down to size!

Don’t shop when you’re hungry

Shopping when you’re hungry is a recipe for disaster! You’re far more likely to buy more than you need – as well as increasingly likely to spend money on expensive food that’s got attractive packaging made to appeal to your empty stomach!

Throw away your takeaway menus

If you ditch the takeaway menus and apps that mean you can order in just a few clicks, you’re far less likely to turn to them as quick and convenient (but expensive) options. What’s more, if you can keep a couple of keep and cheap options in the house – your hungry stomach will push you toward them – rather than hitting the internet to study menus…

Have a standard work wardrobe

You can thank Mark Zuckerberg for this tip!

Rather than pick out a different outfit each day – he sticks to a modest combination of a t-shirt and jeans. Now, you might not be able to do exactly the same – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some staple go-to items.

Sticking to a basic wardrobe means you’re less likely to have to purchase new seasonal items – or pick out specific items that compliment only one outfit.

Delete your card details

Deleting your saved card details might not save you money directly – but it puts another barrier in the way of spending money online – which is one of the quickest and most tempting ways for us to spend our money.

If you’ve got to reach into your pocket each time you want to spend money, it gives you a little more time to consider whether or not you actually want and need that item…

Buy some thick jumpers

It’s a lot less costly to heat yourself than it is to heat your entire house!

Buying some decent quality wool jumpers means you can turn the heating right down – if not switch it off completely. Multiple layers works well too. You can worry about whether or not it feels like you’re being a ‘skinflint’ when you relax on the beach holiday you’ve managed to save for with money that everyone else has been spending on energy bills!

Book tickets well in advance

If you’ve got any long-distance journeys coming up try to look for tickets months in advance. Even if they’re not available right away you’ll usually be able to create an alert that will let you know when they go on sale.

In some cases, train tickets can be up to 90% cheaper when bought in advance – money that’s a lot better in your pocket!

Get an insulated coffee cup

Buying expensive cups of coffee might feel like a treat, but in reality it’s an extremely expensive habit if you do it every week or every day you’re at work.

If you check out your local supermarket or a good online store you can find insulated cups that will keep a homemade cup of coffee hot all day – and even fully waterproof ones that you can seal and throw in your work bag to be consumed whenever you want. We’re not saying that you have to downgrade to instant coffee either – even fresh home ground coffee is a fraction of the price of a shop made cup!

Insiders’ Tips for Buying Life Insurance – All You Need To Know

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Trying to find the best deal for life insurance can be particularly tricky and because of this many people are buying cover that is not necessarily the best deal they could get.  As this is a concern to us, we want to help you find the best cover possible with the best deal, especially if you are looking for life insurance over 80 with health problems

By following the insider tips in this post, you could save a considerable amount of money on the next life insurance policy you want.  As life insurance is a long-term investment, get the most for it.

See Your General Practitioner Or Family Doctor Before Applying

Regardless of whether you are applying for a Permanent life policy or a low-cost term life policy – all life insurance policy applications require you to undergo a medical examination.

We specifically suggest that you see your doctor before you start the application process to ensure that any unresolved issues on your medical records are sorted and that they include the most up to date information.

Many life insurance providers will request current and up-to-date medical records from your GP or family doctor.  If you have made significant changes to your health or lifestyle since the last time you were examined, it is crucial that these are highlighted in your records.

It may be that you were previously were overweight or a smoker and suffered from high cholesterol or high blood pressure.  You want to avoid being penalized unnecessarily by policy providers, particularly if you have stopped smoking or are in the process of quitting, have started a healthier living regime or simply improved your diet.

The more positive your health profile appears to life insurers, the better you will be rated.  All policy providers rate customers based on their health and each rating can cost up to 20% more which can mean a saving of as much as 25% of what you will be due to pay, if you have improved your circumstances.

Always Ask Agents For Screenshots Of Quote Results

Why is it important to ask agents for screenshots of quotes they generate?

It is unfortunate, but common that many agents tend to have a certain level of bias towards particular life insurance providers, and it could be that they are trying to pass more business on to a specific company.

Although it is not always that they are simply trying to trick you.  There is often good reasons for not quoting you specific companies.  If you have revealed something about your lifestyle or health that could stop you getting the lowest quote or best deal, for instance, they may not quote the most favourable company. 

Since you will never know for sure, it is wise to ask the agent to take a screenshot and show you it, even if it is via email, so you can see the quotes they got from their search.  If you discover that the quote they gave you is not the lowest, you could ask them politely why they didn’t put forward the best quote to you.

Layering Term Policies To Save Money

How do you go about layering term policies?

Many people sit down and figure out exactly what they need from life insurance and make the decision to buy a big and expensive policy that will cover everything.  However, there is no need to do this if there are aspects of your policy coverage that you no longer require after 5, 10 or even 15 years.

Basically, layering term policies means you are buying several term policies to cover different periods of time and purposes.  That way, when you do not need a cover for a specific reason you can simply cancel the policy.

Choose Annuity Over Lump Sum Payout

Although most of you that know a little something about life insurance will understand that your beneficiaries are entitled to a completely tax-free lump sum when you die, if you die while your policy is still applicable.

Did you know, however, that there is another option open to you in regards to how your beneficiaries receive the payout?

This option is called an annuity payout and it means rather than receiving a lump sum, they will receive benefits over a specific period of years.  Choose carefully as most life insurance companies have varying options for annuity payouts.

Needless to say, opting for the option of annuity payout will lower the premium you have to pay.  Unless interest is included, there could be some tax-related issues.  Always check with an independent financial advisor or life insurance agent before you make the final decision.

Never Give Unnecessary Information Voluntarily

Avoid giving information pertaining to your lifestyle choices, family history or health if the insurer does not ask for them.  That way you will avoid being penalised unnecessarily.

If they don’t ask, there is no reason to volunteer the information. 

For instance, virtually all life insurance providers will penalise you if your parents ever suffered from cancer.  There is one or two life insurers that ask if any immediate relatives have had heart disease on their application forms.  Therefore if your mother died of cancer, you are not hiding anything if you answer the above question about heart disease by saying no.  Don’t make more problems for yourself by adding an additional note to say ‘she died of cancer’.

When You Should Apply For An Exam And When You Shouldn’t

Although life insurance policies that don’t require a medical exam seem more convenient, you should bear in mind that the majority of these policies cost around 3 to 5 times more than the policies that require a medical exam.

If you are a healthy young person, or even a relatively healthy older person, we we would advise you to opt for a medical exam policy if you are looking to save money.

We would usually advise against you buying a no medical exam life insurance policy, unless you suspect something is wrong with your body and want to secure life insurance before you see a doctor.  The only other reason you should consider a no exam policy is if you have a major health problem that will undoubtedly prevent you from securing an approved insurance application.

If you have never been officially diagnosed with any medical condition, you can answer all the questions honestly when applying for a no exam policy and still qualify.  Even if you have health concerns, you could take the time to discuss these with an independent life insurance agent before buying a policy.

That particular health issue might not actually be as bad as you initially thought and you could get better rates with a no medical exam policy. 

More of us are saving for vacation time rather than retirement

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Most Americans, in general, are woefully behind when it comes to their retirement savings. It’s no huge secret that people think more about their next vacation than they do about what happens to them once retirement comes knocking on the door. A typical household that is aged between 44 and 49 has as little as $81,347 stored away. This is compared with $121,831 that those aged between 50 and 55 have been able to save

Those that are closer to retirement age are not faring that much better, with the average savings balance of the 56 to 61 year olds being $163,577. What’s worse is that nearly half of all families in the United States have no retirement savings whatsoever.

You would think that more people would be keen on playing catchup, building that nest egg so that we are not left wanting when we do finally hang up our work boots. Sadly though, that does not appear to be the case. In a NerdWallet study that was conducted fairly recently, it was discovered that Americans are more intent on saving up for vacations rather than retirement.

That’s pretty shocking, really, when you realise just how easy it is to open a savings account. There are some really good ones out there too, for all kinds of savers, here are the best savings accounts of 2017 to give you an idea.

The culture of immediacy and instant gratification

We find ourselves in a curious situation these days where just about everything we need is either a tap, mouse click or call away. Even dating has been reduced to literally swiping a thumb across a screen. With the above being true, perhaps the fact that retirement is largely going ignored is not that much of a surprise – it just isn’t that imminent, and therefore not so important, for the majority of us.

It would also go some way to explaining just why so many of us carry as much credit card debt as we do. Add to that the fact that around 39% of individuals have no funds in immediate savings and the idea of saving for retirement not being a priority becomes even more understandable; how can you focus on saving when you need to eat?

Still, there is no escaping the fact that we need to save for the future and the sooner that people begin to realise this, the better chance they will have of turning things around before it is too late and they can still save enough to make a difference later on down the line when retirement is a reality.

You cannot risk your own retirement

Lots of people don’t save for their retirement, purely because they can’t – or at least, think they can’t. Having your paycheck eaten up by living expense such as utility bills, food, rent etc. is one thing, and there isn’t too much that can be done about that, when people somehow find the money to go on vacation that is a clear indicator that there is indeed money to spare, somewhere.

What that being the case, why is it that so many think that the future, which is getting closer every single day, can be safely ignored? Over reliance on social security could be the root cause, as lots of people seem to think that it will be enough to live on come retirement time. Sadly, they could not be more wrong, even if they put real effort into being wrong.

Right now, social security provides the average American retiree $1,360 a month or $16,320 a year. That is maybe just enough to live on, if you ignore everything else. Healthcare, for example, is a massive expenditure. A healthy, average 65 year old is, just for example, expected to throw $200,000 and more just on healthcare.

Social security was only meant to supplement savings, not replace them. In fact, savings were only ever meant to be supplemented by a maximum of 40% by social security. Most however need a minimum of 70% of former earnings to live on, so that 40% isn’t nearly enough to cover costs.

The onus is on the individual to start saving as soon as possible, and to save as much as we can each month and if that means forgoing every other, or more, vacation then that is something that just needs to be done.

Start on that savings nest egg

If you are one of the many that are planning on saving for that vacation, before you think of saving for retirement, just don’t. If you are putting into a an IRA or a 401(k), regularly, and want to put some of your hard fought for cash on a break away then that’s one thing. If you ever find yourself in the situation where you have to pick one over the other, however then don’t be under any illusions about which you should choose – retirement always comes first.

Let’s say you are saving up $2k to pay for and go away on vacation, and you would typically spend this amount each year on that. If you were to put that money into a savings plan instead, you could save $399,000 by retirement age if you start at age 25. That’s a huge chunk of change, and no mistake.

Giving up vacation time does sound like a painful compromise, but there are other options available to you so you can still get the break you need and deserve. Road trips to visit freinds and relatives, staycations where you can explore the local area are also a ton of fun especially if you do it with a companion.

Cheaper vacations are also an option. The point is, you have options and always will – not everything has to be high-cost in order for you to enjoy a nice break away from the daily grind. In the end, your retirement is much more important anyway.

Suffered an injury on the job? – What’s your next step?

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Whether you work a job that carries a lot of risk like a builder on a construction site or you work in a place that is thought to be considerably less dangerous like an office block the protocols are the same if you suffer an injury.

Injuries in the workplace can happen anywhere now, of course, the more dangerous the job the more likely you’ll suffer a personal injury, or at least you think so anyway. One of the most common types of personal injuries is simple trips and slips due to a wet floor.

And that can happen, anywhere can’t it? But if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a personal injury at work then what exactly should you do about it? Well let’s take look at the process in more detail, shall we?

1 – Report The Accident

First steps first the accident needs to be reported to your employer, they will usually do this themselves but it’s always a good idea to check with them to ensure it’s been properly reported. If it’s only a minor accident, then it might not need to be reported but more serious personal injuries like broken bones need to be reported and reported quickly.

2 – Risk Assessment

In the aftermath of an accident, your employer will need to carry out a new risk assessment and decide how they can improve safety procedures to ensure the safety of any employees or guests.

The accident will also need to be reported in your employer’s accident book this is an invaluable record of your personal injury and will be useful when it comes to claiming compensation later. Depending on the nature of your injury you might not be able to check if your injury has been reported straight away but you should make sure you check with your employer as soon as you can. 

3 – Claim Sick Pay

This will vary from person to person but if you have to take time off from work due to an accidental personal injury then at the very least you should be able to claim statutory sick pay. If you’re lucky you might be able to earn extra money but it all really depends on your individual circumstances.

Sick pay won’t last forever though so suffering a personal injury can still impact your finances especially if it’s a more serious long-term issue. So, you should also try to make an appointment with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau if you can.

If you are the spouse or family member of someone that’s suffered a personal injury, then you can also talk to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau on their behalf. This can be very beneficial if you are already facing financial difficulties of some form.

4 – Make You Claim For Compensation

After all that you need to start making your claim for compensation now in the case of more serious accidents you might not be able to claim straightaway. But you do have up to three years to make your claim so don’t worry too much about that. And if you are seriously injured then someone can claim on your behalf like a spouse, partner or family member.

So, how do you go about making a claim for compensation? Well, there are a number of ways you can do it. You can opt to go to a law firm in Fort Worth, or use a claims management agency and then you’ll likely have the option of settling out of court (if you are offered a settlement) or taking to the case to court.

Yes, that’s a lot to take in I know but because you were injured at work you might have some extra help available to you. If you are a member of a trade union, they may be able to take care of the legal matters for you and even claim compensation for you.

Be warned however they may pick a solicitor who is unsuitable for the job, so you should keep a close eye on proceedings if you are able to. If you do have a solicitor in mind, then you should inform your union, so they will be able to set-up work with them.

The legal progress to get compensation can take some time especially if you decide to go to court and there are a lot of different variables. Every case is different, so you really need to consider your options carefully, if you want to find out more information about your options talk to a solicitor or legal professional for some expert advice.

It’s always advisable for you to claim compensation if you’ve suffered an accident at work that wasn’t your fault. But don’t be afraid to take it at your own pace you do have a three-year time frame to do it by, the financial impact of a suffering a personal injury shouldn’t be underestimated and claiming compensation is one of the best ways to not only alleviate financial stress but also get justice.

One important thing to remember when claiming for compensation is to take everything into account not just your loss of wages. You should factor in your emotional stress and physical pain, as well as these, are big factors in your compensation.

The Importance of Rest and Recovery

Well, I’ve talked about the importance of claiming compensation and outlined exactly what you should do after suffering an injury at work, but there is one very important thing I haven’t talked about and that is the importance of taking time to rest and recover.

No, I’ am sure many people already know that but it’s easier than you might think to ignore your bodies need to rest and recover. The steps I listed above are important and will help you get the compensation you deserve but that doesn’t mean you should try to do everything right away.

Be sure to take the time you need to recover and rest, once you feel ready you can get started on making your claim for compensation but until then let your body rest and recuperate.