Authors Posts by Fi

Fi

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I'm a self-confessed dreamer who will one day live in a big country house, drive a Range Rover and cuddle up each night with my adorable Maltipoo puppy..... But until then, its a life of budgeting.

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Study Abroad

There’s a lot to think about when you’re moving abroad to study in a new country; is your accommodation going to be ok? Do you have the right books for your course? Can you fit all of your clothes into that case!? The last thing you want to worry about is the hassle and additional cost of sending money abroad to pay for your tuition fees.

Studying abroad can be pretty expensive with annual tuition fees costing over £80,000 in some cases, therefore making savings where you can is so important. To help you save as much as you can when paying these fees, we have put together 5 things to check before you send money abroad:

1. Check The Exchange Rate and Time Your Transfer Accordingly

Exchange rates fluctuate all the time and it can be hard to know if you are getting a good deal or need to wait and hold out for a better rate. To assist you in this process, tere are many platforms that allow you to set up an alert system for your chosen exchange rate.

2. Check Your Bank Fees on Overseas Transfers

Check with your bank what their overseas transfer cost is for the amount you will need to send, this will vary between banks and commonly is not the most cost effective way to wire your funds. While in the grand scheme of things, the bank fee percentage may not seem too big, when you apply it to a large sum of money such as a tuition fee it soon adds up to a considerable charge

3. Compare Rates on a Money Transfer Service

Consider using an online money transfer service to send your money rather than transferring it straight from your bank account. There are many benefits to using a transfer service that not only make the process easier for you but also offer huge cost savings along the way. Currencies Direct are one of the largest suppliers of this service and offer a 24/7 strict no transfer fee policy, so you can be sure that you wont be met with any additional costs.

4. Understand Your Payment Window

If you fail to make a payment on time you can incur late fees. And whilst you need to hit the timing right on the exchange rate, it is vital that you know when your tuition fees are due each semester and ensure payment is made in time. This information should be available before the start your course and your education provider will also be able to inform you of this on request.

Many online money transfer services offer the ability to schedule your regular overseas payments to ensure that your money is transferred on time, this means you can set them all up at the start of the year. Be sure to give yourself a window of time before the payment date to factor in the money transfer time also, check this out with your provider!

If you’ve studied abroad before, do you have any other tips for this years students to consider?

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Is your poor credit rating looming over your every financial decision? You are not alone! In the current financial climate it is becoming increasingly more common for new and existing home owners and renters alike to be turned away by home and contents insurance providers as a result of their poor credit rating. But this isn’t the end of the line for you, there are still options available…

Why has my credit score affected my insurance premium?

Insurance companies follow the same strategy as all other money lenders in that they want to be sure that you can afford the monthly repayments for your insurance premium. Unfortunately your poor credit score doesn’t paint the best picture for your future ability to keep up with regular payments.

What can I do if my insurance is turned down?

It’s never too late to improve your credit score; from jumping on the electoral register to applying for a credit card – there are plenty of things you can do to rebuild your rating. However, your score is not going to go from red to green over night so you are going to need to find some cover in the meantime.

In this instance, the most important thing to look for in a home insurance provider is that your premiums are not heavily biased by your low credit score.

Doing your research into companies that will accept you based on your rating is going to take some time – so we’ve done the leg work for you!

CoverBuilder are a specialist home insurance provider who specialise in protecting individuals who are struggling to get insured due to their individual financial circumstances. In fact, they are able to offer payment options to 95% of cases with poor credit.

Will I have to jump through hoops to find out if they will accept me?

If you have been turned down by a different provider, you might think that a company who is willing to take you onboard based on your history will expect a lot from you and will leave you lingering while they calculate the risks.

We’ve found that CoverBuilder only require the basics to be able to offer you a quote, so once you’ve completed your online application form they are able to provide you with an instant decision. They also provide a friendly online instant chat service for support, so you don’t need to worry about discussing your financial woes over the phone with an unsympathetic call centre robot.

Don’t forget, it’s really important that you’re upfront and honest with your insurance provider and declare any previous financial difficulties with them. If you later need to claim and they find you’ve been dishonest you’ll be at risk of not being eligible for a payout when you might need it the most.

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events affecting stocks

There are many things that can have an influence on the global stock market, from a controversial change in political leader to a natural disaster. One thing can start a wave of change and before you know it, the stock market can have changed in the blink of an eye.

When something happens on the international stage, good or bad, there is never a doubt that it will have an effect on the stock market. In this piece, I have looked back at some of the top world events that shook up the stock market in 2016…

1. THE TRUMP ELECTION

Yes, I thought we ought to get the most controversial out of the way first! While stock markets were expected to tumble on election night, surprisingly Wall Street reacted quite positively to the shock election of President Trump. In fact, in currency markets the US dollar hit a high against the Japanese Yen for the first time in several months!

2. THE BREXIT VOTE

Brexit shook up the UK stock markets something rotten in June last year and we saw the British pound drop to its lowest value in more than 30 years, a significant depreciation against other major currencies. Unsurprisingly stock markets across Europe declined significantly in the initial aftermath of the referendum.

3. HURRICANE MATTHEW

Natural disasters can have a crippling effect on a country’s economy; Hurricane Matthew in September 2016 was no different and has been recorded as the costliest hurricane since Sandy in 2012. Before Matthew hit, stocks for Florida based insurance companies fell by up to 15%. Investors began to retreat from companies deemed most at risk and shares suffered steep declines.

4. CHINESE MARKET CRASH

In January 2016 the Chinese market plummeted into unforeseen chaos and saw investors fight to sell off their assets – ultimately they saw a sharp decline in the Shanghai Composite Index by 6.9%. This rippled across the global stock markets and around the world stock markets lost more than $4 trillion.

5. OPEC OIL CUT

Oil prices have remained low as a result of over production and producers have been receiving low sales revenue over the recent years. In November 2016 Organisation of the Pertroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced that its 14 member countries would work to reduce their oil production for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008. After this announcement Brent crude prices rose by approximately 8% and trade prices began to increase.

What We Can Learn…

Where possible, we should be on the lookout for key events and dates that are likely shake our investments. However, not all of these will be highlighted in the mainstream media; we can take a more structured approach to monitoring such dates by utilising an economic calendar. The new Economic Calendar from CMC Markets certainly deserves a mention here and a tool such as this can increase your awareness of major changes to the market that may affect your investment decisions.

The CMC tool is an easy to understand live market calendar which gives you access to key economic announcements that will affect price swings in major index, currency and commodity markets. A really helpful tool to help you to identify stock market fluctuations and influencers.

Do you take world events into consideration when planning your investment choices? and how do you keep track of them?

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mumpreneurs

With successful female role models such as Arianna Huffington and Karen Brady its no wonder that so many UK mums want to follow in their footsteps. However a recent survey carried out found that there are three top challenges that UK mumpreneurs believe are stopping them from pursuing their business dreams.

The top three reasons that UK mums gave for not starting a business were;

1. It seemed like too big of a risk

This is a completely natural fear of starting your own business felt by anyone giving up the security of their day job and going solo. For mumpreneurs the risk can often seem that bit greater as there is the financial security of your family to take into consideration.  As long as you’ve done the legwork beforehand and are well informed about the steps you need to take to help your business take off, then the benefits in the long run should far out weigh the risks.

2. Not knowing how to get started

Knowledge is power. Before you jump into starting a business of your own make sure you understand the steps you’ll need to take to get started and what you’ll need to do to be successful. There is a lot of usful information available online such as this simple 6 step plan to getting started with your business from the Entrepreneur. The government website also has a lot of useful information with regards to registering your business.

3. The admin and financial aspects involved

The survey found that 22% of UK mums who own a business said that one of the main challenges they faced when starting out was finding a bank who’d support them financially. Many found that the flexibility of the financial service provider was not enough and as a result 38% commented that they had found the process of setting up a business bank account long and slow. Not ideal for a busy mum with a business to run!

This week I found out about APS financial who are able to offer small businesses the opportunity to get their current accounts set up within less than 10 minutes of starting the application! Brilliant news for mumpreneurs across the UK who will be able to get trading faster. So far they have helped almost 80,000 start-up businesses of which nearly a quarter were female entrepreneurs. APS financial also provide businesses access to finance through a range of credit products and overdrafts, lending up to £2,000, which can help fund the cost of starting up a business.

APS finance said;

“We should be empowering all small businesses, but especially mothers working to set up a business to thrive in our economy by offering fast, easy ways to open up bank accounts and manage cashflow, not throwing up barriers. It is worrying to think that it is fears about admin and financial hassle that stops entrepreneurial mothers going it alone and our experience shows that grassroots entrepreneurs don’t need traditional banks to ‘bank’.”

This is really positive news for mumprenures across the UK, APS financial helping to reduce the financial worries of setting up a business will allow small businesses to put their energy into getting started!

Are you a mum in the UK looking to set up a first time business? Will this financial reassurance encourage you to take the first step?

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Unfortunately in the past, zero hour contract workers have found it very difficult to be able to secure themselves with a mortgage as they are unable to meet the lender criteria – as there is no guarantee of regular hours to be worked and therefore no fixed income for a lender to review. 

The Statistics

According to the office of national statistics, in 2016 more than 900,000 people in the UK held a zero hour contract. Almost 34% of them worked regular full time hours and 41% had been in the same employment for more than 2 years. In fact, 9% of them have been in the same employment for more than 10 years!

Nearly a fifth of zero hour contract workers are at the age of purchasing their first property, but they face being judged by the flexibility of their work contract and declined a mortgage.

The Mortgage Misfit No More!

Zero hour contract workers have long been considered one of the ‘Mortgage Misfits’. However Ipswich Building Society have very recently confirmed that as of the 1st March 2017 they have changed their lending criteria to be able to help zero hour contract workers to secure a mortgage!

They will be taking personal circumstances into account through a manual underwriting process rather than automatically hitting ‘computer says no’.  Ipswich Building Society have said:

“Zero hour contract workers have limited choices for mortgage borrowing. We are continuing to improve our products and introduce new programmes to help those who are creditworthy, yet marginalised by mainstream mortgage lenders. We believe that ‘mortgage misfits’, such as those who are on a zero hour contract and can demonstrate a consistent income, should have the same level of options and access to the mortgage market as any other applicant.”

What Do You Need To Be Able To Apply For A Mortgage On A Zero Hours Contract?

  • Evidence of the past 18 months of your employment history & a P60
  • 3 month’s worth of payslips
  • A letter from your employer estimating the minimum and maximum hours available for you to work per month can also be considered
  • The usual lending criteria applies also

This is such great news for those on zero hour contracts and its a highly important shift as more companies are recruiting via zero contracts and more workers are forced down this route.

If you are currently working on a zero hour contract have you previously had a mortgage declined in the past based on your contract and will this tempt you to re-apply?

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There's a lot to think about when you're moving abroad to study in a new country; is your accommodation going to be ok? Do...