Authors Posts by Joe Read

Joe Read

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I have a burning passion for generating big results - FAST. Fascinated with personal finance, entrepreneurship and high performance in the workplace.

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save money on great clothes

We shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to look good in nice clothes. However, take a walk through your local shopping centre and you could be excused for thinking that you need to spend a great deal in order to look sharp. Consider that expensive fashion brands can “buy” more publicity, says The Guardian‘s Hadley Freeman; there are plenty of inexpensive clothing options out there which would have simply slipped past your radar. Here is how you can take advantage of them.

Shop at charity outlets in upmarket parts of the country

Freeman acknowledges that coming across “good cheap stuff requires some nosing out on your part” – and some of the places where you could nose around include charity shops. You shouldn’t just pick any, however; stick to those in posh areas. Hadley enthuses: “This was one of the best fashion tips I got as a teenager and it has honestly never let me down.”

Presumably the reason why this tip works so well is that, in these affluent areas, people can afford high-quality fabrics – but, once they no longer want them, a charity shop is one of the first places that they consider handing those surplus-to-requirements clothes to.

Continue your shopping trip in… your own cupboards

Sometimes, it seems, you don’t know just how much you already have until you’ve had a good rummage. By having this in your home’s cupboards, you could come across various items that you had bought long ago but since forgotten about.

Maybe, on a trip to Paris five years ago, you purchased a souvenir t-shirt that, you could now realise, still fits. Alternatively, you might have accidentally wedged a jumper between a couple of drawers when hurriedly looking through them during a moment of urgency a while ago; now could be the time to pull out those drawers and retrieve that still-perfectly-usable garment!

Avoid trends… or, at least, ones that will be short-lived

Keeping up with fashion trends can undoubtedly be expensive, considering how often they change. Therefore, if you are in the habit of following them, you could, as MoneyAware advises, save money by dropping that habit… or tweaking it. You could, for example, stick to trends that should last a few more years at the least. Alternatively, you could opt for classic styles – think 1950s style – that typically take a while to go out of fashion. Marilyn Monroe has been a style icon in many decades!

When you buy new, buy quality

Sometimes we just can’t avoid buying new clothes – we might need them for work or an important event. A good rule of thumb for buying new clothes is to buy something that will last, something that will stay in good shape after washing and something you can where for a variety of occasions.

For example, if you are looking for a pair of shorts for the summer – think about whether you can get a quality pair that you could also wear to work and even in the garden. Dickies Life stocks a pleasing range of work shorts – including slim, multi-pocket and industrial varieties. Buying quality often means only buying once every few years rather than every few months!

How have you saved money clothes in the past? Any tips for catching a bargain?

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before you change career

Whether you’re stuck in a rut with your current job or are just looking for a new challenge, a career change is a huge decision, and there are certain factors that you should take into account before you decide to commit.

Why do you want to change?

First, think about the reasons why you want to change your career. Some of the most common reasons include a lack of interest in the role, lack of room for progress or the fact that you don’t get along with your colleagues or manager. Be very careful as to deciding whether it is your entire career that you need to change, or simply your place of work.

What do you want?

If you know it’s definitely your career path that you wish to change, consider what it is that you actually want to do. Think about what you dislike in your current line of work and what you would like to do on a day-to-day basis instead.

For example, are you unhappy with the amount of paperwork you have to complete or do you need more flexible hours to fit in with your work life balance? If it is a reason such as this, it may be that a career change is not the best move and instead you could organise a negotiation within your current role that could help solve your problem.

What are your interests and skills?

The likelihood is that you’ll have a certain skill set that you’ll have gained from your current position but consider whether or not these skills are transferable. You may be thinking that you want a complete change of career but, realistically, how achievable will this be?

If your current role is in finance, for example, it might not be logical to suddenly begin a career in journalism. Some of the most highly regarded skills that employers in all fields look for are organisational skills, communication skills, teamwork and the ability to show initiative. You should also take your interests into account to make sure that you’ll be moving somewhere that will hold your attention.

How much are you prepared to change?

It may be that the job you have now fits perfectly with your lifestyle regarding hours, location and salary so remember that if you change your career path, these things are likely to change too. Depending on the experience you have in your new and desired field, it may also be a possibility that you’ll have to start from the bottom of the ladder again which equals less status and less money. If you have a family, think about the implications this could have on them too.

Will you regret it?

It might be difficult, but try and see how this change might affect you in the long-run by looking 5 or even 10 years into the future. Will it take this amount of time to achieve once again the professional and financial status that you have now? If so, a career change may not be worth it.

You can always seek career advice

If you’re struggling with the decision, there’s nothing stopping you from seeking professional career advice. Sites such as CV-Library are packed with helpful articles and tips written by career experts that can guide you in the right direction.

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owning your home

If you are currently renting your home, you may have thought about how your financial situation would look if you were to get out a mortgage and buy a property for yourself…

There are a number of interesting debates on this topic, here we will delve into some of the key reasons for taking out a mortgage to buy your own home.

Of course every rose has it’s thorn and it’s important to analyse mortgage rates and inflation against your own situation before making a commitment.

1. More Affordable Monthly Payments

By getting a mortgage on your home, you take away the landlord’s cut of your monthly payments. So depending on the term of your mortgage, you’ll often find it works out more affordable than paying rent on a similar property and thus decreases your household bills.

2. You Gain An Asset

What’s more, by taking out a mortgage on your home, you’ll find yourself with a financial asset that you haven’t had before. The truth is, we all need somewhere to live and that means committing our finances towards accommodation, whether we rent or have bought our home, with this in mind it makes sense that we can work towards owning a substantial financial asset while we’re at it.

3. Freedom To Make a House A Home

Owning rather than renting a home, can give you more freedom in how you make your property into a home. When renting a property, there is often structures around what you as a tenant can do to the property, even down to the colour of paint on the walls!

You will need the permission of the landlord to make changes which understandably they will be reluctant to approve. Take out a mortgage on your home, and you’ll have a great deal more autonomy over what you can do, from the wallpaper to the structure, giving you the opportunity to make it work for you.

4. Make Your Property Work for You

Though it’s not always the case, owning your home can give you the opportunity to make money in a way renting a property does not. It might be you could take in lodgers through AirBnb or even though longer term lets – you also have the potential to rent out your property in the future.

Just remember, if you are looking to buy a property through a shared ownership scheme such as the help-to-buy or first-time buyers scheme, there are often restrictions on subletting your property or making structural changes to the property. If this is something you are interested in, make sure you understand the small print before you sign up, talk to an experienced mortgage adviser to find the right mortgage for you and to guide you through the process.

So there you have our 4 top reasons why you should get a mortgage on your home, from reducing your household bills when compared to renting, to providing you with a substantial financial asset that you could potentially make work for you.

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reducing car insurance

While tax might often seem one of life’s few certainties, there remain ways in which you can reduce how much of it you need to pay.

This certainly applies with car tax; however, there are numerous changes that have recently been enacted and, in the process, muddied the waters concerning how you can trim the amount you need to pay in tax on your car.

These are changes that have been made to Vehicle Excise Duty or VED, as it is officially called. There’s a rather complex picture painted by these changes, which came into effect on April 1, but one thing is clear above all: if you buy a new car now, you could end up having to pay much more in VED than you would have been responsible for under the old system.

In this article, we will detail how you can still take advantage of parts of the new system to save yourself significant amounts on car tax. We will also explain how even your car insurance policy could play a large part in minimising your car-related obligations to the Exchequer.

1. Use or buy a car that was registered before April 1 2017

One great piece of news is that, if your current car was registered ahead of April 1, you won’t be financially hit at all by the new rules, as Daily Post explains. Instead, you will continue paying VED under the previous system; the rate which you were paying, or soon due to start paying, won’t change from what was the case pre-April. The changes apply strictly to cars registered from April 1.

Also, these changes don’t apply to second-hand cars. Therefore, if you are in the market for a replacement for your current car, you could avoid paying tax under the new system by purchasing a used vehicle. Nonetheless, we emphasise that, before you buy this vehicle, you must check that it was registered before 1 April 2017; if it wasn’t, you would be paying under the new system.

If you are planning to go down this route, it might be better to buy sooner rather than later. Otherwise, if you go browsing for a used vehicle in the more distant future, you could find that the only used vehicles on offer meeting your needs fall under the same VED system as a new car.

2. Buy a zero-emissions car costing less than £40,000

The two main factors influencing how much VED is payable are the car’s list price and the carbon emissions that the vehicle will produce when it is driven. For deciding the extent to which emissions should affect VED in the first year that the car has an owner, the government has specified 13 different tax bands.

In the initial year, you would pay no VED whatsoever if your car falls into the lowest of these bands. However, the car would only fall into that band if it is a zero-emissions one, like an electric car. Furthermore, to stay exempt from VED after this first year, the vehicle would need to have a list price under £40,000. If the list price was above that threshold, a ‘Premium’ charge of £310 would need to be annually paid from the second year of ownership to the sixth.

3. Be careful when adding options to a zero-emissions car under £40,000

We’ve repeatedly used the phrase “list price”, but what actually is this price? It is defined as the car’s price before the addition of “on-the-road” charges like a new vehicle registration fee and delivery charge, plus fuel and number plates. Furthermore, it’s worth emphasising that it is the final list price that determines whether your vehicle crosses that crucial £40,000 threshold.

So, if you do seal the deal on a zero-emissions car priced beneath this figure, be wary of adding options that could lift the overall price higher than £40,000. What Car? warns that “an option costing a few hundred pounds could end up costing you more than £1,500 over five years in extra car tax costs.” This would remain the case even if the dealer provided a discount bringing the car’s price back down below £40,000, as this price would not be the list price.

4. Utilise clever tactics to cut your car insurance premiums

In November, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced that, from June, insurance premium tax would be increased from 10% to 12%. IPT, as this tax is otherwise known, is levied on roughly 50 million insurance policies, including those for car insurance. As a result, car insurance premiums will soon rise beyond £600, as The Guardian has reported.

However, as this tax is charged as a percentage of this premium before the tax, you can lower the payable amount of this tax by, quite simply, lowering your premiums. You can do this in a variety of ways – such as by adding a parent or spouse as a named driver or, peculiarly, fitting a tow bar to your vehicle. That practice could trim up to 20% off your premium.

When the time comes to renew your car insurance policy, you should shop around. Call Wiser can help you in this task – as, taking account of policies from more than 30 leading insurance providers in the UK, this Hampshire-based company can give you an attractive quote in a mere 10 minutes. It can significantly reduce the hassle of looking for a great policy.

Looking for more tips on saving on your car? Check out this article from This Is Money about reducing your car insurance premium.

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selling parents house

Coming into ownership of a property through the loss of a family member can be difficult to deal with – with all the complications surrounding the inheritance of a home, it can be confusing to enter the world of probate and tax involved in such a sale.

There are a number of factors to consider if you have inherited, or look to inherit, a home. Are you the sole inheritor, and will own the entire property by yourself – or have you inherited joint ownership? You also need to consider your intentions for the home.

Whether you intend on renting, keeping or selling the property – your credit rating is an important factor to consider at every stage of inheriting a home.

Joint inheritance

If you have sole ownership of an inherited property, the process of deciding your next actions can be fairly simple. However, in cases where ownership has been split, choices will have to be made regarding overall decisions on what is to be done with the property.

There is the option of buying out other inheritors – however, this will likely involve putting up large amounts of upfront cash. This will more often than not mean applying for a loan, which is heavily reliant on a strong credit rating.

Intentions for the property

There are various services available depending on your intentions for a property – whether this be living in the home (rules may differ if you live abroad or own a second home), renting out the home (in which case tax may need to be paid on the rental profit, as pointed out on the UK Government’s website), or selling the property.

A high credit rating is important if you are intending to sell an inherited property. A credit rating score measures how likely you are deemed to pay back a debt you owe, and thus affects any future borrowing from a bank or building society. Any creditors that are owed money would likely have priority on any money made from the sale of such a house.

Issues of leftover debt need to be addressed. Any mortgage that remains unpaid from the previous owners of the property will also need to be taken into consideration. Unfortunately a poor credit rating means that you may not be able to take on a mortgage from a previous property and could risk losing the home.

Other concerns

If you do choose to sell and have the necessary requirements, you will also need to consider whether you are required to pay any Capital Gains tax on any profit you may make. If this has not already been addressed in the deceased person’s will or estate documents, you will need to consider how to get a probate property valuation yourself.

Beyond this, it may be sensible to seek further expert advice through a company such as Probate Purchasers, a company which guarantees an efficient sale of probate properties. The firm is a founding member of the National Association of Property Buyers, as Probate Purchasers explains on its website.

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