Investing

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The global forex market is witnessing a daily trade of over $4000 trillion, and is emerging as the largest financial market across the globe. Owing to the immense popularity of forex, traders of all levels ranging from amateurs to professionals are enticed by it.

Forex is easy to trade, there are round-the-clock sessions and you don’t need to put a high amount at stake to try it out. However, whether you are a well-seasoned professional or are just learning about the financial markets, it’s vital that you be wary of common pitfalls and don’t lose money.

Here are some essential tips that can help you avoid losing money in forex trading:

1. Start With A Practice Account

Nearly all trading platforms allow the traders to use the practice accounts, which are often referred as “Demo Account” or “Simulated Account”. One can place hypothetical trades with these accounts without requiring to put actual funds on stake. Using such an account, you can learn the different trading techniques and also become adept at the order entry techniques as small mistakes here can result in easy loss of money.

The most important part of a trading account is you can develop your own trading strategies and evaluate their effectiveness before getting stuck into real-time trade.

2. Learn Before You Trade

Forex is one of the easiest trading markets to understand and get involved in. However, just because it’s easy to get started it does not mean that you should enter unprepared. It’s vital to develop a thorough understanding of the various aspects of forex trading, and how the process of trading actually works.

You should also consider investing in some good Forex trading books to research the best trading strategies and top pitfalls which cause people to lose money in the markets.

3. Don’t Get Tempted By the Tools

Once you begin trading in the real world and open your forex trading account you will be provided with access to a plethora of technical analysis tools. Take these with a pinch of salt as some of them are a little biased and many do not show you the whole picture.

The most important consideration when using investment analysis tools is to look at how your stocks/shares have performed in the very long term and then consider any external factors which may have an impact on their performance.

4. Learn Money Management Techniques

Using the right money management techniques is very important to avoid losses during forex trading. Many seasoned traders agree that it’s not difficult to secure a trade at any price, but it is difficult to get out of the trade at the right time.

You should be aware of the techniques for money management and money saving strategies – especially the “Protective Stop Loss” to keep losses under control, if they occur.

5. Start With Small Stakes

After you have done your homework, spent time in your practice account and developed your trading strategies, it’s the right time to go live. You can now start investing and trading in real cash – start small, be patient with your trades and give them time to grow. As your confidence increases you can begin to increase your investments and operate at higher stakes.

Be wary of success, if you hit the right trade at the right time it can feel exhilarating but always be concious that trades can drop just as fast as they rise. To stabilise your level of risk, be sure to split your investment across multiple trades.

If you are new to Forex and are looking a reliable forex trading platform, take a look at ETX capital who offer an astounding array of trading and spread betting opportunities.

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cottage uk

There’s been a lot going on in the last few months, and 2016 wasn’t exactly a walk in the park either. So where has this left things for property?

Well, some experts are saying that the house prices are going to be flat for a couple of years. However, when you look into what flat means it’s just not rising quite so astronomically as they have been but still on the incline.

The other negative news to have but a dampener on things is the changes to stamp duty taxes that have had a huge impact on the number of transactions in the housing market. From April 1st 2016, Stamp Duty increased by an additional 3% on properties going up the scale, increasing the top band to 15%. The rates only affect people who are buying an additional property, such as buy-to-let properties and landlords.

However, amid the negativity, property developers and investors are still in a prosperous position. No matter what happens with Brexit or how cautious buyers are being, the fact remains the same: Britain needs more homes and where there is a demand, there is a market.

The area that has been most heavily impacted with a drop in prices and far less transactions is London. Since Brexit, it is reported that the capital has been the hardest hit with some places showing negative growth overall and being dragged lower by the most expensive boroughs.

Although London isn’t looking like the best opportunity at the moment, there are other areas in the UK that are thriving. The houses that are vanishing off the market the fastest can be found in Northampton, Milton Keynes, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol and Southampton, to name a few.

According to Prime Location, Northampton is attracting people who have been forced out of London’s price hike and in 2014, Northampton was voted the best place in the UK to start and run a business by credit reference agency Experian. Prime Location also suggests that development is thriving in Northampton with plenty of opportunities for investment in rental properties as well as buying off plan plots.

If you’re looking for property investment solutions outside of London, it may be best to organise your thoughts and speak to a professional. Daniel Goldberg, First Urban’s director and shareholder, would be able to provide plentiful advice on the current housing market, where works best for you as an investment and how you can still make a profitable business out of property investment.

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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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whether to invest in a property

Imagine the scene: you have decided to become a property investor and are now excited about what looks like an exciting future of buying, letting out and, ultimately, making money from property. However, you have just hit something of a wall: you can’t make your mind up about which property you should buy first.

Here are a few factors to weigh up as you mull over buying a specific property.

Do you need to make money quickly?

If so, you should probably completely forget about investing in property. It not only requires significant financial outlay right from the start, but also doesn’t tend to bring returns that can be accessed quickly. You can allow people to rent your property – an arrangement which would give you an additional, regular supply of income. However, you would need to first find tenants.

As demand for property – whether to buy or rent – can fluctuate, property investment should be treated as a long-term investment. That way, when the market is depressed, you can simply wait for it to recover before you sell. However, the process of selling a property will itself take a while; therefore, you won’t necessarily make a lot of money quickly even when the market is flourishing.

Will you be able to pay all of the necessary costs?

Various charges to consider on your property investment journey include the fees you might need to pay estate agents, surveyors and solicitors. Any additional costs associated with maintaining and managing your properties should also be factored in.

Those costs could include, should the freehold not be outright yours, extending the lease; the Money Advice Service cautions that negotiating this could be time-consuming. Will you have enough time free for taking care of this?

Would you be able to afford the mortgage?

Mortgage lenders should enable you to calculate the monthly costs of a mortgage, money.co.uk states. If those costs outweigh what you know you would have coming in each month, you might have to turn your back on property investment – or, at least, investing in the particular property or area that you are currently eyeing up.

If you are letting out, will the rent be sufficiently high to help meet your costs?

While letting out properties could, of course, bring in money to help you with upkeep, you should carefully look over the probable outgoings to make sure that the rent would be high enough. This isn’t necessarily to say that the rent should pay for absolutely every aspect of looking after the property. However, it might be unlikely to cover the repayments on your buy to let mortgage.

While raising the rent is an option, this could ultimately bring the rental costs above what the property is genuinely worth – and so leave you without any willing tenants. Therefore, limiting your investment to properties likely to deliver the best return on that investment would be a wise strategy – and consultants at Flambard Williams can help you to identify the best opportunities.

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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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