Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top Ways To Make Switching Bank Accounts Easier

Due to the on-going recession, millions of people all over the UK are switching bank accounts to get the best out of their money. From interest rate scandals and IT meltdowns to PPI mis-selling and valueless reward accounts, the UK has been hit with waves of bad financial press in recent years, and it’s no wonder why banking customs are looking to change where they store their hard earned cash.

According to some of the leading price comparison websites, there has been a 25 per cent increase in the number of people using bank account comparison tools, indicating that moving money is a topic on a lot of people’s minds. Nationwide, one of the UK’s leading banking institutions, confirms the increase, revealing that it has also seen a rise in current account applications.

If you are thinking of moving your money elsewhere and changing your current account, there are a number of things you may want to consider. Firstly, be clear about your motives for changing bank accounts. Although getting the most out of your money can be a good thing, you should make sure that you’re moving for the right reasons, and not just because you’ve heard it’s a good thing to do.

Jumping ship may not be the best option, even if you are unhappy with your bank. Always compare current accounts online before you change your bank account, and also ask your bank what deals they have coming up in the near future. The last thing you want to do is move your money to another lender at the same time your current bank introduces new accounting benefits. Instead of acting rash, be savvy, and make the most of your current perks before you move on.

Switching Accounts

Moving your account from one bank to another is fairly simple, and the banks do most of the work anyway. All you have to do is fill in a few forms, providing your current account details, debits and employer, and your bank will make sure that all of these elements are transferred to your new account. As a rule of thumb, you should expect the entire process to take 3-6 weeks, however most banks will ensure that the process is completed within the space of a month.

Payment Problems

In some cases, there can be a problem with outgoing payments from your account. For example, the transfer may only be part completed, however your debit card will have been cancelled. This means that although you’re still registered with your current account, debits may have started getting taken from your new account. As soon as a problem occurs, or you notice that you’ve got more money in your account than you should, make sure you contact your new bank as soon as possible.

Although the process is typically hassle-free, there can be a few slips, and some direct debits may slip though the net. Don’t fret, just explain the situation to your direct-debiters, and if needed, get your new bank to contact them directly.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ultimate Home Improvements to Boost Energy Efficiency

New Year resolutions are in the air and people are hoping to fulfil their commitments throughout January and beyond. Whether you have decided to give up smoking, improve your health or renovate your house, all are possible if you put your mind to it.

Home improvements are at the top of the list for many people, and although some come at a price, many can be done on a shoestring budget. Whatever your monetary backing, you can be sure to improve your energy efficiency with a little forethought and vision.

Replace your Boiler

As one of the main offenders when it comes to contributing to your energy consumption, replacing an old boiler can be a great way to improve your efficiency as well as your bank balance. Although it can be a pricey outlay, British Gas and other suppliers offer some great initiatives to ensure a new boiler is as affordable as possible.

Whether it’s conventional or combi boilers that take your fancy, shop around and choose the best one for your needs.

Invest in Double Glazing

One of the largest expenditures you can make but definitely a sensible choice in the long run. Double glazing not only saves around £165 a year on your heating bills but also keeps outdoor sound to a minimum – particularly handy if you have noisy neighbours or live near a railway line!

Top Up your Loft Insulation

Incredibly easy to do, and something you can do without outside help, topping up your loft insulation can save £25 a year on your heating bill and is an affordable option.

The recommended depth for loft insulation is 270mm – anything less than that can be easily added to, to provide the best loft insulation for your home.

Check your Walls

Un-insulated homes can be the reason for up to a third of heat loss. Depending on what kind of house you live in, it’s definitely worth checking what insulation you have and what you can do to improve it. Insulated walls can save you up to £400 a year – look into it this New Year.

Small and simple home improvements, such as replacing your bulbs with energy saving alternatives, turning down your thermostat or installing a water meter can all help towards a more energy efficient home and are a worthy investment for the new year and beyond!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

5 Retirement Savings Tips For Your 20's

For those who are under the age of 30, it may seem like retirement is a long ways away. However, it is important to start thinking about retirement as soon as you get your first paycheck. if you are currently 30 or younger, what steps should you be taking to prepare for your retirement?

1) Start Contributing To An IRA And 401k

Contributing to your IRA as well as a 401k through your employer will allow you to start a nest egg that will accrue interest until you retire.  If you start off your career strong in a management trainee program then a 401k should be readily available to you. Additionally, these contributions can be used to reduce your taxable income for the current tax year.

2) Make A Debt Plan

When you first start working, there is a good chance that you will have a lot of student loan debt. You may also have credit card debt to deal with. Therefore, it is important that you make a plan to get rid of your debt as soon as possible. This will allow you to invest more of your money as you get older.

3) Look At Alternate Investment Opportunities

It is important to understand all of your investment options as it relates to your retirement. At some point, you may want to invest in real estate, buy gold and other safe investments that will grow in value as you age. These investments can offset losses that you may experience in the stock market.

4) Make Sure That You Are Diversifying Your Investments

Don't put all of your money into stocks or a Roth IRA. Instead, make sure that you have stocks, bonds as well as a mix of IRAs. This will allow you to save money on taxes now while also generating tax-free income in the future. It will give you options as to how you want to prepare for your retirement as you move forward.

5) Put Away A Little Each Week

Even if you don't have a lot of money, make sure that you are saving a little bit each week. A few dollars a week will add up between now and the time you turn 30. Once you are 30, it will be easier to find work that will pay you a living wage. It is important that you have the knowledge necessary to properly save for your retirement as soon as you start working. Diversify your investments, get rid of debt as soon as possible and make sure that you are putting away a little each week even if you don't make a lot of money.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Commercial Buildings Insurance - Restaurants, Cafes and Fast Food Shops

Commercial buildings insurance is important to provide protection for your restaurant, cafe, or fast food shop. It will help pay for damage in case of something unexpected occurring, such as a fire, which is important because such an event can lead to financial ruin without the proper coverage.

When shopping for this type of insurance, do thorough research on the insurance companies you have in consideration, and carefully review the plans they have available. Keep in mind that you can usually create a custom insurance plan to suit the needs of your particular business, so be sure to work closely with your insurance provider when putting together an appropriate package.

Commercial buildings insurance is a broad term that covers a wide range of different types of insurance. The insurance plan you purchase can and should include the specific coverage you require for your particular business. For example, food establishments may want insurance that covers such occurrences as a fire or other property damage. It's also a good idea to purchase coverage that includes content insurance so that your business won't have to pay for the loss or damage of expensive furniture and other equipment.

Commercial buildings insurance comes in many forms. Basic shop insurance plans tend to cover the basics, as the name implies, while other plans offer a wider range of coverage. Essentially, basic plans are designed to provide some property coverage, but you can pay a higher amount for insurance that is more inclusive.

For example, commercial buildings insurance can be made to include more than just coverage for property damage. You can add insurance that covers your business assets as well, for even more peace of mind. You can even purchase a policy that covers the loss of income due to unforeseen circumstances, and pay for the expenses of using a temporary location until the original premises are up and running again.

Just keep in mind that not everything is covered by this type of insurance, so if you require even more coverage to feel at ease, you will have to purchase separate insurance to guarantee complete coverage. Coverage for such things as fraud and burglary, for example, can be required in some cases. Although you'll have to pay higher premiums, restaurants and food shops in some locations may need this added safety net.

Disaster insurance is something you have to purchase separately if you want coverage for events such as a flood. Regular commercial buildings insurance covers property damage, but not for natural disasters. If you live in a part of the country that can be flooded from time to time, disaster insurance may be something extra to consider.

Commercial office insurance is an important and necessary part of running a business. No one knows what the future holds, so it pays to be prepared.