Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Universal Insurance Plans That Everybody Needs

Insurance plan for all needs
Insurance has become something of a necessary evil in recent years. There are a lot of people that begrudge paying out for the various insurance that we're told we need. But, you have to stop seeing things that way and look at insurance for what it really is. Something to fall back on when the unexpected arises. And believe me, life has a way of throwing something your way when you least expect it.

Prevention, as they say, is better than cure. You should stop seeing insurance as something that you grudgingly pay out each month. See it as a lifeline should you be stung by something unexpected. You're not alone in all of this. Everybody needs insurance for a whole host of different reasons. It's not just about covering you in the event of an accident, either. It's about protecting your assets and earning power in the event that you are set back unexpectedly.

One way or another, everybody needs insurance. There are dozens of different policies to choose from. That can be difficult to wade through. Consequently, you may not know exactly what you need to sign up for personally. This guide is intended to point you in the right direction so that you aren't paying for something you don't need. And, likewise, to ensure you aren't missing out on protection that could be vital for you. Let's take a look at a couple of the most common insurance options, and why you might need it.

Life Insurance

Not many people like to think about what will happen after they pass away. It's pretty morbid, isn't it? But, the truth is, you never know what's around the corner. No matter how old you are, you should always have a contingency plan in place. Life insurance was initially a means to protect the assets of wealthy families in the event of a sudden death. Now, though, it's much more common place.

As if death wasn't traumatic enough already. Many families find themselves stung with unfair financial obligations in the wake of loss. This can include things like the pursuit of debt, funeral costs, and losing assets. Life insurance is the only way to make sure that your family is fully provided for if you happened to pass away. Everyone is rightly concerned about how their families would cope without them around. Life insurance is how to make sure are well looked after when you're not around anymore.

Auto Insurance

Car insurance is non-negotiable in just about every developed country in the world. While the details may vary from provider to provider, they all set out to achieve the same thing. To protect you (and your family) in the case of accidents on the road. It may be a case that you've been injured in a collision, or your car has been damaged beyond repair. In both those instances, someone is going to have to foot the bill. And you probably don't have that kind of money lying around at all times, do you?

That's why car insurance is so imperative. You'll need to be fully covered if you're going to seek compensation. And, similarly, you'll also need your insurance provider to pay for a new car. The way auto insurance works is by paying a monthly fee that amasses to your name. That is where your provider will pull the money from should you need the financial assistance. You might think that it would make more sense just to save the money yourself, but car insurance is legally required in most countries.

Property Insurance

For homeowners, their house is their most valuable asset. There likely isn't going to be another purchase you will make in life that even remotely compares to your home. That's why it's fundamentally important that you protect the value of your home at all costs. Typically, home insurance will cover you in the event of theft or accidental damage. This can include things like fires or flooding. However, there are certain loopholes. If the damage is a direct result of your own negligence, you'll likely not be covered.

It's crucial that you always read the small print when applying for home insurance. The terms of the contract will vary from provider to provider. You may miss some key information that will mean you're not covered in certain eventualities. It's always better to be safe than sorry. If you don't feel like the coverage is right for you, don't hesitate to look around at what else is on offer. Different companies will also specialise in different areas. Getting a quote from a company like Direct Axis, for example, could turn up completely different results than another insurer.

Health Insurance

This, admittedly, is not required in every country. There are many different states that offer free healthcare, but not everyone can be so lucky. In those other countries, health insurance is what covers your medical expenses. And you can't put a price on good health, can you? You need to make sure that you can afford to pay for any surgeries or prescriptions that may be required unexpectedly.

Without proper coverage, an accident or illness could see you slip into a lifetime of debt. You could instantly undo all your life's hard work in a single moment through no fault of your own. Don't let that happen to you. Make sure that your healthcare provider is acceptant of your health insurance. As with every other type of insurance, there are exceptions to the rule. Many families suffer through treatments only to find that their insurance doesn't cover it, so make sure you get to grips with your coverage.

If you can afford to pay premiums on these four types of insurance, you stand in good stead. Some of them are legally required, but others are optional. Either way, though, you should always aim to be covered by all four of them. There are certainly other kinds of insurance available, but they will be dependent on your specific needs.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bank Cuts Credit Lines as Bad Credit Loans on the Rise

bad credit loans
It is almost eight years since the so-called credit crunch began – the period when lending appeared to dry up and which presaged the financial crisis of 2009, the effects of which continue to be felt today.

Yet despite four years of economic growth, record low interest rates, quantitative easing by the world’s central banks and continued exhortations by governments for banks to lend more, credit is still being strangled at source.

A recent survey carried out by eBay clearly showed that both consumers and businesses are suffering at the hands of the major high street banks with their rigid lending policies and risk-averse culture. The lack of trust in the major banks – which has been described as a ‘broken bond’ – has led to millions of people being forced to go elsewhere to source the credit they need to get on in life or to expand their business.

More than 65% of Britain’s businesses said that getting finance from their banks was difficult or very difficult with more than 60% saying that the situation was worse than it was at the height of the financial crisis. Consumers, too, are suffering as the banks impose rigid lending criteria that has seen more and more people drop out of the top credit ratings into bad credit territory through no fault of their own.

There is also evidence that lower interest rates are actually having a negative impact on lending. Researchers from universities in Asia, Europe and the US found that even though the banks should, in theory, make more money lending to people it can charge higher interest to – those with lower credit ratings – the potential costs of doing so are actually making them more averse. The researchers found that the bank’s best customers – those with the highest credit ratings – were actually less likely to borrow with the borrowers with higher risk profiles the ones who are more likely to borrow. That means that mainstream lending interest rates inevitably have to rise to cover the cost of those who default on their loans.

Yet despite the stranglehold imposed by the major banks, there is a booming market for consumers judged to have bad or impaired credit in the UK. The growth of the Internet has meant that the banks now have serious competition when it comes to lending: new and existing financial organisations are taking advantage of the lower cost model offered by digital-only trading. These companies have fewer staff, little commercial property and lower expenses than mainstream lenders and so have been able to offer an alternative to the traditional lenders.

There may be many reasons why you are turned down for a credit card, loan, mortgage or mobile phone contract and not all of them are the result of financial mistakes in the past. The new environment of stricter criteria means that having moved house recently, not having had sufficient credit in the past or simply the area in which you live may rule you out when it comes to borrowing from the banks.

In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of people with impaired credit ratings who find that they can no longer borrow the money they need from their bank when prior to the financial crisis; they would have had no such problem. This may be because they have been late with one or two card repayments not because they have a raft of defaults or county court judgements registered against them.

Credit cards, personal loans, guarantor loans and current accounts for people with bad credit are all starting to make a comeback in the UK. On top of these, a number of companies are now offering mortgages to people with bad credit ratings despite the abolition of the self-certification mortgage by the Financial Conduct Authority.

This growing-number of alternative lenders are joining a sector that is expanding rapidly – offering hope to millions of people shut out of the credit markets by their banks.

While some have expressed concern that the higher interest rates charged on bad credit loans could cause people problems with repayments, one charity has said that the rise of the bad credit lending market was necessary to put the economy back on an even keel.

Peter Tutton, of debt charity StepChange, told The Guardian earlier this year that it is important that people who have had problems with money in the past got the opportunity to become normal consumers again. That means allowing people to rebuild their credit ratings - which can only be done by giving them the means to borrow and make repayments on time – something the major banks are patently unwilling to do.

Even those who have faced bankruptcy or have a string of CCJs against their names are finding that they are not necessarily being excluded from loans. Different lenders have different criteria and there is a good chance that even if you have bad credit, somebody will lend you the money that you need.

The interest rates may be higher and you might not be able to borrow as large a sum as somebody with a perfect credit record, but a very large number of lenders are now ready to listen to people with less-than-perfect credit records and consider their circumstances.

The major banks may be reluctant to lend still but it is clear that the days when they were able exert so much control over the lives of millions of people are disappearing.

Article provided by Solution Loans, a technology-led finance broker with a broad range of financial products and many years’ experience in advising customers of their most suitable types of credit.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Need Some Cash For Christmas? Check Out These 10 Fundraising Ideas

Fund collecting ideas
With Christmas just around the corner, you will no doubt have a list of people you need to buy presents for. As you can imagine, the more folks you've got on your list, the more cash you need to spend! It's no surprise that Christmas is a time where a lot of money gets spent with retailers.

So, what happens if you're broke? Well, you could just give people a card only and tell them you can't afford to get them a present. But, what if I told you there were a few ways you could raise the cash you need?

You might not realize it, but there are plenty of opportunities for making money! Here are ten of my tried and tested methods for you to check out:

1. Sell your unwanted items on eBay

Most people don't realize that they could be sitting on a potential goldmine at home! Let's face it; we all buy stuff of high value and sometimes don't use those items much.

If you've got valuables that you seldom use, now is the time to convert those goods into cash! eBay is one of the most popular ways to sell unwanted items online. In fact, it's the Internet's biggest marketplace! You could also try other classifieds site too, such as Craigslist.

2. Get a small loan

Do you get paid on the last working day of the month? If so, you could find it hard to pay for your Christmas gifts before payday. Instead of celebrating Christmas after the 25th December, why not take out a small loan?

It's easier than ever to apply for cash loans online these days. Assuming you get approved, you could have the money in a matter of hours. When you get paid at the end of the month, you can then pay it back in full.

3. Get an evening job

If you have a 9-5 job, one way to make some extra cash before Christmas is to get an evening job. You could use your car to deliver takeaway food, for example. Or you could run a convenience store. There are thousands of evening job ideas out there.

I should point out that it's only an option for those that don't have a family in tow at home. So, if you're an eligible bachelor, this is a viable option. But if you've got a spouse and three kids at home, it's better to spend the time with them instead!

4. Do some online work from home

The brilliant thing about the Internet is that there are hundreds of ways to make money online. And you can do all those things from the comfort of your home!

From copywriting to Web design, there are plenty of ways to earn some money. You could even take part in surveys where you get paid for your opinions! There's no denying that micro-entrepreneurism is on the rise. Why not be a part of that digital revolution and make some money for Christmas?

5. Sell your scrap metal

Is your backyard more like a junk yard? If so, now is the time to get rid of that stuff and make some money in the process. Scrap metal dealers will pay you cash for your steel, iron and copper.

Even things like old car batteries are worth some money! It's worth having a look around your home and seeing what scrap metal you could sell. Not only will you make some money, but you'll tidy your home up at the same time!

6. Rent out your driveway

Do you live near a major town or city? Perhaps you are close to a significant public transport connection? If either of those scenarios are true, there is one innovative way to make some money. I am, of course, talking about renting out your driveway!

Many people will pay to pay their cars during the day in a safe off-road location. A lot of folks may have to travel long distances for work, for example. Instead of commuting on a long car journey, they'd rather get on a train or bus.

7. Become a tutor

Are you an expert in a particular niche? If so, you ought to consider becoming a tutor! There are many ways to make some money. For instance, you could offer piano tuition services.

Or, if you are good with pets, you could teach dog and cat owners how to train their companions. People will pay good money to learn more about particular subjects. Why not capitalize on that fact and help them out at the same time?

8. Sell your car

If you don't use your car that much, it's likely that it just spends most of its time parked up on your driveway. In such scenarios, you should consider selling your auto and pocketing the cash.

First of all, you'll raise the money you need for Christmas. Second, your car will get better use with its new owner. And, third, you can make even more money if you rent your driveway out because of the freed-up space!

9. Crowdfund your plight

Plenty of people go on crowdfunding sites to ask for money for various things. Most of the time it's to fund a new business idea. For others, they crowdfund for personal reasons.

There's no guarantee you'll get the money you need. But, if you've got a compelling story, people might feel for you enough to make a donation to your fund! I'd probably consider this option as a last resort if I'm honest. Still, it's worth bearing in mind just in case.

10. Offer your services as a handyman

Are you good at DIY? If so, there's bound to be people in your neighborhood that could do with a handyman! You could offer a variety of services, such as fixing broken doors and windows.

If you're a qualified electrician, you could also offer electrical repair work. It's worth advertising your services in a local newspaper for extra promotion.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

How To Protect Your Finances In A Legal Case

cost for legal matters
The chances are that you will never face a lawsuit being filed against you or your business. And, hopefully, you will never have to claim against someone that has damaged you in some way. But, if it ever does happen, you will need to be ready. As everyone knows, there are few winners when it comes to going through a lengthy court case - apart from the lawyers, of course. So, it’s important for you to try and limit the amount of money that you spend if you ever have to defend yourself. Here are a few ideas for you to do just that.

The basics

First of all, the best line of defence with legal issues is never to go through it in the first place. Make sure you keep your life in order, never do business with people you don’t trust, and understand the laws for whatever you do. Whether it’s driving, holding a birthday party, or hiring an employee, it doesn’t matter. If you know what your legal responsibilities are, you will avoid more trouble than you get into.

Go for a settlement

In most cases, it will be cheaper for you to reach a settlement deal than go through a long and drawn out court case. Early resolutions mean you don’t have to pay your lawyer all that much for their time. And, of course, you will avoid having to pay the other party’s fees and court costs if you lose. If you are strapped for cash when making a claim, you can always look for pre-settlement funding firms that will help you with your legal fees. Some of them won’t make you pay the money back if you lose, either, so it’s well worth looking into.

Saving money in legal fees

Every five minutes of a lawyer’s time is going to cost you half an hour in fees. So, make sure you get the most out of every meeting with them, and keep them to a minimum unless you have a package deal of some description. You can also do a lot of the lawyer’s work for them. Gather your own evidence, and make sure you tell them everything, and you will cut your legal costs.

Be careful when you fight your battles

If you are making a claim against another party, be aware that even if you win, you could still lose money. Going through a long and pressurized lawsuit might not be worth the pain. In many cases, the defendant can go bankrupt, meaning you get zilch. And, it’s the same when you are defending yourself against a claim. Most of the time you will still have to pay our lawyer, and the court will not award you the fees back. That mean you could still lose out, even if you win convincingly.

As we said in the first part of this post - nobody wins a legal case, other than the lawyers. They get paid - you might not, even if you win. It’s a tough thing to accept, but it’s the way it is. So, wherever possible, avoid trouble. Know the law, don’t break it, and make sure you don’t put yourself in a position where someone makes a claim against you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Uni Education: A Necessity Priced Like a Luxury?

education costing
A university degree is widely considered a necessity these days if one is to hope to make a decent living. Yet increasingly higher education is becoming a luxury many people simply cannot afford. The jump in tuition fees over the past few years – and talk of further increases in the years to come – have made funding a real problem for many. Although the situation is not yet as severe in the UK as it is in the US it is significant nevertheless. Recent budgetary changes may have only exacerbated the problem. But it’s not all bad news.

The lament of the “working poor”

The recent announcement of decisions to cut tax credits was quite a blow for the working poor. In London alone, the number of employed people who fall below the poverty line has risen by 70 percent. In October 2015 Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to take £1,300 a year or £108.33 a month – that’s a little over £25 a week – away from low-income families. A 37-year-old single working mum named Maria Roberts, writing in the Telegraph, says, “…a mere £25 is what Osborne might spend on a single bottle of wine. But when you are strapped for cash, like I am, £25 is equivalent to a week’s worth of vegetables, milk and eggs.” Ms. Roberts worries that despite his high marks and scholarship to a top independent school, her 17-year-old son won’t be able to attend university because it is beyond their means. “University,” she says, “is a luxury we simply cannot afford… and I need him to start contributing to the household bills.” She laments that social mobility is becoming out of reach for her family.

Class wars: bad news and good

The UK has a long way to go before becoming a truly pluralist and tolerant society. Class wars still exist, though arguably we’ve traded older forms of elitism for newer ones. Sociology professor Mike Savage has referred to the problem as the “class ceiling”, equivalent to the “glass ceiling” that women in the workforce have been battling for decades. And indeed, studies and reports on social mobility in the UK seem to offer some fairly discouraging news, which can basically be summed up by the observation that one still has a much better chance of succeeding if one was born into privilege. Universities are very much a part of this narrative. Analysis from a 2013 BBC “Great British Class Survey”, in which Professor Savage participated, suggested that those who graduate from a very few elite universities earn substantially more than those who graduate from other top-tier “Russell Group” universities. (Study results were published online under BBC/Science on 3 April 2013.) Those born to privilege are generally more likely to attend these elite universities and go on to enter elite professions, passing the traditions down to the next generation. But there’s more to this story. Greater social mobility would go a long way towards shattering the “class ceiling”, and there may be some encouraging news on that front. To begin with, there are flaws in some of the older studies from the early 2000s that emphasised Britain’s relatively low social mobility, according to experts such as John Goldthorpe, a University of Oxford scholar of the issue. Professor Goldthorpe says one of the problems lies in poor data sets used in most studies, and analysis that conflates absolute and relative changes. That’s not to say we should stop worrying about poverty, social inequality or stagnant social mobility. And the very real experiences of struggling single mums or uni students can’t be dismissed. At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, overall one is still better off if born into a world of wealth and privilege. But the larger picture is more complex than most of the studies, and certainly most of the political rhetoric, would have us believe. And as new generations and more innovative technology emerge, there’s good reason to believe there will be new routes to success – including paths to higher education – that are reachable even for those in less privileged circumstances.

Sometimes you have to run away from home to find yourself.

Meanwhile, though, there is the matter of funding that still-necessary university education, and this can be a huge source of stress for prospective uni students and their parents. Even though tuition loans and maintenance loans are available for those who qualify, they are often not enough to cover all expenses. (Moreover the prospect of starting out one’s working life with a heavy load of debt – even if all of it doesn’t have to be paid back – is hardly a cheery one.) Money to fill in the gaps has to come from somewhere, and for many uni students life is a continual struggle to make up for the shortfall. But some students are finding creative solutions to these problems – and they’re doing it by running away from home, in a manner of speaking. They are choosing to live and/or study in another country, in some cases saving thousands of pounds on tuition and accommodation. Several European countries are offering very cheap or even free tuition; Germany, for instance, has abandoned its university tuition fees for German and international students alike. Although language and cultural barriers might pose a problem for some students, those who can overcome these obstacles may find the experience to be very rewarding on many levels. As long as university education remains a necessity that is, under conventional terms anyway, priced like a luxury, young people will continue to seek out creative alternatives. It’s encouraging to know that there is more than one way to get the education and earn the credentials needed to give one a fighting chance at a successful and productive life.