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March 2017

GROWING YOUR NEST EGG: TOP TIPS FOR BEGINNER INVESTORS

Tips for Investing

A guest post by The Retired Broker, visit his blog here: http://theretiredbroker.com/

Please follow him here: https://twitter.com/retiredbroker

 

 

Thinking of investing some of your cash?  Below are some hints and tips to think about before making a decision.

 

Paying for Financial Advice

First, you have a choice of whether to take financial qualified advice regarding where to invest your money.  The key factor here is cost as you will be required to pay for this advice which could cost you 2% which means if you get a return of 2% in the first year you are back to square one!  There are a lot of websites out there that can provide you with generic information, it may be best to make the most of these if you decide not to seek qualified advice.

 

Investment Term

The length of time you want to invest depends on when you might require your money back.  The timescale of 5/10 years is regarded as medium to long term, anything less than this is considered short term.  Generally speaking, the shorter the term the less risk you should consider taking.

 

Risk

Broadly speaking, there are two places to put your money, deposit and investment.

Deposit accounts of all varieties while reassuringly boring you will know exactly where you will stand and how much you will get with this type of investment.  So for example say a fixed bond of 5 years with a fixed rate of 2.4% you will get a return on your investment of 2.4% which could either be paid annually or month.  However it may mean in ‘real terms’ it could be lower depending on inflation at the time.  The main point to make is that if the interest you are earning is less than inflation then the buying power of your savings will be reduced.

 

With investment there is no interest, instead you are taking the risk that over time the value of your investment will go up.  It can also go down and almost certainly will fluctuate in the middle.  Check to see if the advantages of an ISA are worth investing in.

There are good reasons to consider it, but the main decision you have is the underlying stocks and shares themselves. One that invests in blue chip UK shares is generally considered to be a lower risk than one that invests in the shares of India or China. The attraction of the higher risk option is the chance of a greater return over time, but the risk of greater loss is also there. When you invest a lump sum into a stocks and shares ISA, you buy “units” of that investment at the value they are on that day. If this is the route you are considering you may want to look at regular savings options. By “dripping” in your investment you can take advantage of “POUND COST AVERAGING” Here is an article that explains it.
Now let’s me take a step back. There have always been a few guidelines when considering investments:

 

Clear non- mortgage debt. If you have any non-mortgage debt, then the interest you are being charged will outweigh any returns you may get on your nest egg by far. Consider clearing this debt.

 

Emergency fund. An emergency fund should be sufficient to sustain your family if the main earner is unable to earn for six months.

 

Consider clearing mortgage debt. Paying off part of a mortgage will create a monthly saving which then can be used to drip into an investment if you wanted to. You need to play with the figures to see if that is a runner for you.

 

Make a will. Whatever you choose to do, making a Will most certainly will ensure your plans are likely to go on even if you don’t!

 

Review your life cover.  If you have a family, there would be costs on death so it’s an idea to spend some time thinking about the financial consequences, sort it out to your satisfaction, then forget about it for a few years and then review it again.

 

Look at pension provision. The pension market has changed beyond recognition over the last few years, but the tax relief still makes pension plans worth looking at.

 

Children’s future. Think about whether you want to put any savings in your children’s names directly.
Finally, spend some and have fun. None of us knows what’s around the corner and time is a vicious thief, banking a memory now will give a guaranteed return forever!

 

Happy Investing!

 

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HAPPY NEW TAX YEAR! THINGS TO CONSIDER

New Tax Year

A guest post by @RetiredBroker

 

With only a few more sleeps until the start of the new tax year on the 6th April, I’m sure you are all busy arranging parties and sorting out family get-togethers. But while the emphasis will be all on the fun things like “Who will be the first to get a notice of coding” competitions, there is a serious side to the festivities. Taking a few moments to sit quietly and reflect on the true meaning of the New Tax Year season will be worthwhile, not only during this fun period, but throughout the year.

 

Here are a few things that you might want to consider.

 

Getting the annual “Notice of Coding” from the Inland Revenue is certainly one of the high spots of my year, and I’m sure I’m not alone! This brief little document tells you your tax code for the coming tax year, and from it your tax allowance, or the amount of money you are allowed to earn before having to pay income tax, is calculated. If you are employed, your employer will be told the code and it will be used to work out how much tax will be taken from your salary before leaving you with your “net” pay. It is important that this code has been applied correctly to you and is appropriate to your circumstances. If it is wrong you may pay too much tax, or even not enough! I’m sure you wouldn’t want that to happen! The government website has a whole section devoted to your Tax Code, and what to do if you think yours is wrong. As soon as you get your new code, check to see if it is right straightaway. Common reasons for it needing changing stem from quite mundane things usually, such as having more than one job. Find out more by clicking here .

 

A lot of benefits change at the beginning of a tax year, and it has often been said that navigating the benefits system is “a bit of a minefield”. There is no doubt that a lot of people miss out on money they could claim just because they are not aware of what they are entitled to. There are a number of ways of checking whether or not your circumstances entitle you to further financial help, one of which is this website.  Very straightforward to use, it takes you through a simple set of questions and then produces a set of results that will indicate whether or not you are entitled to a particular benefit. Half an hour spent on it quietly with a cuppa could prove quite valuable to you.

 

You may have read my blog about direct debits and know I think of them as a necessary evil and should be kept under constant review. The start of a new tax year is as good as time as any to go back over your bank statements and check that any direct debits are still valid and you are not continuing to pay a company for goods and services that you have long since stopped using or no longer need.  There is a Direct debit Guarantee which is intended to protect you against any problems you may encounter with them. Full details can be found here.

 

Make sure you are not paying any tax on your deposit savings if your taxable income is less than £17000., the interest is £1000 or less if you are a basic rate taxpayer or £500 if you are a higher rate taxpayer. The way interest on savings is taxed has changed considerably over the last few years resulting in most people not having to pay any tax on their savings. Again, at the risk of promoting how good the government websites are, I would suggest you take a quick look at their webpage on the Personal Savings Allowance, and make sure you understand what you are entitled to.

 

A final suggestion! Make sure all the various agencies you deal with such as the Inland Revenue and Benefits offices have up to date contact details for you. If you have moved, got a new email address or changed your phone number then it’s a lot easier for everyone if the people you want to deal with know about it.

 

I wish you a happy and prosperous New tax year!!

 

RetiredBroker

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HOW TO EARN FREE GIFT CARDS

free gift vouchers

I just love gift cards, especially when it comes to buying presents for birthdays or Christmas they are always useful, and being able to earn them throughout the year really makes gift buying so much easier on my bank balance.  So I want to tell you a few ways you can earn free gift cards which will help you save money and reduce your outgoings.

 

Swagbucks is a paid to click website which offers numerous tasks for you to do, some of these are surveys, daily polls and searching online.  It is a rewards site which means you earn points for doing the tasks, these points are called Swag Bucks.  You then redeem the points, the most popular way to redeem is either by cash in to your PayPal account or in Amazon Gift Cards.

 

Opinion Post is another survey site that rewards you with gift vouchers.  All you have to do is share your opinion and answer surveys.  How easy is that?

 

Amazon trade in is another great way to trade your unwanted items for Amazon gift cards and at the same time you declutter -a win win situation if you ask me!

 

 

These are just a few way you can start earning gift vouchers to make your gift buying just a little better on your purse/wallet.

 

If you’d like other ways to make some extra cash head over to

THINGS YOU CAN DO OR SELL TO MAKE EXTRA CASH

HOW TO EARN CASHBACK FROM SHOPPING ONLINE

MAKING EASY MONEY WITH SURVEY SITES

EARN EXTRA MONEY FROM CLICKWORKER

WANT TO MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR OLD RECEIPTS?  READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

WANT TO EARN GIFT VOUCHERS?  READ MY REVIEW OF SWAGBUCKS.  

INTERESTED IN KNOWING WHAT A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT DOES AND HOW YOU CAN MAKE MONEY?  READ MORE HERE.  

WANT TO GET PAID FOR COMPLETING SURVEYS?  READ MY POST ABOUT PROLIFIC ACADEMIC HERE.

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6 TRICKS SUPERMARKETS USE TO MAKE YOU SPEND MORE

save money knowing supermarket tricks

 

Did you know there are ways that supermarket tricks can get us to spend more?  Imagine this…

 

You get to the supermarket checkout and you begin to wonder how one earth a trip for milk and a loaf of bread turned in to a £20 purchase!  If that’s you then read on because it happens all the time and it often has nothing to do with willpower – more like soft manipulation to get you to spend.

 

Supermarkets have years of incredible marketing expertise which they take full advantage of to get you to turn a one item purchase in to a many item purchases.  Of course, these marketing ‘tricks’ have been around for years but if you are on a budget or want to cut down on your grocery shop to save up for a holiday then it’s best to arm yourself with the knowledge to recognise what is happening and avoid falling in to the trap of spending more of your hard-earned cash than you wanted.

 

Below are some of the tricks supermarkets use to convince you to spend more…

 

Floral and Fresh Baked Goods

There are two smells that always welcome you in to a supermarket, one is freshly cut flowers, the other is freshly baked goods.  The look and smell is just wonderful, in fact they may even put a smile on your face with such a sensory overload.  The reason they are there?  These goods are often the highest price margin for the supermarket, put here when you enter as the smell often activates your salivary glands which in turn is more likely to make you impulse buy!

 

Essentials are hidden

Remember that pint of milk and bread you went in for?  Well, it is often hidden near the back or end of the store.  The reason for this is that the supermarket want you to walk through the whole store just to get them –tempting you to buy other items on offer as you make your way to the item you came in for.

 

Healthy versus junk

Fresh fruit and vegetables are often at the start of your shop.  The reason for this is that if you purchase these items at the start then you won’t feel as bad when you come to the junk food, so you will feel just fine purchasing biscuits because this balances with the fruit and vegetables you bought earlier.

 

Aisles

I don’t know about you but I find myself blindly walking up and down the aisles without deviating at all.  The supermarket counts on us doing this, which is why they often change where products are located – again to make us walk round more of the store to tempt us to buy.  The higher profit items are often placed at eye level – how often have you searched for a supermarket own brand of cereal only to find it at the bottom, hidden behind a pillar?  Now you know the reason for this.

 

Another one to watch out for in the aisles is the kid’s eye level.  Yes, they strategically place products aimed at kids at their level so they will often pester parents to buy them.

 

Music

In October (not close enough to Christmas yet) it gets on my nerves the Christmas music you hear in stores but supermarkets often play music, but have you noticed how slow it is?  The idea is that slow music makes you take your time wandering round the store, viewing more products, and ultimately buying more.  Research has also shown that playing classical music can lead people to buy more expensive items.

 

Loyalty Cards

While I love loyalty cards, I know deep down that the store is probably benefiting more than I am but who can resist a discount or money off?  So, while a loyalty card will give you money off the main reason a supermarket wants you to use it is so they can track your spending habits and learn more about what you buy and when.  Have you noticed that at times the till will spout out a money off voucher for toothpaste when you’re about to run out?  Well now you know how they keep you coming back to buy toothpaste!

 

 

So, know you know why a visit to the supermarket for milk and bread can turn in to a major shop.  If you want to avoid these manipulation traps you can try some of the following:

 

  • Pay with cash – just bring along a few pounds, that way you certainly won’t overspend. Having a debit or credit card can often be tempting so leave it at home.
  • Never shop on an empty stomach. When you’re hungry you will be tempted to buy all around you from savoury to sweet – try to avoid grocery shopping when hungry.
  • Write a list. Lists are great if you stick to it.  The more you work with the list system the easier it will become to avoid the tricks of supermarkets.

 

I hope that now you are armed with the knowledge and skills you can avoid supermarkets manipulating you in order to spend more than you had ever intended.

 

Happy grocery shopping.

 

Elf x

 

WANT TO KNOW HOW TO SET UP A BLOG TO MAKE MONEY IN 3 EASY STEPS?  VIEW THE POST HERE.

INTERESTED IN KNOWING HOW TO MONETIZE YOUR BLOG?  READ MY BLOG POST HERE.

WANT STUFF FOR FREE TO REVIEW ON YOUR BLOG?  READ MY POST HERE.

WANT TO MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR OLD RECEIPTS?  READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

WANT TO EARN GIFT VOUCHERS?  READ MY REVIEW OF SWAGBUCKS.  

INTERESTED IN KNOWING WHAT A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT DOES AND HOW YOU CAN MAKE MONEY?  READ MORE HERE.  

WANT TO GET PAID FOR COMPLETING SURVEYS?  READ MY POST ABOUT PROLIFIC ACADEMIC HERE.

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5 TIPS FOR NEW BLOGGERS

Blogging Tips

 

This post, 5 Tips for New Bloggers is for you if you have decided to set up a blog and are not sure where to start, I also don’t want you to because below these tips are for any new bloggers starting out.  Starting a blog can be a scary process for any new blogger.  Have a read of my HOW TO SET UP A BLOG TO MAKE MONEY post and then read through the tips for new bloggers below.

 

While I haven’t been blogging that long at all however, on my journey I have made some great decisions, other times I have made some mistakes but above all I have learned a lot in a short space of time.  So below I have pulled together some tips which I believe as a new blogger it is important to consider.  This is by no means a definitive list but just a little guide to get you thinking.

 

TIP FOR NEW BLOGGERS 1: Be Friendly & Make Friends

Blogging can be a lonely at times, especially when you sit in front of your computer or your journal and plan your schedule.  It can also be overwhelming for new bloggers. This is more true when you are just starting out which is why it is important to consider your support networks and all social media platforms to make it easier to network with others on Facebook and Twitter.  A great way of making new friends is to reading and comment on other blogs.  The strength of blogging lies with the wonderful community that has built up over a common interest – invest part of your time in this.

 

TIP FOR NEW BLOGGERS 2: Social Media Linking

Having a blog is just awesome for new bloggers and established bloggers but you also need to link every post you write with other social media platforms to ensure your post gets out there to increase your readership.  So, at the end of each blog post ensure you have activated your social media icons so people can share your article but also make sure you promote it too – have a read of my blog post on promoting our blog posts on social media here – it will pay dividends.

 

TIP FOR NEW BLOGGERS 3: Build up your Subscribers

I will be writing a longer post on this over the next few weeks but in the meantime a great tip is to make it easy for your readers to subscribe when a post goes live, there is nothing worse than having to click through many pages to figure out how to subscribe!  Make it easy for your readers – you want them to come back time and time again.

 

TIP FOR NEW BLOGGERS 4: Reply to Comments

When people take time to read your post it is great, when people take time to read your post and comment – that is truly awesome!  Ensure you reply to comments in a timely fashion, it is a great way to make friends, gain new readers and interact with your audience.

 

TIP FOR NEW BLOGGERS 5: Be Yourself

You may think this is a strange thing to say but it is true.  Being yourself means you are offering your readers something unique – your insight in to what you are blogging about.  It also ensures your blog posts have some personality to them, they are being written by a real person!  Above all, be yourself and have fun!

 

WANT TO KNOW HOW TO SET UP A BLOG TO MAKE MONEY IN 3 EASY STEPS?  VIEW THE POST HERE.

INTERESTED IN KNOWING HOW TO MONETIZE YOUR BLOG?  READ MY BLOG POST HERE.

WANT STUFF FOR FREE TO REVIEW ON YOUR BLOG?  READ MY POST HERE.

WANT TO MAKE MONEY WITH YOUR OLD RECEIPTS?  READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

WANT TO EARN GIFT VOUCHERS?  READ MY REVIEW OF SWAGBUCKS.  

INTERESTED IN KNOWING WHAT A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT DOES AND HOW YOU CAN MAKE MONEY?  READ MORE HERE.  

WANT TO GET PAID FOR COMPLETING SURVEYS?  READ MY POST ABOUT PROLIFIC ACADEMIC HERE.

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