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A SIMPLE GUIDE TO FINANCIAL FORECASTING

financial forecasting

Financial forecasting is one of the most important things you can do to manage your future successfully. It’s all about understanding where you need to focus, what you need money for, and understanding your motivations for life. It might not be one of the most thrilling endeavours that you set out on, but it’s far and away one of the most important.

 

It’s a shame, then, that it’s so often ignored. Learning how to financially forecast is not a matter of tuning into your psychic gifts, but just about learning how to structure your life to ensure you get the most from it. Keep in mind these essentials, and you won’t go far wrong.

 

1) Understand Your Financial Weaknesses

 

We all have areas where we are financially weak. Maybe you have a shopping habit, or you spend a little too much on eating out in restaurants. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these things; you just need to know where you might need to provide a little extra in the budget.

 

2) Set Goals On A Yearly Basis

 

One of the major mistakes that people make with their financial planning is viewing it on a macro level. In reality, finances are actually best studied on an overall level, moving towards an eventual goal. That’s why it can be helpful to set yourself yearly goals, such as having X amount in savings by the end of the year, rather than always moving month-to-month as conventional budgeting encourages you to do. This kind of forecasting is about predicting what you will be able to do with your finances over the coming 12 months, ensuring that you’re always moving in the right direction.

 

3) Keep An Eye On Retirement

 

It’s a simple fact of financial management; the sooner you start retirement planning, the better. While it might seem a very long way off, retirement should be a time where you can kick back and enjoy life. To plan for such a delightful future, your retirement is always going to need to be in the back of your mind whenever you make a financial decision or commitment. If you leave retirement out of your financial forecast, then the years might catch up to you sooner than you think.

 

4) Give Yourself Leeway To Be Frivolous

 

Sticking to a budget is a good idea, but don’t forget that life should be enjoyed. Every once in awhile, if your finances are looking good, then allow yourself to treat yourself to whatever you fancy. You’ll find these occasional indulgences actually make it easier for you to stick with a solid financial plan for the rest of the time, which means your financial forecast and future will continue to look bright.

 

While it’s all well and good to keep control of your finances, save money where you can, and think about tomorrow — it’s important not to forget about today as well.

 

You should now be well on your way to mapping out a financial forecast that you’re going to love — enjoy it!

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6 MONEY SAVING WEDDING HACKS

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This may not exactly be news to you, but getting married these days is an expensive endeavour. If you’re getting ready to tie the knot then you’re likely already aware of the infallible money-making technique that most businesses apply to weddings (which is to say, adding the prefix ‘wedding’ enables them to charge what they like). Between venue hire, catering, entertainments, photographers, flowers, cake, grooming the groom and of course your wedding dress, the average price for a British wedding is £30,111. That’s not even the cost of a particularly extravagant wedding with elephants, fire jugglers and a cutting-edge conceptually driven menu by Heston Blumenthal. Nope, that’s the price tag of a standard-issue British wedding.

 

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If you join us in thinking this price-tag unfairly extortionate, then don’t despair! We’ve compiled some thrifty wedding hacks that will allow you to save a substantial amount of money without compromising on quality. Through a combination of smart shopping and making judicious choices, you can offset some of that massive cost.

 

Before we break these money saving hacks down, it’s important to remember an oft-overlooked fact. Your wedding is the opportunity for you and your partner to declare your love in front of your friends and family. That’s what matters. That’s all that matters. Everything else is just window dressing. That said, of course nice things are nice and you want to surround yourself with as many nice things as possible on your big day. The truth, though, is that we as a society falsely equate cost with quality. This post is about saving on cost, not having a wedding that looks and feels cheap and compromised.

 

Anyway, on with the savings…

 

Decide on a budget and stick to it

 

Sounds blatantly obvious? Sure, but it’s astonishing how few couples heed this incredibly simple advice. Between you and your partner (and any generous contributions from family) you should decide on a realistic budget and plan everything around it.

 

If you can, put your wedding savings in a high interest account so that your wedding savings can make you a little extra money in the lead-up to the big day.

 

Guard against mishaps

 

Whenever you get a group of adult humans together, there are bound to be risks of mishap. When you add a multitude of disparate businesses (caterers, photographers, venue staff etc.), children and alcohol then the list of potential mishaps grows exponentially. And that’s assuming that nothing goes wrong prior to the big day i.e. nobody drops the cake, the dress doesn’t get dropped in a puddle and the groom doesn’t spend the night handcuffed naked to a lamp post. For your peace of mind (as well as potentially saving yourself a fortune) we strongly recommend checking out https://wedinsure.co.uk to select a wedding insurance policy that’s right for you. Sure, it’s an extra expenditure, but one that could potentially save your wedding day.

 

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Consider going ‘off the peg’ for your dress

 

There’s no such thing as an ugly wedding dress. While many women go all out on a bespoke, designer number there are a great many equally beautiful dresses ‘off the peg’ at a fraction of the price.  

 

Think twice about your dates

 

Everyone wants to get married on a summers’ weekend and the wedding industry is only too happy to inflate its prices accordingly. Considering a glorious winter wedding (or even just not getting married on a Saturday) can save you an absolute fortune. Don’t worry about the availability of your guests. They love you, so they’ll be there whatever date you choose! Which brings us to…

 

Pare down the guest list

 

Narrowing down your guest list to the people you really want to be their and not who you feel obligated to invite, is one of the surest ways to save money on your wedding day. If there’s anyone you’re at-all unsure about then you can always invite them to the evening party and not the wedding itself proper. If you’re open and honest, you’ll see how amenable potential guests are to saving you money.

 

Guard against hidden costs

 

When negotiating with venues, caterers and the like, be sure to confirm that all costs quoted are comprehensive and inclusive. Some underhanded businesses may pull out VAT or corkage as additional costs when the final bill comes, which can have a serious impact on your budget.

 

Your big day doesn’t need to come with a big price tag. By negotiating where you can and resorting to some less conventional options you can have a magical wedding without beginning married life in unimaginable debt.

 

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HOW TO SET UP YOUR FAMILY’S FINANCIAL SECURITY

Anyone with a family knows that the future is uncertain. That doesn’t stop all of us working hard to try and make it a little more secure, especially for the kids. You might already be saving hard for the simple things, like a holiday, or a special event. If your kids are proving to be quite academic, you might even be putting cash away for university in the future. Is there any more you could do today that won’t break the bank?

 

If you don’t have a mortgage, chances are you haven’t spent much time thinking about things like life insurance. These policies are designed to cover the cost of the outstanding loan on your house should something happen to you. Sometimes they cover serious injury or illness too. Usually, you have to request extra cover if you want it to cover any additional health costs or your funeral.

 

 

So how can your family cope if something happens to you that means your income is no longer there? Well, a funeral is perhaps the biggest expense they will face straight away. You can avoid them having to deal with that bill at such a bad time by looking into pre-paid funeral plans. You might also choose an insurance policy that promises a prompt payout should it become necessary in the future.

 

Putting a little cash aside each month now can be an affordable approach to ensuring your family can manage if something goes wrong. Of course, these scenarios are, thankfully, unlikely to happen. Instead, you might be keen to find ways to make sure your kids have access to funds for things like their education. What about their first home, and their future wedding? Where should you put your cash for those things?

 

Trust funds are a popular option. This is because the money cannot be touched until certain clauses are met. This might be something like reaching a milestone birthday or graduating with a degree. You are in complete control of this side of things, and it means the money is safe. High-interest options are also high risk, but it does mean your money has a chance to grow while it is waiting to be used.

 

family finances

 

Do you need a Will? It’s considered to be a good idea if you have a family. It means that all your assets are listed and made available. A solicitor will usually take care of everything when the time comes and find the people listed on the Will. Generally speaking, your next of kin inherits everything. A Will gives you the chance to specify who gets what as well as identifying where your money is!

 

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What about a pension? Some private and some company pensions do offer a payout or continued income for your partner and dependents if you’re not around. However, these are the exception, not the rule, so check what benefits are included in your pension plan. You can always set one up that is more suitable to your requirements. Take a look at your household budget. Can you be sure that these bills can be met if you weren’t around?

 

 

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HOW TO CREATE A BRIGHTER FINANCIAL FUTURE IN SIX EASY GOALS

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There is never a bad time to set ourselves financial goals. Some of us are good at managing our money, and some of us struggle. Whatever the case, we should always plan for the future. We never know when disaster might strike, and we might want to plan for our children, as well as ourselves.

These are the financial goals we think you should set to give yourself a brighter financial future.

 

financial goals



Record your expenses



Whether you use a mobile app to help you keep your finances on track, or use the simple paper and pen method, ensure you know how much you are spending. Make a note of everything, from single purchases at the local store to the cost of your monthly bills. This is one habit you need to keep on top of, as knowing where your money is going is your best bet in knowing where to save and cut back.


Reduce your debt



It may take you years to clear your debts, but set yourself some attainable goals. How much can you reasonably afford to pay each month? Set yourself a target and stick to it. Should you have multiple debts, the good idea is to amalgamate them into one monthly payment. So, as crazy as it sounds, take out another bank loan or credit card, but find one that offers low or zero interest. This way, you will get out of debt sooner.



Set up an emergency fund



Search for the best savings interest rates, and set up a savings account. Only put into your savings what you can afford each month, but something is better than nothing. Having the extra money to hand when you need it in an emergency will reduce some of your stress. Again, knowing how much you spend helps. Stick to your budget, and if you have any money left over at the end of the month, put it in the emergency fund.

 


Save on household bills



There are many bills we pay each month, but we can cut down on the expense. For starters, use a price comparison service to find a better deal. Then make it a habit to cut down on the energy you use. From remembering to switch lights off when you leave a room, to reducing the number of baths you take a week, make it an effort within your family to set yourself this energy saving goal.


Remember your pension



There is some great advice here for saving for a pension, and no matter how old you are, there is no bad time to start. We will all get old, eventually! Your company may already pay money into a pension fund, but if you have the means, you should also top it up on a regular basis.

 


Stop wasting money



Finally, make a concerted effort to stop wasting money. You may have a bad habit, such as smoking or drinking, or you may go crazy at the supermarket on things you don’t need. Try and cut back on addictions (and that includes shopping) and only buy what you need. There is no harm in treats occasionally, but you need to spend within your means.

 

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THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE FINANCIAL WORM!

In the modern world, there is a lot of emphasis on the importance of finance. Of course, this makes sense. Without money, life can be very hard. And, the only way to ensure that you will have money into your later life is by starting with your finances early.

 

When you’re young, though, it can be very hard to focus on this area of life, however important it is. With your career and independent life just starting, you already have loads on your mind. But, in reality, this is, even more, reason to start working on this now. To help you out, this post will be going through some of the reasons you should start early. And, some of the ways you can put your money away.

 

savings and investments

 

SAVINGS AND INVESTMENTS

For most, the aim of saving and investment is to try and make more money out of what you have. Most of the methods you’ll use to do this are based on interest, though. So, you know exactly what you can expect to make, long before you ever make it. Unfortunately, the nature of interest-based saving and investment means that the longer you have it in place, the more you will make.

 

Failing to save when you’re young will limit the amount of interest you can gain. With some services, like life insurance, you’ll find that the price only goes up as you get older, too. And, this will make it harder for you to save. Starting on something like this early will make it easier for you to make more money, along with helping you to learn everything while you’re still young.

 

LIFE INSURANCE

Life insurance is one of the best investments a young person can make. Of course, you will never see this money again. Instead, it will be given to your loved ones when you pass away. But, this doesn’t make it any less important. In most cases, your insurance company will expect you to put forward a certain percentage of the policy, and they’ll cover the rest. So, regardless of your age, you will always have to contribute the same amount. A website like http://www.insurancehero.org.uk/types/500-000-life-insurance.html can help you to understand this better. But, basically, the longer you leave it, the more expensive this sort of service will become.

 

 

PREMIUM BONDS

Of course, you probably won’t want all of your savings and investments to be slipping past you and into someone else’s pocket. And, this is where bonds and ISAs come in. In a lot of cases, these sorts of accounts are tax-free. This means that you will be given 100% of what is made from your money, without the government taking their own slice. Along with this, bonds, like the ones found on https://www.nsandi.com/premium-bonds, are usually covered by your local government. This makes it impossible to lose money on them, at the cost of a lower return. Because the return on this sort of investment is very low, it’s good to start early to make the most of it.

 

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start getting on top of your finances as early as possible. The skills required to go far in this sort of area will take a long time for you to learn. But, with the right effort, you’ll be able to start nice and early.

 

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3 THINGS THAT MAKE YOU A GREAT LANDLORD

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If you fancy a change of career or want to start a new hustle on the side to make some extra cash, getting into property can be a great route to go down. Despite the housing marketing certainly not being what it was thirty years ago, buying now rather than later can certainly hold you in good stead for the future.

 

House prices are rising all the time, so on paper, even if you bought a house and only made some minor upgrades, it is reasonably likely that you could still sell it for profit some years down the line. But not everyone buys property with the intention of selling it.

 

The concept of buy-to-let properties is a popular one, particularly since many younger people, in particular, are having to rent rather than buy. Landlords can make a decent living from renting out their properties, and provided that you get on with your tenants, it can be quite rewarding too. However, there are a few things you need to know before you jump headfirst into landlord life, so you can do the very best job you can.

landlord

 

Secure a good standard of property



Sadly, the country is not famed for having a good selection of rental properties. The rental market has been blighted by a host of sub-par properties and rogue landlords, who prey on the desperate need for housing that so many people have. This doesn’t mean to say that you can’t buy investment properties such as older houses, or a so-called ’empty shell,’ and rent them out. But, you need to be prepared to make the home livable first. Make sure the property is cleared of any damp, that the electrical and heating systems are all in order, and that you have secured flooring and appliances. Failure to do so could mean that you are breaking the law, and you could end up garnering a bad reputation as a landlord.

 



Keep copies of EVERYTHING



Even if your property involvement is purely a side hustle, it’s still important that you treat it like a business. This means doing everything by the book and keeping copies of every document that relates to the house you are renting out. Gas certificates, rental agreements, deposit information and utility forms all need to be on your records in case you ever come into a dispute with your tenants. It can also be worth having physical copies AND electronic versions of everything so that you know you have the back-up if you need it.

 

Be available


You are the only point of contact your tenants have regarding anything to do with their house (unless you have rented your property via an estate agent). So, with that in mind, you need to be prepared to be in semi-regular contact with them and be willing to be around if an emergency occurs. Share contact details with your tenants and always try and get back to them within 24 hours if they have a query – sooner if there is something seriously wrong. Landlords do sometimes have a bad reputation, but by following some of these rules, you can have a harmonious relationship with your rental properties and your tenants.


 

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BRINGING MORE MONEY IN TO THE FAMILY HOME

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Ask any modern family, and they will tell you that money is one of the most frequently revisiting problems they experience. For many of us, money can prove to be a real nuisance, and this is going to remain the case as long as you are not aware of how to improve it. As it happens, there are countless ways that pretty much any family can hope to bring in more money or to save what they already have. Knowing this, and doing everything you can to make the most of the situation, can mean that you live a much happier and healthier life with your family.

 

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Plan Meals

 

One of the most basic ways to save a surprising amount of money is to plan your meals well in advance. When you do this, you will find that it is much easier to save money on your weekly grocery shopping. And for most families, this does tend to be one of the major expenses, so reducing this is likely to make a considerable difference to your life overall. Planning meals is a lot simpler than you might think. Make sure that you vary your meals accordingly, and that you remember to actually plan for all meals (in other words, don’t forget breakfast and lunch!) Do this right, and your finances will thank you.

 

Live Greener

 

We have all heard plenty about living as green as possible. No matter who you are, you should agree that living a green life will help you to save a considerable amount of money. Not only that, but you will be helping the environment as well, so everybody really does win here. If you want to be a bit more green, there are plenty of things you can do, from the minor to the major. On a larger scale, you might want to visit the Nicholls website and see if ground source heat pumps are suitable for your home. This is a kind of heating which can save you a lot of money, and is more environmentally friendly as well. On a smaller, everyday scale, you could simply endeavor to use less water or to ensure your home is insulated properly. All the little changes you can make will add up to make a huge difference.

 

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Online Earning

 

If you actually feel in need of bringing in more money to your home, then you might be pleased to know that you can do that pretty easily these days. Thanks in large part to the Internet, you can now make extra money online incredibly quickly and easily. No matter what kind of time you might have to spare, no matter how little, you will be able to make some extra money if you know where to look. You have a lot of options here, but just make sure that you go for something that actually interests you above all. You don’t want to spend your time doing something soulless, but you can easily make a lot of money if you are happy, say, carrying out online surveys or installing a google add-on which pays you for clicks.

 

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ARE YOU A FINANCIAL CONTROL FREAK?

Do people call you a control freak? Are you more comfortable when you are in control of everything? Well, I’m here to tell you that rather than being a derogatory comment, you should see it as a compliment. What’s wrong with being in control and being in charge, especially when it come to your finances? I say; nothing! In fact, folks that haven’t got a good handle on their financial situations can learn a lot from you and the following advice.

 

Budgets

Being in control of your budget is surely a good thing right? Whether it’s a personal budget or one for the whole family? It means that you only buy what is needed, don’t go into debt, and have a much more stable financial situation. Allowing you to put money away for other things like buying property or going on holiday.

 

But what is the best way of being in control of your budget? Well, using mobile on the online app can really help. As they can show you what you have spent in a visual way. Which makes it a lot easier to see if you have overspent in any particular area, and manage this better the next month.

 

Savings

 

Being in control of your saving is a great thing. Why? Well, why would you not be in control of your own money that you have worked hard to scrimp and save for? In fact, for some folks just having some savings is an achievement, so they are not just living paycheck to paycheck.

 

However, for the true financial control freak, they will; not only want to see what savings they are making every month. But they will also want a hand in choosing the best account with the most benefits and the highest interest. So they can ensure that their money is working hard for them and their future.
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Pensions

 

Now, a lot of folks don’t worry too much about their pensions because they like their retirement is so far off in the future it seem irrelevant. But you won’t find the financial control freak making this mistake. Oh no! For them having their pension sorted is one of the most important things, because it ensures that they are in control of not just their current situation but also their future as well.

 

Of course, the pension can be complicated things. They can end up scattered if you have worked for a few different employers. Or they can be unusable if you are using a fund where you have no control over how your money is invested. Which many folks in the ‘90s pension scandal learned the hard way.

 

That is why it can be especially useful for the financial control freak to use a SIPP or a Self-Invested Personal Pension. As this allow them to have ultimate control over where their money is invested.

 

Investments

 

Lastly, a true control freak of the financial variety will not only have the budgeting, saving and pension sorted but they will also be making medium to long term investment to increase their overall wealth.

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This Investment may take the form of a business venture, buying property or even investing in the stock market. But of course whatever they choose to put their money into they will definitely want to be as in control of it as possible.

 

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COMPOUND INTEREST

Compound interest

Guest Post by Retired Broker.  Follow him here and read George’s Blog here.

 

Cash savings are dire; there are no two ways about it. Once inflation is taken into account, the buying power of almost all the accounts currently available will be less than when you started. So is there any point in using them? Well, probably!

 

The fact of the matter is that a home for spare cash, no matter how modest, will always be required. So how do you make the best of this not so great situation?

 

There are a couple of ways to approach it which require a little effort and some patience. The first thing to grasp is the magical powers of “Compound Interest”.  Compound Interest is where your savings accrue interest, and then that interest will also accrue interest and over time the rate of growth gets faster.

 

It’s a slow process, but worthwhile, especially if you have long term goals. A little while ago I posted a blog about how much is spent over a year by buying a take away coffee every day for work, here’s the link  http://theretiredbroker.com/coffee-mugs.

 

You might need something stronger when you read it! For the purpose of a compound interest illustration, let’s assume that you are going to give up one coffee a week and put that money away in a regular savings account.

 

That’s £2.55 a week or £11 a month (yes I know it works out at £11.05, but I’ve rounded it down ok?) A quick look at some comparison sites will see that a few regular savings accounts will pay 2% or more, so for the purpose of this exercise we’ll use 2%.

 

The table below shows how much £11 a month will grow at 2% over different numbers of years.

 

 

1 yr £133.22
3 yrs £407.77
5yrs £693.52
10yrs £1459.92
15yrs £2306.84
20yrs £3242.77

 

While fully understanding that interest rates will change and that inflation will erode the actual buying power of the money, the point here is that it is money that you would otherwise not set aside. Even a modest amount such as £11 a month may be really useful in all those years time.

 

If you look at the 20 year period, the actual amount paid in amounts to £2640, so that is an actual growth of £600. Could be ideal if you have a young family and want to set something away for university, car or travel.

 

The other advantage of regular savings is that you can adjust what you save as time goes on or add any spare windfall you may get. This brings me to the second advantage, which does require a tiny bit of effort. A lot of these regular savings accounts offer a rate of interest for a set period only, usually a year.

 

After this the rate will either tumble or collapse. If you don’t stay on top of it, your savings will stagnate. So you need to remember that Cash Rates Are Portable. That’s right remember interest rates are C.R.A.P. So you need to treat them like your annual home or car insurance and review them every year.

 

Once you have come to the end of a good interest rate, shop around’ find another good rate and transfer your savings over to the new account and continue with the monthly saving, you may just be glad you did!

 

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