Britons Buck the Trend and Give Debt the Finger

UK national debt is currently estimated at £1.83 trillion – well beneath the US debt of over $19 trillion. UK debt was less than £0.5 trillion in 2005, but by 2011 it rapidly exceeded £1 trillion. National debt versus GDP in the UK was hovering at 38% in 2005, but by 2016 it hit 80% of GDP. Fortunately, Britons have curbed their expenditures and this trend is flattening out. In the run-up to the UK general elections, Britons reduced their borrowing further, and there were also declines in mortgage approvals.

Consumer credit weakened to its lowest level in 1.5 years in May 2017, as credit card spending was curtailed, hitting retail sales hard. According to the BBA (British Bankers Association), the growth in consumer credit was 5.1% during May, down 1.3% from April 2017. The decline in credit borrowing is part of growing uncertainty in the United Kingdom. Concerns about Brexit negotiations are mounting, after the third round of talks ended in a stalemate recently. Weakness in consumer expenditure has slowed GDP growth in the UK to just 0.3%. Declines in approved mortgages have also been reported, and the month of April had the dubious honour of the lowest mortgage approval rate since September 2016.

Fed and BOE Eschew Rate Hikes for Now

A slowdown in consumer spending is coupled with decreased business investment levels in the UK. Brexit-related concerns remain the #1 reason for the slowdown. Many international companies are heading for other European cities, with concerns mounting about London’s viability as the centre of European commerce and business activity. UK banks and financial institutions are at risk of losing their passporting rights to other cities across Europe, and this is causing mounting uncertainty in the UK.

Reports about the current state of the UK economy vary from stagnant to modest growth. The GBP continues to gain ground against the beleaguered USD, given that US economic data has failed to impress Fed FOMC members. The current probability of a rate hike in the US has dropped to just 2% for the November 1, 2017 meeting of the Fed FOMC. The projection of interest rates remaining at their current level of 1.00% – 1.25%, is now 96.7%. If we extrapolate to December 2017, the Fed will be convening for the last time on Wednesday, December 13, and there is a 36.2% likelihood of a 25-basis point rate hike. This is the highest probability for the remaining Fed meetings in 2017.

Falling Real Wages and Fewer Big Ticket Purchases

The impact of Bank of England or Fed rate hikes on monetary policy has a direct effect on consumer credit. The bank rate in the UK and the federal funds rate in the US serve as barometers of lending rates for credit card companies like Visa, American Express, Discover, MasterCard and others. The higher the federal funds rate, the higher the APR (annual percentage rate) of the credit cards. In the UK, the BOE is targeting an inflation rate of 2% before it pulls the trigger on higher interest rates. In the US, the Fed is looking for signs that the US economy is improving, by way of rising inflation, falling unemployment and strong fundamentals.

If the BOE or the Fed decides to raise interest rates, they risk adding additional pressure to borrowers who are currently indebted on their credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, and mortgages. This is especially true of variable rate mortgages, and credit cards. The housing market is directly influenced by the prevailing interest rate. The higher the federal funds rate or the bank rate, the higher the fixed interest-rate or the adjustable interest rate will go. For now, Britons are holding back on big-ticket purchases, and are concerned more about job stability and staying afloat than indebting themselves with falling real wages and rising prices.

Should Start Ups Use Interim Management?

Interim Managers are increasingly a well-known and accepted part of doing businesses. An established focuses on continuity – it hires for the skills it needs to keep running, and to grow in a slow and sustainable way. If it runs into a problem outside this context it may not have the institutional knowledge to face that problem successful. In cases like this Interim Managers make sense as a way to parachute that knowledge into the business, and help it pivot to face the crisis successfully, and even find opportunity in it to grow.

It’s less clear if start-up businesses can benefit from Interim skills in the same way. Start-ups are by nature more agile, more efficient, and less set in their ways than large and medium sized companies. That said, their small size means they have less collective experience, and are more likely to lack a broad base of general knowledge outside the specialist area they operate in. An IT start-up, for example, is well equipped to thrive in the face of an IT problem: they have the skills to develop new products to appeal to a new market or adapt existing ones to meet new requirements, but a change in business law that affects payroll or working hours could leave them confused. Start-ups are also less robust, lacking the funds and momentum of a big business that’s been running for ten years or more.

As Interim Managers work to set goals over short time periods, they make them ideal for a start-up that has a problem outside their capacity bearing down. They also tend to be older than the average age of the staff in a start-up company, so have valuable experience they can impart while they work with one. One of the most important things about working with an Interim Manager is that they can educate your team, leaving them with knowledge that will continue to add value to your company long after they have moved on.

As long as you have a set goal in mind, for example, securing a second round of funding or turning around a failing project, calling in an Interim Manager is a sensible measure. In the example of the IT company above, if they are trying to develop a new product that is running over budget and beyond its deadline, an Interim Manager will not only help to deliver the result without further delays but also leave processes behind them that should stop the same thing happening again.

Buying Home Insurance

When buying a new home, there are so many decision to make and processes to go through. One of the main concerns when buying a new home is the amount of money being spent on the investment. Your family is spending so much, you want to do everything possible to save every penny you can. It can be stressful. Below are some helpful hints to help you save money during your home buying endeavor.

Realtor Fees

One thing people should know is that Realtor fees are often negotiable. Now when you are purchasing a home it is typically the seller who has to pay the realtor fees, but most likely you are selling a house to buy a home (not everyone is a first time home buyer). It is important to realize this because it could save you some cash.

You can also sell your house on your own. You can do this by doing a for sale by owner or by using services like Make Me Move by Zillow. This allows you to eliminate your realtor fees all together.

Home Insurance

A key element to buying a new home is finding homeowners insurance. This is an integral part to the home buying process. What you need to know to save money on your firs home insurance policy is that it is ok to ask questions and shop around. Know what you are looking to insure to make sure you have the proper coverage that your home and family need. Is there something specific that you need covered? Make sure to ask! There are also different factors that determine your cost of your insurance so it is important to go through each thing with your broker. A particular location of your home or materials/set up of your home can easily affect your plan.

Know the Market

You can save money when buying a home just by being educated on the market you are looking in. This will allow you to know if you are overpaying or underpaying on your investment. If you know your area well, as well as the schools and neighborhood factors you will make sure you are getting the best deal possible and won’t be taken advantage of.

Inspections

A lot of home buyers are frustrated by paying money for inspections and other testing on a home before going through the deal. This is very true but it is also important to know what you are getting into before making the big investment. Since you need to get inspections it is important to choose which houses to put offers on. You can also save money by asking to see the Sellers Disclosure that may disclose information on the home.

 

Hopefully these hints will help you make some good decisions while buying your home.

 

Everything Consumers Should Know About Debt Consolidation

Believe it or not, falling into a debt trap is easier than you could ever imagine. There is a possibility that you’ll become injured at work. Then, you’ll be unable to generate an income. Alternatively, there is a chance that your business venture will fall flat. Thousands of people get into debt each and every day in the United States, so nobody is invulnerable. Debt consolidation is a great way for those in debt to get a head start in paying off that debt. Below, you will learn all about consolidation and its perks.

Understanding Debt Consolidation

So, what is debt consolidation? Well, it is actually taking out a loan and getting yourself into further debt. Of course, there is a catch. Through debt consolidation, the loan is utilized to pay off all of your debts. If you were initially in debt with three or four companies, the debt would be consolidated into a single debt. Then, you would be required to pay back the lender for the consolidation loan and nothing else. Ultimately, debt consolidation is eliminating multiple debts and transforming it into a single debt. This might not seem like a big deal initially, but it offers a wealth of benefits.

Secured And Unsecured Loans

Remember that debt consolidation can be done with a secured or unsecured loan. A secured loan is safer for the lender, since you’ll be required to put certain property up as collateral. This could be your automobile or your home. Unsecured loans are based on your credit profile (credit score, income, debt to income ratio, etc). While the unsecured loan might seem like a better idea, it is important to remember that this type of loan usually comes with a higher interest rate for most people. However, personal loans can still be beneficial since the interest is amortized over time.

Lower Interest Rates

So, what are the major perks of debt consolidation? Well, the benefits depend solely on the type of loan in question. If you’ve taken out a secured loan, there is a good chance that your interest rates will be lowered significantly. As mentioned above, unsecured loans can still help you get out of debt faster. These type of loans to consolidate credit card debt, can even help you improve your score by up to 40 points (according to Payoff). Plus, you’ll lower the interest rate by a considerable amount and that will help tremendously. The interest causes your debt to accumulate over a period of time.

With a lower interest rate, your debt will remain lower so you can get it paid off quicker. In some cases, the interest may be tax deductible!

No Risks

If you opt for the unsecured loan, you’ll be able to get the money you need without any risks to your property. As mentioned above, there is no need to put up any property as collateral with an unsecured loan. Even if you default, you will not have to worry about losing your vehicle or home. Just remember that unsecured loans come with higher interest rates. Therefore, if it often better to go ahead and put your property up as collateral to avoid excessively high interest rates.

Nevertheless, both forms of debt consolidation are very helpful. 

Make A Single Payment

Often time’s people end up in debt, because they can’t keep track of all the bills they have and when exactly each is due. This leads to a lot late charges and additional fees that would not normally apply. However, when you get your debt is consolidated, this is something that you do not have to worry about, because everything will be complied right into one easy payment. This makes it incredibly easy to keep track of everything. If you’re a forgetful individual, you will most definitely benefit from debt consolidation. This procedure will make your bills much easier to keep up with, so you can guarantee each is paid on time each month!

The Best Budget Travel Options: Where to Go in 2017

Summer is almost over, but it’s still not too late to plan an adventure before the season is over. Even if your financial situation is not looking up, there are still a lot of affordable destinations you can visit. Some of them are well-known backpacker havens, other are destinations we might have imagined as quite expensive, while in reality, you can visit them on a budget. You need to look no further than this article for 5 wonderful destinations you can visit on a budget.

Mexico

Mexico is one of the most popular and unrivaled travel destinations. The reasons extend beyond the affordable exchange rate and cheap travel options. What makes Mexico so unique is that it is a perfect mix of traditional and modern. It is one of the few rare places where you can enjoy the signs of ancient ruins by day and visit popular, modern clubs at night.

If you’re looking to travel to Mexico on a budget, there are a lot of affordable lodging options, from hotels to hostels and cozy, traditional apartments. Even if you avoid expensive tourist destinations, you can enjoy the vast natural wonders and rich Mexican culture.

Since $1 is currently 17.81 Mexican pesos, Mexico is also one of the most affordable destinations. If you plan on traveling by car you will be able to visit even more natural and cultural landmarks, as well as majestic beaches like the ones listed in this guide: https://mexicaninsurance.com/Blog/mexican-auto-insurance-guide-to-the-most-fabulous-beaches-in-mexico

Fiji

When you first think about Pacific Islands and Fiji in particular, you might think that you’ll never be able to afford such a trip. But that’s where you are wrong. Fiji is actually one of the cheaper Pacific Islands and a great destination to visit. Naturally, there are many overly expensive resorts but you can also find affordable lodging options.

Fiji offers wonderful beaches, amazing diving adventures, and savory seafood. The locals are friendly and willing to help out the tourists without ripping them off. Fiji is a popular destination among backpackers and offers great transportation options and fun activities. So if you’re considering a late vacation, don’t write Fiji off as something you cannot afford. In fact, Fiji is definitely one of the best budget destinations.

Thailand

There is a reason people from all over the world choose Thailand for their perfect budget holiday. The region is full or magnificent getaway islands, boasts a rich culture and unique cuisine. A trip to Thailand is an adventure on its own. And the best part is that you can travel there on a budget. \

You can easily live on $30 per day, as Thailand has an abundance of cheap guesthouses, traditional food stalls, buses that can take you anywhere you want to go. But apart from that, Thailand has a lot of attractions to make your visit worthwhile and memorable.

Greece

If you are looking for an affordable and amazing destination in Europe, look no further than Greece. There is a reason Greece is among the most popular destinations not just for Europeans, but for travelers all around the globe.

Since the country has been facing a severe financial crisis for years, the prices are extremely affordable and planning your trip there means you’re helping the local economy and the generous locals. Both sides win. The affordable lodging and traveling options mean that you can even visit more than one island in one trip. And believe us, there are plenty of amazing islands to visit.

South Africa

The current exchange rate in South Africa makes it a perfect budget destination. Add to that the fact that South Africa is a developed tourist destination with good infrastructure. You can travel around via Uber and get a room in affordable hotels or Airbnb rentals. You can drink some of the finest wines South Africa has to offer for less than what you would pay for a can of Coke.

The best part of it is that since seasons are opposite, going there during the summer means you’d be going in low season, which in turn means you can catch an even better bargain. You can find a lot of great and affordable safari lodges and enjoy this amazing activity cheap. That’s a story you’ll be telling for years to come!

Bonus: Egypt

You might expect that a visit to a country so rich in tradition such as Egypt is ridiculously expensive, but actually, Egypt is one of the cheapest destinations. The price may be higher if you plan on visiting all the major landmarks and iconic locations Egypt offers, including the Pyramids and Valley of the Kings. But what you spend on traveling around you will save on affordable yet delicious local food and great budget accommodation.

However, it’s worth noting that due to the escalating number of conflicts and terrorist attacks in the region, Egypt might not be the safest destination. The best way to determine whether it’s safe to visit Egypt is to check the local tourist advice before you plan the itinerary. And while you might not be able to visit Egypt in 2017 due to the US Passports & International Travel warning still being in effect, it might be worth making a mental note to visit this wonderful country once the situation there has settled.

How To Become The Friend Who’s Good With Money

Back in college, when they took their dates out for candle-lit dinners, your diet consisted exclusively of Ramen. After graduation, they lived in a bright and airy loft, while you lived with several roommates and you could still only afford a tiny basement apartment. Now, they have a have a huge house, nice car, and a growing family thanks to landing their dream job. You, on the other hand, are still working on all of that.

We all have that one friend who, no matter what, manages to get what they want. Since day one they’ve been good with their money, avoiding all of the typical financial pitfalls of their generation. They manage to spend, save, and invest the right way at exactly the right time to land them their every desire. Between stories of their excellent vacation and promotion at work, it’s easy to feel jealous when you catch up over drinks and apps.

By contrast, your financial situation is what most people would want to avoid. Strapped for cash and facing multiple bills, you struggle to pay for the basic necessities. All those extras your friend enjoys aren’t on the table for you at this time. And if your spending habits continue unchanged, they won’t be for a long time.

If you expect to get the same rewards as your friend, you’re going to have to start thinking like your friend. It’s easy to claim luck, inheritances, or even magic as the reason why they’re so good with money, but in reality it’s often a hard earned skill that lets them book that vacation or lease that car. That means it’s something you can learn, too. Start by incorporating these healthy money habits in your life and you’ll be on your way to become the friend who’s good with money.

  1. Review your budget often

If you don’t have a budget yet, it’s finally time to make one. Download an app like Mint or use the budget guide offered by Consumer.gov. Once you’re done don’t just set it aside and forget it. Making a budget only to ignore it is as bad as living without a budget to guide your spending. Make sure you set aside time each week to go over your accounts and track your spending to ensure you’re on the right track. Once you get the hang of things, it shouldn’t take up much of your time.

  1. Start thinking about how you spend your money

Once your budget outlines how you spend every dollar, it will highlight bad spending habits that put your financial goals at risk. For most Americans, overspending’s biggest culprit is the impulse buy. You walk by a Starbucks and think nothing of grabbing a $5 latte. The online shop suggests a half-priced sunglasses case with your new shades and you accept. You pick up a bag of gummi worms on display in your check-out aisle before the reaching the cashier.

On their own, they don’t cost much, but together they can do serious damage to your savings. The next time you feel the urge to splurge, identify what it truly is: wasted money. Be mindful of your habits and save your cash for things you actually want.

  1. Read terms and conditions of any loan

Until your budget helps you set aside a considerable cushion of savings, you’ll rely on financial products to help you make the larger purchases. Auto loans, credit cards, and even payday loans have their advantages, but it’s important you do your research so you can avoid their shortcomings.

Reading the full rates, terms, and conditions of every loan you accept is just one way you can protect yourself as you borrow. It’s not always easy to understand dense financial language, but a growing number of direct lenders — with MoneyKey among them — streamlined their practices to provide simple and clear contracts. These lenders make a point of using easy-to-understand language at every opportunity. Direct lenders like MoneyKey also have a crew of loan specialists ready to answer any of your questions in case anything isn’t clear, so you always know what to expect when you secure an online payday loan from MoneyKey.com.

When you’re absolutely certain about the rates and interest applied to your loan as well as the date by which you have to repay it, you’ll know whether or not it’s something you should apply for or something you should avoid. You’ll also be better equipped to avoid overdue payments and late fees.

  1. Eliminate #fomo and #yolo mentalities

Scroll through Instagram and you’ll see half of your friends posting pictures of their summer vacation. Scroll through Facebook and you’ll see the other half posting personal pics of family get-togethers. What these curated pictures on social media fail to account for is all the downtime between each photo. Instead, we’re overwhelmed by the idea that everyone we know is doing something bigger, greater, and cooler than we are at all times.

It’s easy to fall victim to fomo or fear of missing out, and even easier to spend your money like yolo, or you only live once.

Try limiting your time on social media so you aren’t tempted to overspend. You don’t have to become a social hermit to save some cash. Speak to your friends about your financial goals and plan things that won’t cost any of your money.

Though small, these habits can help you get your finances back on track. Start by making a budget to outline your goals and the barriers blocking your way. With a few tweaks to your spending, you can start squirreling away more cash savings. No longer the financial ying to your friend’s yang, you too can be good with money.