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!