Economy

Can Financial Literacy Be Translated Into Fiscal Well-being?

Two factors in the status quo have increased the level of complexity pertaining to financial decision making: the diverse nature of products and instability within the global economy.

Large trading volume as well as policy-change fiscal diversity has affected the financial decision making of not only investors, but also those of general masses.

So in order to consolidate the factors of fiscal wellbeing, socio-economic and demographic variables, the ideal solution lies in financial literacy.

Financial literacy serves as a totalitarian solution for financial wellbeing on numerous accounts. Even for those who are veterans in the market, new models and trends keep on emerging, highlighting the need for adequate literacy.

Savings_accountsThe need for financial literacy

Consider technology mediated changes in the finance arena such as cloud accountancy and crowdfunding. Then there are legislative updates such as the ‘liberal productivist model’ arising since the recession that demand updated knowledge.

In a research done on areas such as the finance market and personal finance, it has been reported that this fiscal knowledge leads to reduction of financial problems as well as improvement in the person’s resource management for the enterprise he/she is working for.

Scaling financial literacy

The application zone is not merely limited to making investment, but also to specific financial products such as insurance. In light of the recent implementation of Affordable Care Act in America, a prior study was done correlating financial literacy with the consumer choice of health insurance.

An important inference made by the study was that the illiteracy about financial products led to either poor decision making about coverage or led to consumers choosing cost expensive plans.

Financial literacy works well when both the state and the individual/enterprise are working in cohort. Resource generation and utilization are two important parameters in this regard.

Jonathan Fritz of simplifiedissuelifeinsurance.com provides a good account of initiative taken at enterprise level. Insurance related products have diversified in part due to the recession but also because there is more concern over fiscal security. The financial literacy guide provides the user with a good account of all the products as well as their market relevance, thereby allowing for better decision making.

On a macro level, financial literacy serves as a quantitative tool for determining financial wellbeing. In the status quo, wellbeing is normally associated with factors such as consumption of good, net worth, savings, socio-economic status, land ownership, etc- all of which are linked to financial literacy.

Since the recession, the microfinance model is gaining traction within the U.S. As per Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the Noble Prize winner, microfinance leads to self-employment which inherently generates fiscal security within the society. A successful microfinance model is dependent on the level of financial knowledge among the people. So in lieu of modern market indicators, the functionality of literacy is paramount.

Also, in a report published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a large amount of money is being spent by enterprises on financial marketing as compared to that on financial literacy. So the consumer is more privy to biased financial information leading to biased fiscal decisions. This can be curtailed if the consumer takes the initiative of acquainting themselves with necessary knowledge.

Based on the narrative given above, the case of financial literacy is fairly documented and should be used by consumers for their benefit.


Tips to Help Cut Motoring Costs

The costs of running a car can be a hefty annual expense. Petrol costs, insurance premiums, MOT prices and the general wear and tear mean that drivers can despair, but still have no choice but to keep their car running. You may feel powerless to do anything about the amount of money you spend, but actually there are some ways you can help reduce costs:

Amend Your Driving Habits

You may have heard this before: how you drive your car can save you money.  Don’t over-rev your car as this burns fuel. If you accelerate too quickly you could be burning up unnecessary fuel too. Also try to avoid driving at full throttle and then breaking suddenly. This is not only dangerous but it also has detrimental effects on the engine and contributes to excessive fuel consumption.

Regular Motor Maintenance

Do you dread that time of year when the MOT is due again, knowing that you will be stung with a gigantic bill? If you have neglected your car all winter then this will come as no surprise to you. But you can save yourself some pennies by making sure you do the regular maintenance checks such as the oil, water levels, and tyre pressure. All of these things will help keep your driving up to a good standard, making your safety paramount.

Some people even like to buy their own car parts online to save on paying more through extra charges added on by the garage. It is always important to check with your garage beforehand, as they may only want to work with the parts that they supply.

Team Up to Take Costs Down

Carpooling can be very cost effective. Why not send an email round the office and see if anyone in your local area fancies joining a car-sharing scheme? This could cut petrol costs, build new friendships, stake the stress out of driving every day, and don’t forget about the benefits to the environment.

Make Sure You Have the Right Insurance

If you are a young driver you may be worrying about news reports in relation to crashes occurring in the first two years after you take to the road. This could be a contributing reason as to why insurance policies are so high for new, young drivers. It used to be that gender played a part in this, with young men’s premiums being considerably steeper in price, however, legislation was recently introduced which stipulated that there should be no gender discrimination. To get the best deal look for companies like AXA, who offer a range of options for young drivers.

Get More Qualifications

There may be a way to reduce your insurance policy and also gain some more experience on the road by carrying out the Pass Plus training, which is an advanced scheme that covers further practical scenarios such as driving on motorways, at night and in various weather conditions. This can only be carried out following your standard driving test.


How To Help Your Parents Stay Warm Without Social Energy Tariffs

British Gas is one of the first to announce the elimination of social energy tariffs, but it won’t be the last. Letters have already gone out telling customers who had a social tariff that it will no longer be available after September 2013. Notice is being given to move to a standard tariff or select a different option. For children of pensioners who want to keep their parents warm this winter, it may mean another review of the household budget. Don’t assume you will have to pay extra just because a social tariff has been eliminated. You still can have other ways to make up the cost of heating for your elderly parent, if you just investigate more options.

Fuel Assistance Payments

Pensioners can still be eligible for other types of payment to offset fuel costs in the winter. The Winter Fuel Payment is just one type of fuel assistance available to pensioners. Depending on your parent’s eligibility or age, they may be able to claim between £100 and £300 to help pay their fuel bill this winter. Add a Cold Weather Payment claim and you can make even more. The Warm Home Discount scheme is also available for people who are not yet 60, if they claim certain social security benefits. This can help your parents who may be sick or disabled to also claim a £135 electric credit to help with winter payments. However, whether they are eligible or not will depend on the energy supplier’s requirements, not the official rules.

Advocate For Your Parents

You can help you parents find the cash they need to make up for the loss of the social energy tariffs. You can call up agencies to find out whether they can get more assistance, in the form of energy grants. Help is available online at www.homeheathelpline.org.uk/ or by phone for people trying to find new ways to save on heating their homes. Make sure that you register at any energy suppliers Priority Services Registry so that you can take control of this aspect of your elderly parent’s needs and get them priority service for their specific social needs, too. Otherwise, the energy companies will refuse to allow you access to the account.

Care Homes Are Another Option

It is always better to keep a person in their own home for as long as possible. However, should the loss of the social tariff and an inability to get onto other payment schemes happen, then a care home may be the solution. Care homes will remove the necessity to pay high fuel bills and will guarantee that the home will not be so cold as to endanger the residents. Care homes for the disabled or the infirm can help those with limited resources to have a warm place to stay during a very cold winter.

Move In Together

If you want to keep a closer eye on your elderly parent, then just move into the home for the winter. This can help offset heating costs for two houses, instead of just heating one. It will also make sure that your elderly parent does not keep the temperature too low for fear of paying too much on fuel bills. This is one way to make sure they also receive the personal care they need. Once the weather improves, you can go back to living in your own home for a while.

Find A Care Giver

Help two people with one problem. Find a care giver willing to stay with your elderly parent in exchange for paying for heating and rent. If your parent is disabled or infirm, they will need a specialized paid care giver who can provide some help in these areas. Having someone else in the home, whether it is you or a care giver, provides security against behaviours that thwart your intentions to take care of your parent, like turning off the heat deliberately to save money. It will also help to ensure that your parent is eating and wrapped up as best as possible against the winter cold weather. These are small behaviours that many elderly simply ignore and as the weather gets colder, they lose the sensitivity to know when that may eventually put their health in danger.

By following these simple tips it is possible to make up for the lack of social energy tariffs by still keeping the elderly safe and warm.

Laura Ginn understands the importance of making sure the elderly are warm and eating well when the weather turns colder. Check out the helpful free energy tips and advice on staying warm available on uSwitch.com.


Easy Financial Plans For Newly Weds

If you are just about to get married then your elders might have sat you down and started advising you on effective money management tips. You might not be too interested in listening to the “drab” financial advice a few days before marriage but it is important. You have got to handle both your pre-wedding jitters and financial concerns at the same time. Here are some valuable financial tips that newlyweds can follow:

4133286713_e025108effTo start off with—- brides, who are mulling a change of surname post marriage should visit their respective Public Accountants (Certified).  Once again it might turn out to be one of those “drab” duties before marriage but it’s important to notify the government of a possible surname change as soon as possible so that once the tax season arrives your papers are ready with your changed names. For instance, your Social Security card must reflect your name change. On top of that it’s also important to notify your address change to the concerned authorities in this regard. It is equally important to know that your tax filing status would change post marriage. Joint tax filing is an option often chosen by couples. Please make sure that you are duly discussing with your tax consultant in this regard and remember that if you wait for the last moment for making changes then it would only lead to chaos.

From the complicated to the comparatively easier. You won’t need the help of a financial advisor for following a few simple steps with regard to the management of your personal finance. Post marriage both of you will be earning. But try living on one person’s earning and save the remaining amount. One of your partners might be laid off, he/she might want to quite his/her job and start a business. One of you might even want to get back to school to complete a part-time or a full-time course. Therefore its always advisable to prepare a family budget based on a one salary instead of two.

Consider Purchasing an Insurance Policy. All you newlyweds out there consider securing a life insurance policy. This is one of the most crucial stages to consider an insurance cover. Now one of the major concerns at the back of your mind would be about the future of your spouse in case you die. This makes you more responsible as a financial planner for your family and securing a life insurance for the safe future of your family is the first step towards fulfilling that responsibility. There are a few factors that you should keep in view while availing the policy. You’re earning, debt to income ratio; present volumes of debt are just some of those factors.

Don’t Overspend: Coming back to the basics. Stick to a budget. Don’t overspend. Just because you are newly married there’s no need to splurge on new furniture, dresses and other such gifts. Instead, spend the money for clearing off present debts and bills.

Provide a remarkable start to your married life by following these few tips!


Keeping Your Online Fashion Sales Profitable

If you’ve been selling apparel online, you are probably always on the lookout for more ways to keep your business profitable. Whether you create the designs yourself and get them from other designers, there are some tips you can implement to make sure that every piece of clothing you acquire gets sold at a profit. A couple of quick changes to your website can make sure clients are continually engaged in shopping on your site and that they keep checking back not only for new products but for other pieces they’ve had their eyes on.

Create a “Save for Later” Function

Many large retailers now have functions that allow clients to save items in their carts for later purchase. This can be a very profitable feature for your website, as it will keep clients looking at items even after they chose not to purchase them during a previous visit to your site. Shoppers may find items that they love, but they might be reluctant to purchase them right away or they might not be able to purchase them right then. If you create a feature that allows shoppers to save specific items and sizes for a later date, they’ll be more likely to return to purchase them. A feature like this means that shoppers don’t have to go back through your entire site to find the items they have previously viewed. It may seem like you want them to do this, as it will force them to look at other items as well, but if they don’t feel like doing any serious browsing, it could deter them from visiting your page at all.

Create a Sale Section

If you have excess inventory that didn’t sell the first time around, you can create a sale section in which you mark that inventory down to a lower price, attracting clients who love a good sale. Even if you’ve been previously marking items down, creating a designated sale section will engage clients’ interest because they won’t have to search through your entire inventory looking for items that are on sale. Again, it might seem that you want them to scroll through as many items as possible, but making shopping easy for your clients is more likely to result in sales than the previous method. This feature will also keep you from losing money by having items that you haven’t sold.

These are two features you can add to your apparel sales website to make it more functional and user-friendly. Any time a site is easier for clients to use, you increase the likelihood that they will spend money on your site. You can advertise these new features on your homepage, not only letting your clients know about the features themselves, but letting them know that you are continually working to improve their shopping experience. This is not only good marketing, but good customer service. These ideas are easy to implement but will yield big results for you, keeping your website profitable.

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Useful Tips to find the Best Online Shopping Deals

online shopping dealsWith the widespread usage of Internet, online shopping has become very much in vogue. In fact, it has been redefined the term ‘convenience’ to millions of Internet-savvy shopper across the globe. With the ease of online shopping, now you can say goodbye to the snobby salespersons, crowds of shopping malls and department stores, searching for parking space and carrying weighty purchases. These days online shopping has become more prevalent and you must know about the best and inexpensive online deals prior to putting things into your shopping cart.

Here are some of the steps that could help you find the best e-deal and avoid paying hefty amount for the luxury of e-shopping.

  • Sign up for newsletter – At the outset, you need to sign up for a number of email newsletters. In fact, this is the best possible way to get notified about exclusive online deals and discounts.
  • Look for coupons – When it comes to best and less expensive deals, you should look for coupon codes and coupons using popular search engines like Google, Bing, AAfter Search, Yahoo etc.
  • Search for the products – Now search for the product you’re looking for. You may find the item selling at a cheaper price by another merchant. For example, if you’re in search of a Guess shirt, you may find it at a cheaper rate at Macy’s than online store of Guess. Amazon can be considered as a good option for getting the best online shopping deals.
  • Visit deal websites – There are many websites that specialize in coupon codes and deals on different products. You may try for slickdeals, Save1, fatwallet, sppfee, bensbargains etc.
  • Use cash back sites – There are a number of websites that offer cash back on every product purchased from a webstore linked to them.  You can use your favorite search engine to get informed about different cash back sites.
  • Use credit cards – Some creditors also provide cash back for purchasing anything using credit card. Sometimes you may get cash back by linking to an online store through a credit card company’s site. Check all the credit cards you have to see if any offers any discount or a particular percentage as cash back for using it in any particular store.
  • Combine purchase with family or friends – By combining your purchase with your family or friends would let you pay less for shipping. Some online merchants offer free of cost shipping for spending over a specific amount of money. By combining transaction and getting everything shipped to the same address will always let you share shipping cost with your friend and thus save on shipping.
  • Opt for used ones – If you have no prejudice with using pre-owned items, you may try using auction sites like Ebay or Craigslist. You may also try online classifieds. On classifieds, you may find pre-owned used items at a good condition but at a much cheaper rate. However, you must read the item description before you opt for any.

Discussed above are some effective tips on finding the best online deals that save you good amount of money on every purchase.

Author’s Bio – Jonny Pean is a renowned blogger. From shopping to finance – his pen writes for a wide variety of topics.


How Could a Contractor Stay on Top of Finances in the 2013-14 Tax Year?

Finance MattersIf you are a contractor or considering becoming one, you may be easily forgiven for thinking that all you need to do is source and complete your own contracts. Unfortunately, this isn’t quite the case, as you will also need to stay on top of various financial and administrative matters, including – among other things – tax returns and accounts.

While setting up as a limited company gives you the opportunity to set your own working hours and decide which projects you work on, it is worth bearing in mind that this freedom also means you must take on the responsibility for making sure you meet all the necessary accounting regulations. Unlike when working for an employer, such matters cannot be left to your HR team to sort out for you, and if things like tax assessment returns are submitted late then you might find that you are issued with a fine from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

As such, it is vital that you make the effort to keep a firm grip over your finances. With the new financial year just a few weeks away (in case you weren’t aware already, the 2013-14 fiscal period begins on April 6th), now is a good time to start getting your finances in order. This will require you, among other things, to maintain accurate records about all the income received from your contracts and have receipts for all the goods and services you have bought as part of your work and that you wish to claim tax back on as expenses.

Creating a methodical system for tracking all your incoming and outgoings throughout the tax year ought to be your first step in doing this. However, it can be difficult to stick to when you’re busy working on existing projects and simultaneously attempting to secure future contracts.

Even if you are relatively confident with financial matters, you might not always be able to devote as much time to sorting out tax and other accountancy affairs as you would like. As such, it’s a good idea to utilize the services of an accountancy services provider. In doing so, you will have a team of accountants and other financial experts who will assist you to make sure all of your records are accurate and can help to maximize your income in the most tax-efficient manner possible. Working with such an organization will also help you to ensure that all compliant statutory tax returns that need to be submitted to HMRC and Companies House are done so correctly and on time, enabling you to devote more energy to working on projects.

The above is only a brief guide for contractors looking to manage tax and other finance-related matters, so if you need further guidance it is best to speak to HMRC or an accountancy services provider like PayStream. In doing so, you will be able to get advice that will be relevant to your individual circumstances.

Please share your experiences of keeping on top of your finances and other administrative matters by posting a comment below.


Things You Should Know About Forex Trading

Forex account Both veteran and novice traders of the stock market find that trading in foreign currency exchange, commonly referred to as Forex, is really attractive. The basic difference between stock market and Forex market is that one can trade in the latter market at any time of the day as it remains open 24×7. And this is what allures new traders; they can maintain their regular job while practicing trading.

If you’re interested in Forex trading, you should know basic things related to it before you kick in and here they are.

  • Capital – This is perhaps the most important and imperative requirement for trading in the Forex market. Unless you have adequate amount of capital to invest and make the trades, you can’t expect significant profit. You should have enough money to trade currencies, i.e., to buy and sell currencies. The amount, however, depends on your personal ability and your chosen type of Forex account. In the U.S., the traders are allowed to make purchase of up to 50 times of the amount of money they have cash in their trading account. And this is what referred to as leverage in the trading industry. For example, if you want to make a purchase of 100,000 dollar worth of your currency, you just need to keep 2,000 dollar in your account. Some brokerage firms offer the facility of ‘micro’ accounts in which you can keep as little as only 50 dollar and buy 2,500 dollar of currency.
  • Trading platform – You can’t place a trade or a bid without electronic access to your broker. So you must have a PC or laptop with Internet connection. The entire industry is operated electronically and almost all brokerage firms are specialized in creating their own software to execute trading orders placed by the customers. You may try different programs offered by different brokerage company for free of cost by simply opening an online demo account. They would help you know the major features of their trading software and help you find an interface which suits you the best.
  • Trading price charts – Like other traders, you can also rely on the price charts while making any trading decision. The Forex industry is highly chart-driven as the fundamental and economic data are not so easy to access and to understand especially when it comes to trading currencies. However, it doesn’t happen with stock trading. Companies issue quarterly income reports on the health of the business and this has major impact on stock prices. A similar means of updated information on any particular currency is not available and thus the Forex traders depend on the charts to find clues on potential value of the currency. Therefore, accessing the charts is the fundamental requirement of Forex trading.
  • Considerations – Many individuals who have opened a Forex account recently have a notion that if they have the right instruments and money in pocket, then they can easily trade in Forex market and make significant profit. However, in reality, the market is extremely volatile and because of high leverage facility, it is considered as one of the riskiest trading platform. So, being a new trader, you must spend some time on practicing the strategies with very little to no money involved. Major brokerage firms of the country provide the new customers with the facility of simulation accounts so that they can trade with virtual money. You should take advantage of it to practice and enhance your trading skill beforehand, and start trading just like an efficient Forex trader.

Discussed above are some of the very important factors that you must take care of while trading in the Forex.


The 10 Best Warren Buffet Quotes

Warren BuffettInvestor and philanthropist Warren Buffett is one of the best-known businessmen in the United States today. His shrewd eye for seeing profits where others are blind have earned Buffett the affectionate nickname, “The Oracle of Omaha.”

Buffett is the leading proponent of a strategy known as value investing. Value investors believe that the stock market reacts irrationally to good news and bad news alike. This often results in price movements that don’t reflect a given company’s intrinsic value. Value investors buy stock in companies they believe are fundamentally sound when those companies are trading below their value. They then hold on to those stocks for a relatively long period of time.

Although Buffett’s observations concern themselves with stock market fluctuations, they are remarkably applicable to other areas of life. He may be writing to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders about his decision to purchase a particular company, but his words are equally relevant to any type of consumer purchase from a new computer to a new home. Buffett, in fact, is famously frugal in all areas of his life. He still lives in the modest Omaha home he and his wife purchased when they were first married.

Accomplishing anything worth achieving, Warren Buffett seems to be saying, takes time and effort. There are no shortcuts to excellence. This is exactly the type of advice that people used to get from their wise grandfathers or from statesmen they admired.
Buffett also believes in giving back. He has given more than $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has pledged to eradicate global polio within the next decade.

Here are ten representative quotes from Warren Buffett that give some clue as to the philosophy that fuels his financial acuity.

1. “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”

This quote appeared in a 1989 letter to Berkshire Hathaway investors.

2. “Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre.”

This quote appeared in a 1989 letter to Berkshire Hathaway investors.

3. “We want to buy [great companies] when they’re on the operating table.”

This quote appeared in an interview with “Businessweek” in 1999.

4. “Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money.”

This quote appeared in a 2000 letter to Berkshire Hathaway investors.

5. “After all, you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.”

This quote appeared in a 2001 letter to Berkshire Hathaway investors.

6. “Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies.”

This quote appeared in a 2004 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

7. “For investors as a whole, returns decrease as motion increases.”

This quote appeared in a 2005 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

8. “Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls-Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.”

This quote is from an interview conducted with Mary Buffett and David Clark, the authors of “The Tao of Warren Buffett.”

9. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

This quote is from a 2009 interview conducted with “The Independent (London.)

10. “I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.”

The source of this quote is unknown.

Seth Garrison is a business coach who has written several published guides to online mba program rankings.


World Map of Trading

Trading Map

This is an infographic to describe world forex trading activity. It shows the top 15 traded currency pairs, volumes and buy and sell percentage rates. This is designed to aid new traders in getting a general overview of the forex market, which should allow them to make better use of their trading platform and maximise their potential. This infographic has been provided by Vantage FX UK who are an FX trading brokers based in London UK. Through them you can open a demo account to practice forex trading so you can acquire new skills and knowledge about forex which should give you a greater insight into the world of forex trading and may lead to you opening a live account with them so you can start trading almost immediately. If your looking for best binary brokers check them out today if you’re interested in opening an account or if you’re just looking for some trading education and tips.

Vantage FX UK are a leading forex trading brokers based in the UK in the city of London. They provide both Live and Demo accounts to forex traders, both new and experienced, as well as giving trading educational tips and advice for forex traders and brokers.


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