Most people realize the importance of saving money for retirement. However, some don’t take the steps necessary to save as much as they truly need. Does this sound familiar?
If you are not doing your part in saving enough for your future, there is no better time than now to get started.
Easy Ways to Save
Are you under the impression that it is challenging to save for retirement? Believe it or not, you can get on the right track soon enough if you follow some basic advice:
- Automate your savings
- Set goals
- Don’t touch this money until you retire
When you automate your savings, you know that the appropriate amount of money is being put towards your retirement. You never have to worry about making contributions on your own, because this is taken care of for you.
Have you set any goals related to your retirement? If not, this is a big mistake. You need to sit down, look at your situation, and set both short and long term goals. This will make you feel better about your future.
Are you the type who will try to take money from a retirement account before you actually retire? Join the club. As tempting as this may be, you have to stay away from doing so. The more money you have in your retirement accounts, and the longer the money is in there, the more interest you are going to earn.
With these three bits of advice guiding you, you will find it much easier to save more for retirement. If you are young, this may not be something you want to think about. But remember, the money you save today will allow you to live a better life down the road – and there is nothing more important than that.
Millions of customers throughout the United Kingdom have allegedly been mis-sold payment protection insurance by their banks. Many claims management companies have helped these customers get their money back. Unfortunately, a number of unscrupulous companies have also taken advantage of customers who have mis-purchased PPI. Customers will need to be aware of these scams and know how they can protect themselves.
PPI Scams Persist
Scam artists frequently offer services based around high profile events. The PPI scandal was the largest financial scandal the country has ever faced. Many criminals have offered services to target customers who may have purchased payment protection insurance.
These scams have been ongoing since the PPI scandal first emerged several years ago. They have grown exponentially as the crisis has gained more attention.
Office of Fair Trading Issues Warnings
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has recently stated that PPI scams are more prevalent than ever. They have shared profiles of some of the scams which they hope will protect customers. Here are some warning signs that OFT officials said customers should be aware of:
- Scam artists often claim to be associated with the OFT, FOS or another reputable agency.
- Many will pretend to be working with a legitimate PPI claims company.
- Scam artists tend to be very secretive about what they do. They will typically call or email people and won’t share their real name.
- They ask for money up front and promise to get compensation after the fact.
You will always need to be on your guard when you receive an unsolicited phone call, text message or email.
How to Protect Yourself
There are several things that you can do to avoid being scammed. Here are some tips you may want to follow:
- Never share your banking or personal information over the phone or Internet.
- Remember that the FOS, OFT and other agencies do not email or call people to request personal and banking information. Also, the OFT wants to remind people that it has no bearing to compensate people for PPI claims.
- Only work with claims companies that have a physical location and verifiable business information.
- Find out what the company’s track record is before asking them to file a claim on your behalf.
PPI scams will continue to persist as more people realize that they have been mis-sold PPI. Make sure that you are on your guard against them.
Knowing what you want to buy is also a money saving practice as this limits what you spend for. It takes a lot of discipline to be frugal about spending but the rewards are worth it. A good practice of being frugal is to list down what you need to buy.
Listing What You need to Buy
How many times have you seen people in groceries wandering aimlessly about what they want to buy? By listing down what you really need in your home, you are lessening the risk of spending needlessly on certain items that you do not need. It is also planning your budget so you are still able to save some money as you need certain things. By concentrating on the bare minimum, which are the necessities such as water, toilet paper, food, light bulbs, etc, you are exercising a great deal of self-discipline wherein a compulsion to buy other things are eliminated.
In being able to save money as you spend, you are also saving yourself by being prepared to handle different emergency situations which you can never foretell when it will occur. Emergency situation such as broken appliances that need immediate repair or a toothache that you need to see the dentist to repair. Imagine having to bare the pain of that toothache because you have no emergency funds to pay the dentist. That is a situation that could very possible happen and it would be a most painful one wherein you will wish that you had an emergency fund that you could use.
In listing down what you need, you can also save a lot of time and effort in shopping. You will not have to wonder whether or not you have a certain item at home, as you have taken the time to list down your needed items.
Living expenses are piling up in the present day world. There are many expenses which cannot be curtailed living in a world where recession and inflation have struck. There are many expenses that need to be met and therefore, living frugally is a step forward in the right direction if you want to tackle less bills. Here are some tips for frugal living.
There are many coupon systems prevalent in the modern day world. Some of these coupons offer really good deals. Layer coupons so that you can attain mega savings. Websites and online retailers are a good place to look for coupons. Many companies offer bulk deals and this can lead to a difference in the amount of money that you spend. Frugal living is possible if you make the effort to find and spend coupons.
TONE DOWN THE NECESSITIES
Make sure that you tone down on the bare basics that you need. Try to make do with one cell phone instead of two. Make sure that you do not spend on items you don’t need. If you can streamline your expenditure, that will go a long way in saving money.
Make sure that you do not spend excessively on purchases you do not need. Another good way is to make sure that you delay the purchase of some item for as long as possible. This can prevent you from spending too much at one time. By postponing the purchase, you will have a greater amount of money at your disposal.
Thus, you can easily avoid unnecessary expenditure and live frugally by becoming self sufficient and being independent in your financial planning. You can even grow your own food and be self reliant.
The PPI scandal dates back to late 1990’s when it was first reported that PPI was a poor value product. The PPI or payment protection insurance was introduced as a product that would cover the monthly repayments if a person holding the PPI fell ill or got out of job. For most people, it sounded an attractive proposition and the product was a hit. The PPI was generally brought alongside loans or credit cards. Many people even believed the fact that the credit card application was accepted if the person had a PPI. The PPI was mis-sold and there were many loopholes in its selling.
Most banks and financial institutions that sold PPI did not share the complete and accurate details regarding PPI as they earned a huge profit by mis-selling the product. The figures reveal that banks and financial institutions had a profit margin of almost 80 % if they mis-sold the product. The PPI claims statistics also reveal the fact that since most of the policies were purchased alongside loans, most people ended up paying a lot of money and that the PPI turned out to be a very expensive product. It was estimated that customers were overcharged by £1.4 billion in lieu of PPI.
However, the statistics also reveal the fact that thousands of successful claims have been made in the PPI scheme. Of the 4.5 million people who have made claims, 2.5 million have been able to get the settlement of the claim. The statistics also reveal the fact that the biggest scandal is also turning out to be an economy stimulus package as it is not only helping people get money but is also generating a lot of new jobs. It is known from statistics that around 6000 extra people have been hired by UK banks and financial institutions to handle the PPI claims.
With money tight and prices high it is common for people to put low prices ahead of healthy options; many supermarkets have special offers, but have you noticed how they are often applied to the less healthy foods? Fruit and vegetables are rarely subject to discounts, and these are the sort of products we want to see at affordable prices. However, there are ways we can feed our families in a healthy manner, and without breaking the bank.
Change of Habit
In a recent survey almost two thirds of households said they found shopping for food a major strain on their finances, and had changed their habits to accommodate lower prices. But had they done the right thing, or were there ways they could save money on more beneficial, healthy options? The retail market has seen a move towards the discount brands – Lidl and Aldi, for example, are seeing major boosts – and away from the traditional supermarket names. It is well worth looking at what they have to offer, for name brands always carry a premium.
Look for Special Deals
The move away from well-known brands is one that many people are reluctant to make, given that they place a great deal of trust in the names they are familiar with. The fact is that by buying cheaper brands you may be getting the same product, from the same place, but with a different label. Other benefits are trying new products, and getting a fresh perspective on the cooking habits of your household.
Buy in Bulk
We don’t mean buying lots of one product at one time necessarily, but buying products in bigger portions: a whole chicken, for example, rather than just the breasts, can provide an excellent meal for a family, and while fresh fish may seem expensive, it can often stretch to a large meal for a full family. You can also consider cutting out the middle man – buy from farm shops, or visit the docks and buy fish straight from the boat – and for the ultimate cost saving option, why not dedicate a part of your garden to growing vegetables? You may be surprised how easy it is!
A recent survey from HSBC Holdings found that most Britons are not adequately prepared for retirement. The new survey found that the average citizen will only have enough savings to last for seven years after they leave the workforce.
The survey tracked citizens from 15 nations. Other nations included both developed and developing nations across the world. The researchers found that Britons were worse prepared than their counterparts in any other country. HSBC said that these workers will suffer from a dozen years of hardship after they run out of money.
Christine Foyster, head of wealth development at HSBC, said that expectations for retirement are constantly changing. Citizens are living longer than in previous years, which means they will need to save more diligently while they are working. She said that more than 50% of the population is not saving enough to survive their golden years. Nearly a fifth of the population isn’t saving for retirement at all.
The participants in the survey were asked what their biggest concern was when they entered retirement. Most of the participants said they were concerned with making ends meet. Nearly a third of those respondents said they were concerned that they would need to work longer than they desired. The other two-thirds said they feared they would have to cut spending on certain necessities.
The survey found that citizens in China and the United States would also struggle to survive through retirement without a financial hardship. Citizens in Malaysia were best prepared for retirement, but still did not have enough money saved for the last five years they expected to live.
Foyster said that workers have been concerned about retirement since the beginning of time. She said that the only way they can have the security they are seeking is if they start preparing early enough.
Despite the generally poor economic situation the consumer finance market in the UK reported significant growth in 2012, according to figures collated by the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA). The figures claim a general growth in lending of around 6% over the whole of 2012, with certain areas showing more serious growth than others. The figures suggest that restrictions on consumer lending have eased of late, with more people than ever before borrowing at a time when the opposite may have been expected.
Cars and High Street
The main areas of growth appear to have been in lending on car finance and in high street shops – where store instalments are in growth – and there are other areas where people have been showing an increased propensity to borrow. Point of sale credit is among the fastest growing areas of borrowing, and it would seem that many people are looking to borrow to boost flagging incomes in times of hardship.
Car Credit Jump
The rapid rise in car finance credit – up by 22% over the previous year – indicates increased consumer confidence, while the 15% jump in in-store credit is also indicative of a change in the financial markets. Store cards, on the other hand, are showing a move in the opposite direction with a fall in uptake of over 15% in the year, perhaps indicating that there are better deals to be had with instalment credit and other forms of finance.
Credit Cards and Loans
The market for credit cards and personal loans, according to the FLA figures, is pretty much static at the moment with an overall fall of just over one percent, although there are signs that the loans market is about to take a turn for the better with interest rates at an all-time low. The ongoing financial crisis is still in full effect, but with these latest figures comes a sense of optimism that can only be described as positive. 2013 promises a sea change in the way we are borrowing if last year is any indication, and it will be interesting to see how things fare in the next 12 months.
No doubt your friends have told you how they saved this and that by shopping online and using discount codes, but have you ever tried to use them yourself? Discount codes are available at many different websites and can be used for buying a wide range of products and services, and they are well worth investigating in more detail. Discount codes can be downloaded from many different places – myvouchercodes.co.uk is one of the best – and you may be surprised at how much you can save.
Secret Codes and more
There is a growing trend towards ‘secret’ discount codes, and these are being used by many companies as a major marketing campaign. The idea is that select customers will search for codes that apply to certain products, and the feeling that they are getting an exclusive saving is one that builds brand loyalty. Such codes are often then broadcast by websites, leading to more people than intended becoming the recipients of the offers.
Discounts in Stores
It is not only online that you can make savings on your personal finance expenditure, for many codes can be downloaded and printed out, and taken to the shop to be used on products in store. This is an extension of the ‘money off’ coupons that are often found on packets and boxes, and there are many to be had across the board. By using online discount codes you can make considerable savings on grocery products, clothing and other essentials, as well as services such as travel and holidays.
Exclusive Online Discounts
The presence of online-only discounts is something that has grown in popularity in the current age, and with many different companies offering great savings on a wide range of products this is a simple and effective way to cut back on your expenditure. Look for seasonal discounts on products – especially in the lead up to the Christmas period and summer holidays – and you can make savings in the most expensive times of the year. The more you look for discount codes, the more fun you can have in saving money.
Many people have had a difficult time finding employment in the current economy. Real unemployment is probably about 15% in the United States and considerably higher in some countries. Nearly half of Spanish workers under the age of 30 are currently out of work. Many of these challenges won’t go away anytime soon. Fortunately, people can still find good work if they take the right steps.
Current Landscape of the Labor Market
Many experts predict that the labor market will increase significantly as the economy improves. Unfortunately, there are a number of structural problems in the labor market which will probably not recover in the near future. People need to compete with workers overseas and many jobs are being destroyed by innovations in technology.
Workers in previous years didn’t need to worry about finding a new job. All they had to do was mail out a resume to a few prospective employers and they would almost be guaranteed a job. Those search strategies are no longer viable ways to find a job. You will need to be smarter to find work in this economy.
What You Need to Do to Find a New Job
Many people spend months sending resumes to companies over the Internet. You may get luck applying for jobs online, but it isn’t the most effective way to look for work. You will need to try these strategies to increase your chances of landing your dream job:
- Tap the hidden job market. Most people spend all their time applying for jobs online. However, 90% of the jobs in this economy are never published anywhere. You will need to network with people to find out about positions that aren’t listed. According to one study, nearly 45% of new hires were referred by a previous employee.
- Develop your skills. You will always need to be updating your skill sets to look more appealing to a prospective employer. You may be at a disadvantage when you have been out of work for a while. However, an employer will be more willing to hire you if they see that you have taken the necessary steps to invest in your career.
- Network well. Most job seekers don’t spend their time networking. This is the best way to get into a new position. You will need to use every networking opportunity you can find, both online and offline. Use social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. You should also consider going to Chamber of Commerce meetings and business mixers. This will help you build the connections you need to get a job.
- Focus on your value to the employer. Ten years ago anybody with a business degree could flaunt their diploma and get a job offer. Those days are gone. You will need to show that you can bring value to your employer if you hope to get hired. Tell them what steps you can take to help them grow their business.
Finding a job can be very difficult in a bad economy. Fortunately, you can still find employment if you put in the extra effort. Don’t get discouraged if you haven’t had any luck. You should try to change your strategy instead.