Feb 27 2015

Consider Using Foreign Exchange Specialists For International Transactions

By |February 27th, 2015|General Personal Finance|0 Comments|

currency

Conducting international transactions can be a time consuming and confusing process, especially if you are conducting transactions in multiple currencies. While many banks do allow international transactions to flow through their institutions, they often charge hefty fees and take a considerable amount of time to execute the transactions.

To help both businesses and private clients manage their international transactions effectively, foreign exchange specialists have entered the industry. Foreign exchange specialists can provide you with the latest currency rates, as well as help you develop and implement the appropriate overseas payment strategies for your needs.

When choosing a foreign exchange specialist, you will want one that has a great deal of industry expertise and that will use state-of-the-art technology to process your transactions quickly and efficiently. You will also want to ensure that the company has products and services that can be adapted to your ongoing and future needs. Utilizing a dedicated team of foreign exchange professionals can provide you with expert advice about your international transactions and can help you execute a cost effective approach that will save you both time and money.

Most foreign exchange specialists offer a wide range of international payment solutions that can be adapted to businesses of all sizes and tailored to the specific requirements of the client. Using their platforms, international payments can be made to anywhere in the world from anywhere in the world at any time of the day. Web-based international payment solutions are secure and can be accessed through any computer as long as you have your private account information at hand. These services often cost less than comparable solutions offered by international banks.

To ensure that the foreign exchange specialists are providing a safe and secure method of making international payments, they are subject to the rules of government regulatory agencies, such as the Financial Conduct Authority. Companies that are registered through a regulatory agency have demonstrated that they will keep your money safe and will handle your transactions fairly. It is important to ensure that any foreign exchange specialist you choose for handling your international transactions can demonstrate that they are registered through an appropriate government agency.

Using a foreign exchange specialist, you can conduct transactions in as many as 120 different globally traded currencies. Transactions in major currencies, such as the US Dollar and the Euro, are common, while transactions in minor currencies, such as the Swedish Krona and the South African Rand, occur less frequently. Some companies also offer to process transactions in exotic currencies, such as the Chinese Yuan and the Brazilian Real, but these companies can be more difficult to find. The foreign exchange specialist that you choose should be able to conduct transactions in each of the currencies you would like to make transactions in to prevent you from having to have separate accounts with separate companies in order to complete the necessary international transactions.

——

photo courtesy of Images_of_Money

Feb 20 2015

How to Be Stress Free this Tax Season

By |February 20th, 2015|General Personal Finance|0 Comments|

7da9f2d4905741a6a225f19d5e9bbb0eDoes the idea of filing your taxes leave you feeling stressed? Do you put it off until the very last day only to slightly panic at the thought? Well, you shouldn’t. Yes, tax time isn’t anyone’s favorite time of year, but it also doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety and dread either. There are ways to have your taxes filed correctly and timely without having to feel the pressure of the looming April 15th date.

A few tips to follow in order to stay stress free this tax season include:

  1. Don’t put off tomorrow what can be done today. Once you receive all your tax documents, schedule a time to focus on your taxes without interruption and take the time necessary to go through the steps without feeling rushed along. By getting a head start, you have time to ask questions if any arise and avoid late penalties from filing after the deadline.
  2. Get help. You turn to a mechanic to make sure your car is running smoothly, a dentist to make sure your teeth are cavity-free, so why not turn to a tax specialist to ensure that your filing is accurate? With professionals from online tax companies (ex. www.communitytax.com) you can ease the burden off your shoulders and turn things over to a pro.
  3. Use free software. If you feel like your taxes are fairly straightforward and you only have one W2 without any additional circumstances, choosing to file online using a program like TurboTax or something similar may be the best option for you. This can help cut down on fees and usually doesn’t take too long to complete.
  4. Take a break. Once you’ve started the process, you can always come back to it later if you don’t want to finish all at once. Or, once you have gone through all the steps, go the gym, make dinner, or something else to take your mind off of it for a little while, before looking at it again for one final review.
  5. Plan a reward. The accomplishment of filing your taxes feels good, but plan an extra bit of relaxation, like a massage, to act as a motivator to get it done. It doesn’t have to be anything overtly expensive, but knowing there is something to look forward to once you’ve finished can make the process go a little smoother.

Let’s face it: no one says they look forward to tax season, but it has to be done. Go into it knowing that the more you stress about it, the worse it will be. Get yourself organized, set aside some time, take a deep breath, and go for it.

The organization is the most time-consuming part, but once you have that in place, the rest should be fairly easy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and, when in doubt, call in for tax professional reinforcements. Here’s to a stress free 2015 tax season!

Do you plan on filing your own taxes this year or hiring someone to file for you? What are your tips to staying stress free during tax season?

Feb 1 2015

Are You Financially Well? A Test.

By |February 1st, 2015|General Personal Finance|Comments Off|

[Guest article written by Jonathan Roy // provided by Pierre Roy & Associates, Bankruptcy Trustee in Quebec, Canada]

financial-stressBankruptcy Trustees meet countless of people worried about their financial situation. They all come to us looking for solutions because their financial worries are urgent. Most of them definitely need help but some of them are able to solve their financial problems on their own. However, a statistic that is less clear is the number of people who worry about their financial but who don’t seek any help.

With that question in mind, we’ve designed a short test (15 questions) that should help you determine if your financial situation is worrisome or if you’re in the clear.

I invite you to take the test here and then read the comments at the end of the article.

take-the-test

1. Are you worried about your debts getting out of control?

  1. Yes (0 points)
  2. No (+5 points)

2. If you lost your job tomorrow, how many months of savings do you have to cover all your expenses?

  1. None (0 points)
  2. Barely a month (+1 point)
  3. 1 – 3 months (+2 points)
  4. 6 – 12 months (+3 points)
  5. I’m good for a long time! (+5 points)

3. How often do you have to withdraw from your savings to pay your bills?

  1. (0 points)
  2. About once a month. (+1 point)
  3. It happens now and then. (+2 points)
  4. Only when I absolutely need to. (+3 points)
  5. I never do that! (+5 points)

4. How many credit cards do you own?

  1. Not a single one. (+5 points)
  2. 1 – 3 (+4 points)
  3. 3 – 6 (+1 point)
  4. More than 6 (0 points)

5. How do you pay off your credit card bills?

  1. I just don’t pay them… (0 points)
  2. I make only the minimum payments. (+1 point)
  3. I pay as much as I can. (+2 points)
  4. I pay it all. (+5 points)

6. How much debt do your carry (excluding your mortgage)?

  1. No debt at all. (+5 points)
  2. Very little. (+4 points)
  3. Less than my net yearly income. (+2 points)
  4. About my net yearly income. (+1 point)
  5. More than my net yearly income. (0 points)

7. Of all your bills (credit cards, electricity, phone, etc.), are any more than 30 days past due?

  1. Yes (0 points)
  2. No (+5 points)

8. Of all your bills (credit cards, electricity, phone, etc.), are any more than 60 days past due?

  1. Yes (0 points)
  2. No (+3 points)

9. Are you behind on your mortgage or rent payment?

  1. Yes, but less than a month. (+1 point)
  2. Yes, 1 – 3 months. (0 points)
  3. Yes, more than 3 months. (0 points)
  4. (+2 points)

10. Have you ever been surprised with a check returned for NSF (non-sufficient funds) or a declined payment at a store?

  1. No, never. (+5 points)
  2. 1 – 5 (+2 points)
  3. 5 – 10 (+1 point)
  4. More than I can count. (0 points)

11. In the past year, the amount of your unsecured debt (credit cards, personal loans, etc.) has…

  1. Stayed the same. (+2 points)
  2. (+5 points)
  3. (0 points)

12. Your credit score is…

  1. Over 700! (+5 points)
  2. 600 – 700 (+3 points)
  3. 300 – 600 (+1 point)
  4. I have no idea (0 points)

13. Do you ever use one credit card to pay another one?

  1. Never ever. (+5 points)
  2. It happens sometimes. (+2 points)
  3. Regularly I have to. (0 points)

14. Have you ever had to get a payday loan or requested money from friends or family?

  1. (+5 points)
  2. I’ve considered but I’ve never done it. (+2 points)
  3. It happened. (+1 point)
  4. I rely on family and/or payday loans regularly. (0 points)

15. Overall, what is your level of stress concerning your financial situation?

  1. I stress all the time and I can’t sleep. (0 points)
  2. I stress a lot. (+1 point)
  3. I can handle the stress. (+3 points)
  4. No stress! (+5 points)

Results

Out of a possibility of 70 points, if you scored:

  • 60 – 70, you are doing very well and you should not be concerned about your situation. You should be reading investments and savings articles!
  • 40 – 60, you are doing well but you should be careful about your situation. Life can bring unexpected challenges and you could be vulnerable to debt problems.
  • 20 – 40, you should take measures to bring your situation back on track. If you don’t act now you could be headed towards very serious financial problems. Make sure you have a carefully crafted budget and that you measure how much you spend every month.
  • Less than 20, you are in a dangerous zone. Your financial problems are serious and you should take serious measures to face them. I highly recommend you consult a professional.

Please use this test only as general guidelines. For a more accurate analysis, you should consult a financial advisor or a bankruptcy trustee.

Jan 28 2015

How Much Access Does My Family Have to My Auto Insurance?

By |January 28th, 2015|General Personal Finance|Comments Off|

0dde0c54f50541e09fbcb0a1c539db8eAuto insurance is designed to provide drivers with relief in case of damage to their vehicle as well as some liability protection in events that affect other drivers, and a wide range of policy options and types are available to help every driver obtain the coverage they need in their individual situations.

Of course, family often knows best, and can have a different view about the necessary level of coverage to provide adequate protection for a driver they love. However, is it possible for them to transpose this goodwill directly into change by making alterations to your car insurance policy?

Minor Changes

In general, providers will allow the family members of a policyholder to make minor necessary changes to their policy. Common scenario is related to changes that do not affect the actual nature of the coverage, such as providing a change of address or other information critical to the policy and its billing.

Special Situations

Minors often have special guidelines governing the policies they hold that gives their families more options in providing the appropriate level of coverage. For example, a parent can usually call and increase the level of protection for a teenage driver and a spouse can request changes to a policy that help it fall in line with temporarily limited resources.

Another situation that allows a family member of a policyholder to make changes to their auto insurance coverage is if the policy is in their name as well, giving them many of the same access and control rights as the central holder of the policy.

Enquiries

Individual privacy policies vary from provider to provider, but for security reasons most companies will not release any information or take any action on requests made by parties other than those officially listed on the policy. Exceptions are sometimes made with extenuating circumstances, but in general anyone not listed on the policy has no right to any information associated with it in the view of the provider.

While being named as the central holder of an auto insurance policy typically gives a driver the ultimate control over the coverage, there are a few situations in which a family can make enquiries or adjust coverage levels without involving the driver. Different insurance carriers have different procedures that may make some allowances where others may not, but as a rule the holder of a policy has the final word on who can access it.

Jan 15 2015

4 High Risk but High Profit Investment Vehicles

By |January 15th, 2015|General Personal Finance|1 Comment|

5af814e516324d1393bafb1f0d719a10Have you decided that you’d like to start making your move in the world of high risk, high reward investing? In the past, choices were slim when it comes to this type of investing. However, these days there are several exciting options for those looking to move in this direction. More importantly, these days you don’t have to be a Gordon Gekko type Wall Street professional to make a decent amount of money in the industry. Today, we’re going to discuss some of the most popular high risk, high reward investment vehicles, offer pros and cons, and point you in the direction of the industry leader for each investment type. So, let’s get right to it!

CFD Trading

One very common high risk, high reward investment vehicle is called a CFD or Contract for Difference. In essence, CFD traders don’t buy stocks. Instead, they purchase contracts with much more leverage based on underlying assets.

CFD Trading Example

Let’s say a stock is trading for $50 per share. To buy 100 shares, you would have to pay $5,000. With a standard broker, you would have to outlay at least 50% or $2,500. However, with a CFD broker, you need a 5% margin instead of 50%. Therefore, you would only have to $250 to make the trade.

When the CFD is purchased at $250, the trader will immediately show a loss equal to the spread. That’s because the trader must exit the CFD at the bid price. So, if the spread is $0.05, the stock will need to appreciate $0.05 for the CFD to reach a break-even point.

Let’s say for example that the stock bid price appreciated to $51 per share. In this case, the trader would be able to sell the CFD at the higher bid price, profiting $100.

CFD Trading Pros

  • Higher leverage than traditional stock trades.
  • Global market access from one platform.
  • Few rules and regulations that limit profitability.

CFD Trading Cons

  • Paying a spread to enter and exit a trade can get expensive.
  • Having to pay the spread can increase losses and limit profits.
  • Few regulations in the industry means you will need to choose your broker wisely.

Top CFD Broker

TradeKing.com is known as the leader in CFD trading.

Binary Options Trading

Binary option trading is becoming more and more popular over recent years. This trading vehicle asks a simple “yes” or “no” question; will the value of an underlying asset increase over a specified period of time. If the trader answers the question correctly, they stand to earn incredibly high gains. If the trader answers incorrectly, they will lose their capital. That’s why this form of trading is called binary options trading; there are only 2 possible outcomes.

Binary Options Trading Example

Let’s say that stock A is trading at $100 per share. You’ve done your research and strongly believe that the stock will increase in value over a short period of time. So, you purchase a call option that will expire at 1:30pm with a strike price of $102 per share. If the stock expires above the strike price, you’re in the money and you earn the specified dollar amount in gains. Generally, these gains range between 70% and 80% of the trade value. Therefore, profit on this trade would generally range between $70 and $80. Also, keep in mind that if you believe strongly that a stock or other asset will fall in value you should purchase a put option. I like to remember which is which by remembering the terms “Call them up” and “Put that down”.

Binary Options Trading Pros

  • High potential for profit.
  • Fast paced environment makes trading more exciting.
  • Access markets around the world from one platform.
  • One of the simplest forms of trading.

Binary Options Trading Cons

  • High loss potential; so, do your research!
  • Few regulations in the industry; so, choose your broker wisely.

Top Binary Options Broker

Anyoption.com is known as the leader in the binary options industry.

Forex Trading

For those interested in economic climates, industrial and employment reports, and economic research, Forex may be the investment vehicle for you. Forex trading is done by following currencies and making predictions on currency pairs.

Forex Trading Example

Let’s say that you’re working with a broker that gives you 1:20 leverage and you have $5,000 to trade. That means that with your leverage, you can trade up to $100,000. Let’s say you’re interested in the Euro, which paired against the USD has an exchange rate of 1.305. You think the Euro is going to increase in value, so you sell your $100,000 for 76,628 Euros.

Now, let’s say you were right and the Euro increases by 1%.  Because of leverage, you’ve no earned a 20% gain. You decide to sell your Euros for $101,000; resulting in a net profit of $1,000 to you.

Forex Trading Pros

  • High leverage means high potential gains.
  • Because currencies never stop moving, you have the ability to trade around the clock!
  • Forex generally comes with lower fees than other types of investments.

Forex Trading Cons

  • Currency traders are literally trading against the pros, creating a bit of a conflict of interest.
  • Requires an in depth, detailed understanding of how economies work; leaving quite a bit of room for newbies to fail.

Top Forex Broker

Plus500.com is considered to be one of the top Forex brokers around today.

ETF Trading

ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) trading is the process of trading based on indices like the Dow Jones Industrial average or the S&P 500 rather than a particular stock. However, the trades work almost exactly like traditional stock trades. Simply put, with ETFs you get the diversification of an index fund and the flexibility of a stock.

ETF Trading Example

You strongly believe that Index A is going increase. So, you purchase an ETF that’s based on the underlying Index A. After a few days, you realize that your assumptions were correct and the index is on an uptrend. At the end of the trend, you sell the ETF for a great profit.

ETF Trading Pros

  • ETFs give you the ability to invest in the performance of an index without having to purchase index funds.
  • ETFs are incredibly flexible.
  • Diversification is all but automatic.

ETF Trading Cons

  • Investing in ETFs typically requires a broker fee.
  • Because ETFs are relatively new, there are fewer options for traders.

Top ETF Broker

Thinkorswim.com from TDAmeritrade is considered to be among the top ETF brokers.

Final Thoughts

One of the reasons investing is becoming more and more fun is that there are so many new investment vehicles out there today. If you’re looking to try your hand in the world of high risk, high reward trading, you’ve got more options today than ever before!

Jan 9 2015

The Most Expensive Number Plates in UK

By |January 9th, 2015|General Personal Finance|Comments Off|

How much would you pay for a number plate in UK? If you are looking for the really rare numbers, there is a huge possibility that you will need to spend a lot. The truth is that we are faced with so many opportunities at the moment with a lot of customization but if you are looking for license plates like F1, prices go up to thousands of pounds.
Most Expensive Number Plates
Most Expensive Number Plates is an infographic that was produced by Gumtree