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Changing the Rules of ISA Makes More Attractive to Both Savers and Investors

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Have you spent your ISA allowance for 2014-2015? According to Julie Hutchison, a consumer finance expert of Standard Life, last year, major changes were introduced which means that they have become more attractive and flexible to both savers and investors. ISA means Individual savings account, it is a tax-efficient way to invest or save. Now, about £470bn has been stashed from ISAs and they will celebrate their 16th year. This means that they have proven their popularity all over UK as an easy and simple way to save.

The major feature that makes ISAs popular is the tax advantages. It has two main types, the shares ISA and cash or stocks ISA, each of them perform different roles. With regards to cash ISA, you do not need to pay an income tax for every interest gained; this means that it works as a simple savings account while shares and stocks ISA do not need to pay capital gains tax in case of growth. Last year, ISAs had a huge makeover; so far, it was the biggest milestone in the last 16 years of its existence, according to Ms Hutchison. The good news is that they have become more flexible and allows a stash of up to £15,000 for the current tax year, at the same time, another £15,240 of the following tax year which is going to start on April 6.

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Image: theguardian.com

However, even if ISAs have become more flexible and advantageous for many individuals, still, the people find it very difficult to save money. They even end up getting into so much debt by being so dependent with their credit cards and taking out loans from various lenders just to meet the needs of everyday life. One example is the Guarantor Loan; it is different from the guarantor lending market because it allows tenants to become guarantors instead of the typical home owners. They believe that a tenant who has been paying rent regularly for many years and has a good credit record is not different from a homeowner; this is the reason why he is allowed to become a guarantor. Last year, their maximum loanable amount was increased to £5,000 from £3,000 and the APR was reduced tremendously to 59.9% from 79.9%.

Even if the rate of people taking out a loan is increasing, the government is making ways and programs to promote savings. One of them is the new rules of ISA, the government has introduced a new way to transfer between stocks and shares and cash, and it was a big change implemented last year. This means that anyone can own a cash ISA and they can decide later whether to transfer or not to shares and stocks ISA. This is a good development because an individual is not stuck with the original ISA since it is now flexible by moving it both ways.

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The Best Time to Get Car Insurance

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According to a yearlong study, car insurance prices actually vary for as much as 48% depending on the time of the year it was purchased.

4AutoInsuranceQuote.com, a website that helps clients receive the best car insurance quotes Brooklyn New York, has recently announced the launch of its most recent article entitled “What Month Are Car Insurance Rates The Cheapest?”

According to an article from CNN Money which was published on the 30th of January this year, a yearlong study showed that December is the best time to buy car insurance since coverage was found to be approximately 8% cheaper than March, which is the most expensive month. A study also concluded that the cost of insurance premiums vary from state to another.  Take for instance in Hawaii, the residents who acquired car insurance policies in December paid up to 48% less than those who got  their policies in March; Meanwhile, studies show that in Pennsylvania, April was the most expensive month to acquire auto insurance. (more…)

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The Slow Growth of China’s Economy

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The economy of China has reached its slowest pace in 24 years last year as it has only grown 7.4%. While most countries around the world would be rejoicing at their economic growth rate, this seemed like China’s turning point.  This is probably the reason why some companies, like Uncle Buck pay day loans LLP, in China are slowly laying off employees to keep afloat.

When the Western sanctions took effect after Tiananmen cracked down, it was the lowest annual growth for China recorded since 1990. They also came really close to missing their “approximately 7.5 percent” growth target; which would be the first time it would’ve happened for centuries. According to the predictions of IMF, India might surpass China as being the fastest growing economy in the world by next year.

China’s slow economic growth rate may seem more of a bad news for the world, but it might just be a blessing in disguise. According to Xi Jinping, this slower growth rate of China’s economy is the “new normal”. He’s most probably right. Slow economic growth is not normal, but it could be seen as an accomplishment. As what Barry Naughton, an economist has said “China’s growth is slowing because it graduated early”.

Currently, China is considered as a middle-income country due to their high standard of living and high salaries. Note that high wages mean high cost of living, it also signifies loss of low-cost manufacturing to other countries such as Vietnam and Mexico. China has also exhausted their growth potential from foreign technologies. Most of the high-tech industries in China are almost at par with their Western competition.

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What Savoury Chef Foods Has to Offer

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Chef Taryn Wa and her partner Kyle Nordman established the Savoury Chef Foods catering way back 2006 as a personal catering company. However, with the overwhelming support of their clients, they slowly expanded into a high class catering company and events coordinator that offers a wide variety of menus for special events such as corporate parties, wedding celebrations, and other social gatherings. From Asian-inspired menus to classic cuisines, they’ve become popular for their elegantly cooked meals along a wide range of cooking genres.

What started as a two-man business has evolved into a 40 full-time staffs in a 10,000 square foot commercial building. They have a production hub situated in the Strathcona neighborhood in Vancouver, catering to thousands of satisfied guests giving excellent reviews.

Although a lot has changed from 2006, Savoury Chef has remained committed to utilizing fresh, local ingredients in every cuisine it serves; primarily because for them, fresh produce tastes way better than preserved ones. They constantly renew their menus to ensure that they would serve the best of what Vancouver has to offer.

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Strathcona neighborhood in Vancouver

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Alternative to Banks? Think Twice

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According to financial experts, it is very irresponsible to say or even suggest that the fringe financial services like payday loan and check cashing are viable or better alternatives to banks. These fringe financial services charge very high fees but until now, there is no concrete figure of how high they become. In the reports, an underbanked family is spending over an average of $2,400 to fringe services, this amount is an astounding figure and worse, they are people who belong in the bracket of low income.

In numerous studies, they said that banking services are often associated with an increased financial stability at the same time giving customers the ability to transact, save, reduce chances of predator lending and theft and gain more access to competitive and fair loans. The problem is that bank accounts are also getting more expensive, trickier and they even have hidden costs but these factors should not impair the 93 million undeserved and unbanked American citizens to fringe services.

Yes, it cannot be denied that there are legitimate payday loan lenders like the QuickQuid and other major companies giving aid to people who need immediate cash. The bottom line into this problem is for every borrower to become responsible to avoid the huge charges and fees imposed by these companies. (more…)

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Housing Finance Institutions to Reduce Rates

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While the Reserve Bank of India pushes lending institutions to make loans cheaper, a huge number of home loan applicants that borrowed money from small lending institutions are yet to reap the benefits of softer monetary policies.

More often than not, borrowers who cannot loan from big banks have financial problems that need to be addressed; this is why some of them resort to small-scale lenders that may or may not offer them high interest rates. If you are in this situation, you might want to hire the best credit repair companies first before borrowing money from banks to ensure that you’d get the best interest rates for your loans.

Smaller Lending Institutions

Smaller lending institutions hold on to their rates primarily because they said that the cost of borrowing money has not yet dipped in the last few months.

Anil Kothuri, the retail finance chief executive officer of Edelweiss, said, “We are waiting for all banks to reduce the base rates. Banks are the primary conduit of monetary transmission.”

A number of banks under the State Bank of India have reduced their base rate by approximately 15-30 basis points since the month of April; however, there are many that are yet to make for cheaper loans. Small housing finance companies (HFC) actually borrow about 1/3 of their funding from bigger banks. Thus, a reduction of at least 15 to 30 basis points in banks’ base interest rates would reduce the borrowing costs of these HFCs by about 5 to 10 basis points assuming that other costs would remain equal.

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Refinancing from the National Housing Bank

Approximately 30 to 40% of the funds come by some sort of refinancing from the National Housing Bank and the money they have raised from short-term money market.

R Nambirajan, the DHFL Vysya Housing Finance managing director, said, “Unless all banks reduce their base rates and NHB lowers prime lending rates, we can’t make any meaningful reduction in our lending rates for existing customers.”

The refinance rate of NHB depends according to the internal credit rating that is assigned by it to the HFC and the repayment period. It periodically changes the rates in accordance to the company’s profile.

Some companies said that they might have to lower rates soon in order to compete in the market. Kothuri said, “We will change lending in line with the movement in the market, especially banks’ home loan rates.”

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How do you spend your Tax Refund?

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If you’re like most taxpayers, you’d be looking forward to the tax refund this year since it might just going to be a huge amount. As of mid-march, there has been over 60 million refunds issued that averages to nearly $3,000 per person. For many, this extra cash feels like a windfall on the budget as it can be used to pay off a payday loan. Although it may be very tempting to spend the refund irresponsibly, spending it wisely would help you work toward your financial goals and gear yourself towards financial success in no time.

Finance experts recommend doing the following things when you receive your tax refunds.

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Invest in Business

The founder of Wealthy Single Mommy, Emma Johnson, tries to ensure that she’d get even a small tax refund; “because I’ careful not to give the Fed an interest-free loan — and you should be, too!” she says. She got a modest tax refund last year and used it to fund her business upgrade.

“I put the $1,200 toward my website redesign, which is an investment in my business,” says Johnson.

Purchase a Car in Cash

Tax refunds offer a great opportunity to prevent debt when buying something that is essential. For Debt RoundUp’s Grayson Bell, the best thing he ever purchased using his tax refund was his Jeep Wrangler which was bought in cash.

Bell said, “I’ve always been a fan of Jeeps and when I sold my business, I wanted to get a jeep. Unfortunately, I didn’t have money at the time. I waited until tax refund season as I was expecting a good amount back. After the refund came, I went to a used dealer lot, which had a yellow Jeep Wrangler I had been eyeing. I was able to talk them down a few thousand dollars and it was mine. It was the first vehicle I paid cash for and that felt good. I sold it a year later for a nice profit and bought another one after a unique opportunity arose!”

Maxing out IRA

The tax refund season is also a good way to catch up or get ahead with your savings for retirement, according to J. Money of Budgets Are Sexy. He decided to max out his Roth IRA account in the hopes of achieving financial freedom one day.

Treat it like a Paycheck

For Stefanie of “The Broke and Beautiful Life”, she treated her tax refund as an ordinary paycheck; dividing it up and putting money to her savings, retirement, expenses, and some to recreation as well. She also views it as a bonus that helps her closer to achieving her financial goals.

“My tax refund is like a little bonus credit, almost like leap year. I say it buys me time because I have to spend time making money. I know I worked for it, of course, but when it all banks up like that and I get the surplus back in one chunk, it’s like a little bonus day.”

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B2 Interactive Recently Acquired Storage.com: A Premium Domain

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According to the news recently, the premium domain named as Storage.com has been acquired by B2 Interactive. This domain has been registered since October 1994 and after 21 years, they finally decided to sell it. The seller is a subsidiary of the Extra Space Management Inc. named as Self Storage CO.

The Self Storage CO said that after its involvement with the Storage.com’s operation for several years, they want to sell the site. This company has become the vendor of different services and recently, it has been the licensing, development and marketing partner of B2 Interactive which is based in Omaha, Nebraska. The purchase includes different names, all intellectual property as well as the on-going business activities and concerns of the website. However, financial terms are not disclosed.

The founders of B2 Interactive have been in the business to provide online marketing services for the industry of self-storage. They started in 1998 when Bill Hipsher, the co-founder built the industry’s first online directory while his co-founder and partner, Brandon Taylor has been in the development of websites for the industry which includes websites for both small and large operators since 2000. Also, the team includes both digital and storage marketing professionals that have great contributions in providing services that deals with online marketing.

The Storage.com is going to be entirely operated and owned by B2 Interactive in Omaha, Nebraska. Since 2012, they hired over 80 employees to serve the industry’s digital marketing needs through their self-storage sites as well as providing SEO, web development and marketing services to so many other national, regional and local firms. Hipsher said that the company has been working diligently since the very beginning so that they can build a team which can perform their vision for Storage.com. He further said that there were limitations on how to execute the vision for Storage.com until they were able to buy this site. With the purchase, they can confidently say that they are very determined to develop the site in such a way that they can provide real value to the owners of self-storage.

In the coming days, Storage.com will release their plans for additional services and improvements because B2 Interactive does not only want to make this site as an online marketplace but to continually build out services for the benefit of the storage owners at the same time provide services for the agency clients.

B2 Interactive wants to assure the clients that the services of Storage.com will have no changes or disruptions. In fact, the team that operates the site remains intact. Also, there will be no changes of the rentals.

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New Rules on Retirements Savings

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US President Obama is going for tighter regulations among financial advisers that handle IRA and 401K retirement plans. He claims that the middle-class is getting their money ripped off by their financial advisers.

Obama said at the AARP, “Because of bad advice, because of skewed incentives, because of a lack of protection, you could end up in a situation where you lose some of your hard-earned money simply because your adviser isn’t required to put your interest first. The truth is, most people don’t even realize it’s happening.”

The new rule would necessitate financial advisers that handle retirement accounts to act in the best interest of their clients, thereby adhering to the “fiduciary” standards that don’t exist as of the moment.

According to Obama, the idea pushed this rule is that in which advisers are given extra to recommend particular funds, giving incentives for bad advices which costs investors in the long run.

However, the new regulation won’t take effect immediately. It will still be passed by the Department of Labor and is still subject to comments and suggestion from the public and the congress. According to the Department of Labor, they will take criticisms into consideration before finalizing everything.

The senior policy counsel of the Consumers Union based in DC, Pamela Banks, said that this new ruling would definitely help investors.

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Banks said during press release, “These rules would help out consumers first by removing conflicts of interest among brokers and other financial retirement advisers, closing loopholes, and raising accountability for the industry.”

According to the White House, it implies savings for the investors. They claim that the middle class that receive biased advices experiences 1% point lower returns on their retirement investments, totaling up to $17 billion losses nationwide per year.

According to Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, on the other hand, a 2010 study for “fiduciary” requirement finds that investors in IRA could have paid 75 to 195 percent more under the 2010 plan. They say that UK retirement investors experienced reduced access to investment advisers and low-balance accounts have reduced under similar rulings.

Aside from all of this, investors should always remember that the new rule will affect IRAs more than 401K retirement accounts. This is primarily because 401K plans are working around the element of fiduciary responsibilities. To know more about this, visit http://www.goldirareporter.com/rollovers/.

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The Components that Makes Up Your Financial Scores

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Do you have an idea what your credit score is? Many things actually depend on it including your ability to obtain credit card or buy a home. Most importantly, how much do you actually know about credit scores?

Let us try to educate ourselves on how credit rating processes work in some of the best credit repair companies.

According to Le Fevre, the director of operations at Equifax Canada, “The biggest component in delivering a score is the payment history of that consumer. So that includes: is everything paid on time? Has there been a late payment or periodic late payments?”

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Note that the payment rating system ranges from 0 to 9, with zero as a new account. If you pay within a month after the due date, you’d have an R1. If you’re below 30 days late; however, this information may not even reach Equifax.

If your 1 to 2 months past your due date; you will move down to R2; 4 months past the due date, however, will drop to R5. This continues down until you reach R9 which is grounds for closure of your account due to non-payment.

Edmonton mortgage broker, Natalie Wellings, said, “Another big thing is how close your balance is to your limit. If you are close to your limit, your credit score drops. So whether your limit is $500 or $5,000, when you are close to your limit, it drops your score.”

Another component for good credit scores is that when the longer you keep your account and the longer you keep up with good payment behaviors, such as no late payments, the better your credit scores will be.

Note that the different types of credits you have will definitely carry different types of weight.

“You look at a mortgage, every month, the amount owed will come down because of the payments being made,” says Le Fevre.

Meanwhile, you can easily max out your credit card or have a huge cellphone bill in any given day. Thus, there is more risk involved.

While it is true that every time your credit gets checked, your scores would drop a little, it is not to the extent that you actually imagine. When looking around for mortgage, there’s this belief that going to mortgage brokers than banks is better primarily because they only check your credit scores once to apply to multiple lenders.

According to Le Fevre, you shouldn’t fear on shopping around. “When you’re applying for a car loan or a mortgage, the system recognizes that you may be… going to multiple locations,” he said.

You may check credit ratings through free regular credit reports. The information they provide will alert you whether there are any suspicious activities on your account that may have an effect on your credit.

Thomas Smale

With Mobile Usage Increase, Facebook Dominated Social Logins

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Fuelled by the giant leap of mobile usage, for four straight years, Facebook has dominated the social login market. This report is according to Gigya, a customer management firm. It increased 15% in mobile sign-ins during the last quarter of 2014 and now, 77% of users who are signing on to websites using their mobile devices use Facebook for the authentication of their identity. The increase of mobile usage helped Facebook gained an additional 3 percentage points to their overall market share that stand at 61%. This is the highest since 2011 as reported by Gigya.

At the second spot is Google which fell 12 percentage points and only added 2 percentage points to their overall rating. On the other hand, Yahoo and Twitter remained at 6% overall but the trajectory of Yahoo in 2014 decreased, they lost 9 percentage points that started in 2013’s last quarter while Twitter gained by only 2 percentage points.  It must be noted too that the results of Gigya were drawn from over 300,000 sites over its network, thus; it may differ from their competitors in the industry. Facebook had an advantage in the last quarter of 2014 compared to Google at a very slim difference of 43% to 40% while with LoginRadius, Facebook still leads with a 65%-25% difference.

Thomas Smale
The results vary but the key point for all marketers is to provide the customers with a seamless experience in any platforms and devices. The CMO of Gigya, Dave Scott said, most customers do not differentiate the usage between desktop and mobile but the adoption of mobile social login will not go away. Marketers should figure out ways to create a great experience in all platforms and it should start by creating an identity record of every customer. This will provide businesses the capability to have a better understanding of their customers. Scott further said that there is an ongoing revolution with regards to customer identity, the idea of where is the data stored for the business’ customers, where is the true storage of the customer data, what they buy, who they are and what are they going to purchase next.

Right now, most of the companies seal the data off, the application on the mobile platform has also its own database and so does the web application including the POS system. This year, there is a need to combine all the database records in one platform. To better understand this matter and learn from the most experienced people in Internet business, you can attend the BHW Conference where they tapped top-notch speakers to help everyone in the industry maximize business opportunities. One of the talented speakers is Thomas Smale, the co-founder of FE International.