Do you feel that getting out of debt is like climbing a mountain but never getting to the top?
If you do, you’re not alone – millions of people in the UK are in exactly the same situation – but fortunately, with the right advice, you can work toward being back in control of your finances.
We’ll take you through 4 easily achieved first steps that you can do today – each one taking you closer to resolving your money problems by tomorrow.
If you’re anything like millions of other people in the country, the idea of opening your letters from creditors is one that fills you with dread. However, it’s important to understand why ignoring them can leave you in an even more dire situation.
Debt doesn’t go away, no matter what tricks people say exist – and actually, the companies you owe money to are likely to be far more understanding if you talk to them.
So, step one needs to involve pulling all those letters out of the drawer and opening them. If you feel too anxious to do it alone, ask a trusted and non-judgemental family member to come and support you while you do it, it always feels good to have someone on your side.
Make a note of all the companies you owe money to, the most recent amount they’ve requested and any account numbers you have. It might not feel like it, but facing up to the problem is an enormous part of the battle.
No one expects you to go without paying your rent, mortgage or other important outgoings to clear your debt – which is why it’s really important that you work out what your incomings and outgoings look like every month.
Working this out is a little time consuming – but you only need to do it once – and when it’s done, you can add and takeaway the numbers to get a good understanding of your spending.
Start with a piece of paper and a pen, make a list of everything you have to pay in the month. To begin with it’s important just to focus on the ‘essentials’, rent, mortgage, bills, payments and food and clothing costs.
Then make a note of all the money that’s brought into the household. That could be your salary, partner’s income, benefit payments… and so forth. Total up both of these lists. By taking the essential outgoings amount away from the overall income amount, you get the remainder that you’ve got to work with for the month.
Now, it might look like a lot, it might look like a little – but you’re not finished with it yet. Start a third list, adding up everything that you spend money on that isn’t an ‘essential’ – that might be nights out, hobbies, smoking – and so on.
It might shock you what these things add up to. Creating a budget like this is useful in two ways – first to give you an idea of how you really spend your money – meaning you can make changes if you like, and secondly, creditors and debt management companies might want to get an understanding of how much you can afford to repay – so doing it now shows that you’re willing to start working on the problem.
Now, it’s easy to just tell you to start calling all your creditors and negotiating amounts of repayments with them – but in reality, this can be an extremely difficult process for an individual to manage.
Generally, the first company you speak to will want you to repay them as much as is possible – but where does that leave you with other companies that you owe? It’s very difficult to balance your repayments and make sure every company is satisfied.
For that reason, it’s worth talking to a company who can help you negotiate your position with all your creditors.
For an in depth view of what a company like this will do for you, have a look at this 2017 National Debt Relief Review (Recent Update). Essentially, you’ll have someone on your side who’s working with all your information and negotiating repayments that suit your budget – and satisfy your creditors. What’s more, they’re specially trained to negotiate with businesses, meaning they’re likely to get you a better deal than doing it yourself.
If you want to take the anxiety and logistical planning out of the picture, a company like this can be a massive help.
When you worked out your budget you got to a figure that was left after you took your outgoings from your income – this is generally referred to as your ‘disposable’ income.
Digging deep into how you spend this might give you a few shocks – especially when you add things up over the course of a month or a year. The best place to start looking at amounts of money that you don’t realise you’re spending is direct debits, recurring card payments and subscriptions.
Companies can be quite crafty in how they take your money – for example, you’re less likely to miss a small subscription payment when it’s taken just after your payday – whereas that extra small amount could be really helpful when it comes to paying bills toward the end of the month.
Look at on-demand TV packages, phone bills, gym memberships and magazine subscriptions and ask yourself “do I really need these things?” – sure, they might be a luxury, but if you’re watching a couple of movies every month – is it worth subscribing the channels?
After that, look at habitual spending – even take away coffees and lunchtime meal deals all add up.
No two people’s lifestyles are exactly the same – and we all need different things to get us through the day – but it’s really important to consider what you spend your money on – and whether it’s hindering your ability to pay off nagging debt. A series of small sacrifices now can mean you get a better night’s sleep when you don’t have debt to worry about further down the line.
A claims management company might seem like a good option at first especially if you’ve suffered a more serious personal injury and don’t really feel like going through the process of finding a solicitor yourself. But while they can be helpful there are some downsides and possible risks you should be aware of. This is why we always suggest you research and also consider going with a local injury attorney.
Inexperienced and Underqualified
OK, this isn’t the case with all claims management companies, but it is something you should be aware of. When compared to a solicitor or law firm a claims management company won’t be able to offer the same level of legal advice and assistance.
They can work with solicitors or they can handle your claim on their own, and while both methods have their positives and negatives the end result for you will likely result in less compensation than if you’d just gone to a solicitor in the first place.
Claims management companies also have a negative reputation for simply selling your case on to a solicitor who offers the most money, rather than doing anything to actually assist or help manage your case. So, if you are considering using a claims management company you should ask them about their experience and try to find out how exactly they will assist you first.
They Are To General
Claims management companies don’t just focus on personal injury claims they offer to manage all kinds of legal matters and claims. This might sound useful at first, but it does mean that claims management companies take a more general approach to their work.
This means that they might not be able to provide you with all the help and legal advice you’ll need or simply won’t be able to get you the maximum amount of compensation you deserve. It might be easier to go to a claims management company than to find a solicitor yourself but the time you save could result in less compensation.
They Can Be Expensive
Claims management companies might save you time and effort in the early stages of making a claim but that doesn’t come without a cost. When you’re dealing with a solicitor it’s always advisable to work with one offering a no win no fee deal.
A claims management company will likely do the same thing however that means you’ll have to pay them on top of any solicitor that also works on your case. This will cut into your compensation amount and you could end up losing a lot of your compensation money in order to pay your fees.
If your claims management company doesn’t use a solicitor, then they will likely be wanting you to settle out of court. This means you will likely make less money and won’t get all the compensation you are due, and on top of that, the claims management company will also be taking a cut of your money as well.
If you don’t want to go to court, then this might not be a problem for you but claims management companies can be very expensive and finding out exactly how much commission they will take can be difficult. There can be hidden costs to factor in that aren’t covered by the no win no fee rule as well.
So, Should I Use A Claims Management Company?
If you were to ask a solicitor that question the answer will likely be a resounding no, but I’ll be a little more balanced. I can see the benefits of using a claims management company especially when it comes to personal injury claims, it allows you to take more of a backseat to the process which can be very beneficial for someone who’s suffered an injury.
People usually don’t factor in the time and effort it takes when it comes to claiming compensation so getting a middle man in the shape of a claims management company can seem like a great idea at the time.
However, there are a lot of issues with them, the costs are probably the most serious problem for a lot of people after all the financial impact of personal injury can be very serious, but some claims management companies are also very lax and inexperienced. So, if you do want to use one then make sure you do your research and find out what exactly they can do to help you.
When it comes to financial matters, it’s easy to become confused. There are a lot of industry buzzwords that can have people scratching their heads and leaving them with no clear direction as to where they stand financially. This is when we need to seek the advice of a financial expert, who will be in a position to offer you guidance and advice that looks to steer you in the right direction when it comes to planning for your future.
However, just because we’re not financial experts doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t educate ourselves on some of the methods available when it comes to planning for our retirement, and ensure that we’re getting the tax benefits we’re entitled to.
An Individual Retirement Account, also referred to as an IRA, is a savings account that allows people to plan for the future. The type of account a person hold can depend on many factors, with the most obvious being where they stand financially. This kind of savings plan
A general Individual Retirement Account would more than likely consist of paper-based assets, such as bonds or stocks. However, they are similar services available that are catered towards those in possession of precious metals, namely gold.
A Gold IRA has many similarities to a standard IRA, only it consists of gold. These effectively allow a person to diversify their investment portfolio.
Why Use a Gold IRA Rollover?
Evidently, the overall context of a Gold IRA Rollover can be a little overwhelming, as many may assume that this means that they have to store high-value precious metals in their home. Actually, the opposite is true.
There are many stringent rules to follow when it comes to taking out a Gold IRA, and the most prominent one is that the gold must be stored with a custodian, often a bank or brokerage firm.
With this is in mind, people may still be confused as to why they should opt for a Gold IRA as opposed to one targeted towards stocks and shares. When making investments it can be important not to invest into one singular market. For example, if someone only had a portfolio that consisted of property investments, and the market was to lose its value, so too would the investments.
While having a Gold IRA is not a magic wand against any financial disaster, it does allow people who possess one to at least recoup the value from another segment of their portfolio – mineweb.net – rollover your 401k to gold IRA. Another factor to consider is that gold is always valuable. True, it can have moments in the market can see shares rise and fall in equal proportions, but this only goes to show about how much activity there is when it comes to purchasing gold.
Why Is Gold So Valuable?
Gold is a precious metal that is yearned after by many. Whether it’s a fine watch, or fillings for teeth, people are always happy to pay that little bit extra for something they can rely on. While the aesthetic qualities of gold are obvious enough, not everyone will know just how resilient gold can be. Whereas metals like iron and steel are prone to rust once oxygen and moisture and exposed, gold does not rust simply because it is a pure metal and doesn’t contain iron. It was actually this reason that gold coins were introduced to many of our ancestors.
The fact that gold is a much sought-after metal means that supplies can be limited, thus the hefty asking price associated with the popular precious metal.
Gold can also be a luxury item, which means sales originate from a series of demographics, be it tech enthusiasts looking for a bespoke games console, or someone showing someone close to them how important they are.
Are There Any Drawbacks to a Gold IRA?
When it comes to any kind of investment, there can never be certainty. While there are many things we can do to try and steer the value, we never know what tomorrow will bring. However, this doesn’t mean that you should assume that the market is coming to a halt anytime soon.
Investing is only the first step of a portfolio, we also have to ensure that we’re proactive, and have the right people on board to help us in our quest.
With this in mind, your first port of call should be to find a vendor for your gold that is both knowledgeable and experienced. There are probably many of us who refer to reviews online before buying a new car or smartphone, and the same should be true for gold vendors. With the Internet being more personalised than ever, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do a quick background check on any potential vendors to ensure they’re reputable.
If seeking legal advice, then you also need to ensure that your financial advisor is fully-versed in the world of gold investments.
Converting Current Retirement Plans
The prospect of a Gold IRA could be an attractive one, but you may feel it’s not viable as you have already set up a IRA elsewhere. Again, using the right kind of vendor will ensure that process is started in the right way. The current law dictates that those currently interested in a Gold IRA need to start with a rollover for a current retirement plan, such as a 401(k), 401(b), 403(b), 457 or Thirst Savings Plan. A Gold IRA carried out via rollover ensures that the investment has a lot more value than compared to just starting an IRA. This is because even with maximum contributions on your part, the IRA could potentially take a few years to accumulate enough to make it worthwhile.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to rolling over to a Gold IRA, but with the right expertise and advice, there’s very little reason as to why a Gold IRA Rollover can’t provide you with some much-needed security for the future.
The rising costs of energy are making home bills extremely difficult for people who cannot afford any further expense. The cost of power is often in the news are energy companies seem to continually announce price hikes, in fact, annual household fuel bills have doubled in the last 15 years with many of the UK’s population now having to enter into agreements such as an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) . Unfortunately for most of us, we waste vast amounts of energy thanks to the inefficiencies of our homes.
To save money on your heating bills, here are some of the best ways to lower your bills by changing your energy consumption or simply being energy savvy.
When you choose your energy supplier you often look for the cheapest deal; however energy companies know that people find it much more convenient to stay on the same tariff and will increase the price discreetly. To combat this, make sure you shop around after your minimum contract length is up, to find a better deal and to avoid hefty exit fees.
Remember that dual fuel tariffs will often be cheaper and mean that you only have one bill and one supplier to deal with. If you spot that your current provider has just released a new cheaper deal, give them a call, and they should be able to swap you over to their new deal without paying exit fees.
When changing energy supplier, it is a good idea to shop around and use a switching service. Switching services are paid incentives by the energy providers to get customers to choose their service, and these services will often offer freebies such as cashback or gifts for a bonus thank you, not only for switching, but using the switch service too.
Appliances on standby mode waste serious amounts of cash through burning electricity. While many people remember to turn the TV off, it is actually smaller devices that consume the most energy and money. It’s been predicted that leaving a coffee machine on standby could add £10 a month to your electricity bill, so power off at the wall for everything you don’t use frequently and you could save yourself a tidy sum.
A simple way to reduce energy costs is by unplugging your mobile phone when it has finished charging. Many people leave their electronic devices to charge overnight which is wasting a considerable amount of money in energy costs.
While a smart meter won’t save you money in itself, it will highlight all the energy that your household uses that day and transforms this amount into a cost function for you. By having your smart meter prominent, you can see how much money you spend on energy every single day, and you’ll start to hunt out appliances in your home that are left on needlessly.
Having a smart meter will transform energy saving into a competition, and you’ll be encouraged to be more energy efficient as you can see the results in real-time.
A lot of energy and warmth sneaks out of your home through draughts and gaps which mean that your central heating has to work overtime. There are many ways to draughtproof your home that you don’t have to spend a fortune for. Draughtproof strips around doors and letterboxes work wonders. Just adding draughtproof seals to your door can save £35 a year on your energy bills and they usually only cost around £5.
You can make cute and quirky draught excluders using your favourite fabrics filled with sand. These draught excluders not only look great and are tailored to your unique style, but they are also cheap to make and can stop those uncomfortable cold draughts from sneaking under doors.
40% of your heating escapes through doors and windows, so these are a good place to start to reduce your energy bills. If new energy efficient glass and doors are too expensive, consider lining the door and windows with heavy curtains and blinds to trap the heat in.
Secondary glazing is a cheaper alternative to replacing your windows with new energy efficient styles. Secondary glazing adds another pane of glass inside the window, without affecting the windows original functionality.
When considering replacing doors and windows, it is wise to consider the investment and how long it will take you to recuperate the initial expense through energy saving. If the energy saving methods will pay for themselves in a short time frame, they make a wise investment. If it takes years to see a return, it may be better to look for alternatives.
For more advice on how families can save money check out this post Top 10 Budgeting Tips for Low Income Families
Having goals, whether it is academic, work, relationship, ambitions and other sources such as finances, requires a lot of hard work, consistency, and patience. Whether you are making a short or long-term plan, it is important that you pay attention to what you have thought of planning. Setting your goals to a certain period of time will help you achieve it best and a success of fulfilling your dreams in making it to a reality. Imagine the moment of harvest after all that you have done in years? For sure you are longing for that moment to come too. However, that can be hastened in just less than 10 years. How is it possible? Well there are various personal debt solutions that can help such as an IVA or Trust Deed.
Financial freedom – is one goal that not everyone has achieved and for the most part, it seemed like everyone is in bondage with debts. Being tied up with debt is a big deal and you should also seek debt help when you can. Why? Because it sucks up all of your finances such as your savings and investment and if this goes on, you can never experience the abundance of living life to the fullest. That would be a total nightmare! Although it can be avoided that out of 100% there are about 90% that are not debt free. How are you going to pay all your debts and move on with your life goals? Here are few tips that will serve as a guideline.
Eliminating debts – for you to achieve your goals, you definitely need to set your mind first. Getting motivated in increasing your resources helps you to gain more. Acknowledging your needs from your wants is another step of mind setting. It is important that you know your needs first before your wants. For some people, eliminating the “wants” makes savings better. As you set goals such as paying all your debts in a span of few months, you’d be surprised as to how you have paid everything else.
Diversifying – after you have paid all your debts, surely you can begin to save and invest your hard-earned money. Opportunities come and it is up to your choices as to how you’re going to create your goals into a success. Always set your money for something and do not focus on just one jar of money for savings and investment.
Saving for an investment– start protecting yourself, family and even your business (if you have one). Keep in mind that what you are earning in your business should only be meant for your business and not for personal endeavours. As mentioned, if you want your life goals to be achieved in less than 10 years, you’ll need to diversify. This will create a massive wealth that you will never expect to happen.
Do not exchange time for money – others tend to spend most of their time working to make sure that financial freedom can be achieved. But that is not the case, having the time, savings, investment and the time should work for you.
Learning to say “NO”– there are a lot of times you get to say “Yes” especially, it if interests you the most. Keep in mind that most people who are involved with debts it is because of the lack of the right mind to decide when it comes to spending money. Always give yourself some second thoughts before you’re going to decide. Saying “NO” does not mean you are closing an opportunity but because you know what is right and best for you cause.
Commitment to success – everyone wants to succeed and you are not exempted from doing it too. Financial freedom is a goal that you can achieve as long as you are grounded with people who can help you in terms of financial decisions and a life-long happiness towards financial success.
Review Your Credit Score – Its also important that you keep a close on your credit score as this will also impact whether or not you can get credit. This is a great article with some top tips on how to improve your credit score!