How Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Can Change Your Life

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I advise you to research well and consider the type of mortgage you intend to take on carefully. If you commit to a full term endowment, for example, you can’t pay it off early. That means that you have limited options. A straightforward repayment mortgage, on the other hand, offers you some flexibility in the way you handle your finances. You must, of course, make sure that you can make extra payments on it before you take it out, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

In the early days, most of your payments go towards the interest on the loan and little comes off the balance. If you can reduce the balance quickly, they cannot charge as much interest on it. Then, more of your monthly payments will go towards reducing the balance further. It is easy to see why you can save tens of thousands of pounds that way. The guys at Hampton estate agents fees in Amersham reckon you can reduce the term of the loan significantly by paying a third again on top of your monthly repayments.

But what will you do with the money you save on the mortgage when you own the property? Here are some awesome ideas.

Holiday Home

Many people choose to splash out on a second home in the sun. Europe is open for business, and you can find property over there for a bargain price if you are wise. Even if you have to take on another mortgage to fund the purchase, you know what to do. In ten years or less, the place could belong to you. Renting it out when you are not there will bring in an extra income too. That sounds idyllic to me!

Home Improvements

You could invest some of your money back into the house by improving it. Think about adding extra bedrooms with an extension or loft conversion. An indoor swimming pool would make you the envy of your neighbours; there are some stunning pool enclosures on the market.

Holidays

You deserve a holiday of a lifetime where you can experience all of the places you ever wanted to see. Maybe a cruise around the Mediterranean is your style, or would you prefer an African safari? There are too many options to list here, but you get the picture.

Automobiles

Men and women alike have a passion for vintage cars. Now that you can afford one, which will it be? Ferrari have produced some incredible works of art over the years; there is sure to be one to suit your image.

Boarding School

My kids couldn’t wait for me to win the lottery. Little did they know that they would find themselves in private education if I did. If your horrors are making your life a misery, pack them off to boarding school so that you can enjoy peace and quiet once more. Seriously though, the threat may be all it takes to bring them in line.

When your home is free of debt, a world of possibilities opens up before you. What will you spend you cash on? It is a personal choice, but the suggestions above appeal to me; especially the last one. For now, pour a shot of whiskey and light a cigar with a banknote. Make the most of a mortgage-free life; you deserve it.

Money Matters: Your Guide to Tax Levies

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In a nutshell, an IRS tax levy has the potential to seize all of your assets to compensate them for your back tax liability. Here are a few things you could lose; checking and savings accounts and inheritances. As well as; property, pensions, insurance policies, and anything else that is of value and has your name attached to it:

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With thanks to Alan Cleaver for the image

Why Are Tax Levies Filed?

There are two stages that need to be satisfied before a tax levy can be filed against you. A tax levy is filed against you when you have unpaid back-dated taxes. In addition to this, you must also have not cooperated with the IRS when they have demanded that your tax be paid up-to-date.

A tax levy being filed against you is not the first stage in the process, it is the last. Before you receive a tax levy from the IRS, you would have received a number of phone calls and/or letters. These correspondences would have requested that you pay back what is owed in unpaid tax.

What Are The Effects Of An IRS Tax Levy?

The IRS can seize your assets 30 days after you have received your IRS tax levy. The process starts when the IRS sends out a notice to all third parties that you have a financial connection to. These third parties will include your bank and your employer. All third parties will honour the IRS requests and notices. If they do not, they are held liable for your owed tax amount. There are no hiding places if you have been issued a notice of intent from the IRS.

Are There Different Types of IRS Tax Levies?

Yes. There are a number of different types of IRS tax levy that you can be issued with. They are normally determined by your personal financial and tax situation.

The most common form of levy is the IRS tax levy on wages, which collects money direct from your employer. Another form of levy is to take the money directly from your checking and savings account.

Depending on the situation, the IRS may also issue a tax levy to seize any physical assets from you. This can include you home and car.

I Have A Tax Levy From The IRS. What Do I Do?

You need to do the right thing and address the issue at hand. You will need to face the IRS head on and deal with your tax levy. Luckily there are a number of things you can do to get the IRS tax levy lifted.

Getting the IRS Tax Levy Lifted

First of all, contact the IRS and ask for a repayment plan to be set-up. If you do not have the financial means to repay what is owed then you will have to prove financial hardship.

I Can’t Get the IRS Tax Levy Lifted

You do have the right to appeal if you do not believe the IRS has made the right decision. You can also appeal on the amount that is owed. For more information on the appeals process, you will have to visit the IRS website.

 

What To Do If You’ve Received A Cash Windfall

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Cash is the basic monetary unit that makes the world go round, in a sense! Without cash, we wouldn’t be able to buy things, and would have to resort to bartering for goods and services!

Most people get along in life just fine with the money that they earn through their employment with some folks obviously earning more than others! So it can be a welcome surprise if you are just “managing” in a financial sense, and you benefit from a decent cash windfall!

Whether you have inherited some money from a recently-deceased relative or friend, or are the beneficiary of an investment that has matured, if that new stack of cash is burning a hole in your pocket, what should you do with it?

Rather than flying to Las Vegas and blowing it all on poker games and slot machines, there are some practical things you can do with the extra money. Here are some ideas to help you:

Pay off your debts

People often say that it is better to pay off your debts than to save up money at the same time, and I agree with them.

Because the money you owe will most likely have interest added onto the balance, the longer you have outstanding balances, the more money you will owe. If your cash windfall isn’t sufficient to pay off all of your debts, pay the ones with the highest amount of interest; these are usually credit cards.

Fix your car

One thing that George from Hilton Garage recommends you do is to use some of the money to fix your car if it needs repair work.

Most of us rely upon our cars to get to work and back each day, and the last thing we want to do is spend ages going on public transport and potentially ending up late for work, as a result. Of course, there should be a limit to the amount you spend on your repairs.

If the required repairs exceed the total value of the car, it is wiser to trade in your car for a newer, more-reliable model and use some of your cash windfall to pay for it.

Fix your house

Anyone that owns a house will have some repairs that need completing, such as plastering, guttering, or even double-glazing.

Most of us put these jobs off because they cost a lot of money, but now that you have a cash windfall you could put that money to good use and repair your home, whilst increasing its value in the process.

Invest your money

Would you rather make your money work for you? If so, you should consider investing it. There are all sorts of commodities that you can invest in.

One popular way that people invest their spare cash is by lending it to others through peer-to-peer lending websites such as Zopa. The type of risk category you lend to determines how much interest you make, with higher risk borrowers proving to be the highest interest earners.

 

Life Insurance: Do You Need It?

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Life insurance isn’t a necessity for everybody. However, if you have children, a partner, or another relative that depends on your income to cover the mortgage or other living expenses, then you need this kind of insurance. In the event of your death, the life insurance will provide for your family. Read on to learn more:

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Photo taken from Flickr

Life insurance can pay your dependants a lump sum, or give them regular payments if you die. Certain life insurance policies run for a fixed period of time, but will only pay out if you die within that period. There’s the option to get a whole of life policy that will pay out no matter when you die, providing you keep up with your premium payments.

There are some things to consider when it comes to life insurance. This insurance only covers you in the event of death – if you can’t provide for your family due to illness or injury, it won’t pay out.

You need to be sure of the terms of the life insurance policy you take out. Some may refuse to pay out if you die from drug/alcohol abuse, and you might even have to pay extra if you take part in a risky sport.

There are policies available with other types of cover, for example, critical illness and permanent disability.

A life insurance policy is suitable for people who have dependents like children, or a partner/relative who depend on their income. The money your family may get from the government wouldn’t be much at all if anything, so if you want to provide for your family in the event of your death you need to take out insurance.

The good thing about life insurance is that it can be good value for money if you’re young and healthy. You may only need to pay a few pence per day to provide your family with enough money to live on in the event of your death. Make sure you shop around first though – IH Life Insurance offer good value for money.

You wouldn’t dream of running off and leaving your children, partner, or a defendant relative with nothing to support themselves, but that’s exactly what it’ll be like if you die without life insurance. You may not know it, but your family will struggle not only emotionally, but financially without you. In order to ensure they continue to have the best life possible without you, you need to take the appropriate steps to protect them.

Who Doesn’t Need Life Insurance?

If you’re single with no dependants, then you may not need life insurance. However, you might want to put enough money aside to help with your funeral. It’s up to you!

Hopefully this guide will have helped you decide whether or not you need life insurance. Thinking about dying is never pleasant, but if we have dependants then we must do it for them. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments – thanks for reading!

 

Essential Motorhome Insurance Advice

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Whether you like it or not, you need insurance. If you are a motorhome owner, it is imperative that you ensure that you have the correct insurance policy in order to protect you and your motorhome. There are a number of considerations that you will need to think about prior to purchasing a new insurance policy. If you are a new motorhome owner and you don’t know where to start, this guide will give you practical advice in helping you choose the correct policy for you.

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With thanks to Chris Potter for the image

You need to ensure that you have the best plan. The right plan will allow you to get the most from your motorhome. After all, what is the point in spending a lot of money on insurance if you are not covered for all the things that you should be. What is more, your insurance may be null and void if you do not take out the correct policy, so not only will you be out of pocket but you could also be breaking the law.

 

  1. Never insure your motorhome under a normal car policy. You will be within a legal framework, but your motorhome isn’t a car. It needs specialist insurance. You can compare campervan insurance quotes at www.motorhomeinsurance.org.uk.
  2. Don’t purchase an insurance policy on price alone. While you may be getting a cheaper rate, you may not be covered for all eventualities. This means that while you save money in the short term, you may be out of pocket in the long term. After all, if you don’t have the right policy you could prove to make a very costly mistake.
  3. Do not assume that your policy covers everything. You need to read the documentation thoroughly and ensure that your cover meets your expectations. If it doesn’t, you can change your policy accordingly.
  4. As you well know, motorhomes are expensive. So, if you are looking at insurance make sure that you go for fully comprehensive cover. While fully comprehensive is more expensive than third-party, fire and theft cover, you will save yourself from a lot of financial heartache in the future. Spend a little now and see a return in the future.
  5. As there is a wide variety of motorhome types, you need to ensure that your vehicle is covered under current insurance policies. Talking to a specialist motorhome insurance company will help you with this. You cannot put a price on expert advice.
  6. One key point to remember is that if you are planning on travelling abroad that your motorhome insurance covers you for this. Some people prefer to use their motorhomes for domestic purposes only. However, if you are planning on travelling the world in yours, you need to make sure that you take out the right insurance.

One of the main things to remember when insuring your motorhome is that you have the correct cover for all eventualities. Do not be lured in by cheap introductory prices. This may result in you not being covered for every eventuality. While you make small savings now, this mistake could prove to be costly in the future. Of course, insurance is one of those necessary evils but do endeavour to take the correct policy out to avoid making expensive mistakes.

How to buy Cheap gas for Your Business

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All business owners should try to reduce their overheads, so finding a cheap, suitable energy supplier is important. Usually, electricity and gas is purchased well ahead of time, and energy companies speculate on the wholesale price movement. Consequently, when the energy comes to be sold, no two suppliers are in the same financial situation, so they charge different amounts.

As a result, to find the most competitive energy rates, it is wise to research the prices of several different suppliers, prior to choosing one. Thankfully, the world wide web has made this a simple task, because an energy supplier comparison website is the best way to find a good deal. A variety of suppliers and energy plans are offered throughout the UK. On many websites, you can type in your postcode, and it will list the suppliers that are local to you.  Have a look here for example: http://www.businessenergystore.com/half-hourly.

Another factor that can influence your choice of energy plan is the quantity of energy your company uses. Some energy firms will request a recent copy of your gas bill, to help them assess your present energy consumption. Some energy plans feature fixed standing fees, along with a reduced per unit price for electricity and gas. This is counterproductive for companies that use a relatively small amount of energy, but beneficial for companies with high energy consumption. Fixed priced plans allow businesses to know in advance how much their energy bills will be, so they can budget accordingly. For some business owners, this is considerably more convenient.

Occasionally, after using a comparison website, you may find that the most suitable energy plan for your business is through a provider that you are unfamiliar with. However, most of these websites display links to customer feedback scores as well. This means that you can compare different energy suppliers, based on price and customer ratings. In a worse case scenario, if your provider fails to maintain your energy supply, Ofgem has introduced measures to ensure that you are compensated.

Certainly, you should not experience any blips with your energy supply. The same cables and pipes will be used to deliver your gas and electricity. Therefore, when conducting your research into different energy plans, you can rest assured that there will be no power outages, if you do opt to change suppliers.

Although shopping around to ensure that you are getting value for money is important, reducing your energy consumption is a more effective way of lowering your energy costs. Installing half hourly meters on your business premises enables you to regularly check your energy usage. This way, you can identify money saving opportunities.

Half hourly meters measure power consumption every thirty minutes, and relay this data to your energy supplier. As a result, your readings are constantly updated, and no manual intervention is required. Best of all, you only have to pay for the power your company uses. The Business Energy Store, which was started by two brothers called Jonathan and Keith, specializes in the bespoke gas and half hourly markets.

Why Residential Landlord Insurance is Important

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It seems that many people have the same opinion on insurance that it is a necessary evil that we have to purchase. Changing your perception of insurance is the first thing that you need to do. As a landlord, you have certain responsibilities and a care of duty to your tenants. This is why landlords insurance is such an important factor when renting out property.

Should you have a buy-to-let property, you are naturally going to be keen on seeing a return on your investment. Sadly, not all tenants are well-behaved and law abiding. In the event that you have a particularly troublesome tenant, you are going to want to ensure that you insured so you do not see a loss on your most critical investment.

It is worth bearing in mind that while landlord insurance is not compulsory, and you are not breaking any laws by not having it, think about the reasons why you need it. The reason that you take out home insurance is as a precautionary measure. The same is with landlord insurance. By paying out a nominal fee every month, you are potentially saving yourself a small fortune in the long run. Similarly, can you afford to dip into your own savings to pay for any disrepair on the property? Discount landlord insurance is also available, so it may be worth doing some research before you purchase insurance.

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One key factor to remember is that home insurance and landlords insurance are very different things. If you are letting a property it is almost critical that you cover yourself with landlord insurance and not home insurance. While the cost may be higher, you will be entirely covered in the event that something goes wrong within the home. Sadly, a home insurance policy will become invalid if claimed upon by a landlord.

It may be wise to research the different types of insurance that are available to landlords. Certainly building cover is a sound investment, but taking out contents insurance may be a considerate waste of money. Contents insurance for landlords should only be taken out in the event that the property you are renting is furnished. It may be sensible to be covered by this kind of policy should you rent out homes that have white goods come with them as a standard. White goods are notoriously expensive and you do not want to face a huge bill to replace them in the event that something goes wrong while your property is being rented out.

Finally, as a landlord you have a responsibility to your tenants. In the event that something goes wrong within the home, do you have the financial backing to assist with their query? After all, the home is your investment, not theirs, so your tenant is going to be unlikely to fix the issues on your behalf. By taking out landlords insurance you can ensure that you are good landlord to your tenants and that you have financial assistance when you need it. Be a savvy landlord and take out the relevant policy today.

New Drivers: Here’s How To Drive Down The Cost Of Your Car Insurance!

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Perhaps the biggest benefit to learner drivers that have recently passed their driving test is that they can now go out and buy a car! It’s always great to go car shopping, because you get the opportunity to browse and test drive all sorts of different cars until you find “the one”.

As you will probably already know, in order to legally drive a car on public roads one of the things that you need to pay out for is car insurance. In a nutshell, car insurance is a legal requirement that entitles you to make a claim for theft or accidental damage, depending on the type of insurance policy you take out at the time.

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Image Credit: ** RCB **, via Flickr

Why is car insurance so high for new drivers?

It might not surprise you to learn that car insurance is generally dearer for new drivers on the road, especially if they are aged between 18 and 25 years old, as insurance companies deem such drivers as “high risk”.

Another reason that car insurance is significantly higher for new drivers is also down to insurance fraud. A minority of rogue drivers looking to make a quick buck stage car accidents or claim for injuries they don’t have in order to receive a large amount of compensation.

If you are struggling to work out how you can afford insurance for your car and you’ve only just passed your driving test, you are probably feeling somewhat depressed by now as it could potentially mean the difference between being able to drive your own car or not!

Luckily there are some tips to lower your car insurance premiums that insurance companies won’t openly tell you about (for obvious reasons)! Thanks to Driving Lessons Leeds for sharing these top tips with us.

Don’t buy a gas guzzler

When you are out shopping for your first car, it is important that you don’t opt for a model that will cost you a small fortune to insure! New drivers typically buy small cars such as city cars and superminis. Examples include the Fiat 500, Mini One and the Ford Fiesta.

If you had your eye on a Chevrolet Camaro, you would be better off waiting until you’ve either got a few years of claim-free driving experience under your belt, or you have won the lottery.

Not that most new drivers can afford to buy one, but it is worth noting that brand new cars cost more to insure than their used equivalents so even if you were thinking of buying a new one, it would be worth buying a model that’s at least 12 months old (plus you will miss out that on that massive depreciation hit that all brand new cars suffer from)!

Take an advanced driving course

Insurance companies love to use the excuse of “you’re an inexperienced driver” to justify charging you high premiums!

But did you know that many sympathetic car insurers will give you a discount on your car insurance policy if you can provide evidence that you have attended and successfully completed an advanced driving course?