Archive for January, 2007

Favorite Reads: Credit Cave

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

As avid readers of my blogs may know I spend my time between the UK and Australia. Banking in Australia is a little backward compared to European banking (it is actually cheaper for me to run my financial affairs in Australia using UK bank accounts and credit cards than Australian ones, can you believe??) so when I read this credit card story on CreditCave.com it gave me a giggle.

I like to read Credit Cave to keep abreast of financial events in the UK. I found out from Credit Cave back in November that the Bank of England had raised interest rates to 5%… something that has implications on my UK mortgage and finance agreements. It is still better for me to borrow in the UK and spend in Australia, in fact at current rates I could borrow in England and deposit in Australia and make a profit on the difference in interest rates.

The Credit Cave also has some great ‘life’ tips, sometimes we all need to be reminded about prioritising time – it’s not just money and business that are important in this life.

Credit Cards Store UK

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

The UK credit card store carry all the offers from major credit card companies divided up into easy to navigate categories. They are another website that has recognised the huge competition between credit card providers and the opportunity it creates for you, the consumer, to better your financial situation through clever planning and restructuring of your credit and loan agreements.

Most UK citizens could be better off by moving their credit card debt to a different credit card, one which offers a better rate of interest, whether it is a short term (6 months to a year) 0% credit cards offer, or a card with a long term low interest rate.

UK Insurance

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Finding the right insurance policy is about more than just about finding the cheapest quote. Factors such as the policy excess, and new-for-old coverage matter (especially when making a claim).

The policy excess is the amount you are expected to pay towards the cost of the claim. This (usually small amount) is there to reduce the actual cost of your policy, and so must be balanced against the cost of the insurance policy.

Two essential insurance policies for most families are car insurance and home insurance. Insure121.com can help you decide on the right level of cover for your needs, and provide competitive insurance quotations. Be sure to check out their other insurance offerings which cover most peoples needs; travel insurance, pet insurance and caravan insurance.

Credit Cards US

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Following on from my recent posts about 0% credit cards in the UK, I thought I would share a little info about credit cards in the USA, especially low interest credit cards.

Credit-Cards-Info.com carries information and reviews of American credit cards (along with a few from the UK). Whether you are looking for low interest or balance transfer credit cards, Student credit cards, or reward points cards you can find them all here.

I especially like the little tips that this site gives you, such as the fact that any annual fee on a credit card should be considered in the overall cost of your borrowing. Also the honesty of the site: if you don’t have a really good credit record, then there are some credit card companies that will not approve you on their best offers.

Credit Cards: 0% Balance Transfers

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Sometimes the financial services industry can do you a favour, and give you something for nothing. This is the case with 0% balance transfers on credit cards. Credit card companies are so desperate to get new customers for their high profit products (credit cards) that they will actually offer a loss-leader to get new signups.

A 0% introductory credit period on a credit card is a worthwhile incentive. If you use these offers correctly it is possible to make money, not just save money – but you have to be strict with yourself, there are rules to follow when playing this game. The credit card companies set traps that can catch the consumer unaware!

Be sure to thoroughly research and compare credit cards before you decide to follow this path.

UK Finance Agreements Guide

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Incase you aren’t familiar with different types of available UK loans I have put together this quick summary.

  • Secured loans are secured against property (usually your house), and if you cannot pay the loan then your house may be repossessed.
  • Unsecured loans do not give the lender charge over your property, but attracts a higher interest rate as it is a higher risk for the lender.
  • Guaranteed car loans are a ‘hire purchase’ type agreement where the loan is secured against the car. This is the most expensive kind of loan discussed here, with the highest interest rate; there may be insurance premiums to pay also.
  • Remortgages are a loan which is drawn against the equity in your house. These loans generally replace the existing mortgage on your house with a new (larger) one, and are secured on your home. They are usually an economical way to borrow larger sums of money for home improvements etc. Also available are bad credit remortgages for those with a bad history, possibly looking to consolidate their existing finance agreements.

Online Personal Loans UK

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Looking for personal loans in the UK? So long as you are a UK resident Select Loans should be able to help you find the loan you need. Select offer a comparison service for secured loans and non-secured loans, and UK guaranteed car loans for those with less than perfect credit history.

Select also have reviews of each of the loan providers on their website, helping you to make the right choice, and finding the loan that is right for your circumstances. In any case, you should be asking yourself a few questions before taking out a personal loan:

  • How long should I be taking this loan over?
  • How much can I afford to repay each month?
  • Do I need insurance for unforseen circumstances?

2006 IRS W4 Form (PDF) Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

2006 IRS W4 Form (PDF) Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate

IRA Tax Deduction – Pay Your Taxes And You’ll Benefit

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Everyone saves for the rainy day, our parents taught us to save money from a youngage so that it is of some use at a later stage. Even the taxman says that.

IRA, or Individual Retirement Arrangement, is a personal savings plan that lets you save up for rainy days and gives you tax benefits in the form of tax deductions. All contributions made to this plan are entitled to the IRA tax deduction. This also includes earnings from these contributions unless they are distributed to you.

2 basic rules govern the working of IRA.

The first is the simple IRA. The more traditional way which helps for that long retirement plan. Contributions to IRA are exempted unless you receive any kind of distribution.

Setting up an IRA is very simple, you need to be less than 70.5 years of age before you can apply. A taxable income is necessary to avail this. Only salaries, commissions, alimony, maintenance or any other means of income
Generated by self constitutes this. Rental or any other income from property, annuity or deferred compensation does not qualify as taxable compensation.

The maximum you can contribute to your IRA is either $ 3,000 or your taxable compensation for the year, whichever is less. It goes to $3500 if you are 50 or older. If you are uncovered, you can claim the complete deductions. If, however, you are covered by a valid retirement plan, your IRA deduction can either be reduced or eliminated, depending on the amount of your Modified Adjusted Gross Income and your filing status.

If in case you have made any withdrawals, then you have to pay tax on the amounts available. And it is wholly taxable.

Roth IRA – Roth IRA is the reverse of the traditional IRA. Contributions that you make to this RA will get you no deductions. No taxes on withdrawals or earnings. Everything else about Roth IRA is like the simple IRA. Like the latter it can be either an account or an annuity. To be a Roth IRA, the account or annuity must be designated as a Roth IRA when it is set up.

These two basic rules now sum up what you want to know about taxes and especially the savings aspect. Just make the most out of them.

Home Business Tax Deduction

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Everyone loves to work from home and have the benefits of home business tax advantage. Let us now take a peek into the world of home business tax and what is in store for us.

Entrepreneurs should avail this facility if they are operating from the environs of home. These deductions include:

1. Home Office: you can enjoy the deductions if you are operating from the house and the house is used for business purposes.

2. Car: you can get the car as a benefit for your business purpose, including the maintenance and mileage. This works out a lot and can save a lot of money.

3. Personal assets: if you are using your personal assts for business, then you can lay your hands on the tax deductions, like for example computers and furniture.

4. Business Journeys:  air tickets, hotels, internal transportation, shipping and even tipping are tax deductible, if used for business purposes. For meals, the government allows deductions up to 50% only.

5. Gifts and Entertainment: now that you are in business, you need to keep your customers and clients happy and what better way than to gift them. But you get a relief up to only 50%.

6. Retirement: The payments you make when saving for your retirement are deductible from your personal income tax. Thus it follows that the dollars you spend for your retirement plan grow tax free in your business until you retire.

7. Family Connections: bringing your children as employees helps you in saving some money as the expenses payable towards them are deductible. Only kids above the age of 8 can be hired.

8. Social Security: As a self-employed worker, you have to pay double the social security contribution. Fortunately, half of this contribution is tax deductible in the 1040 form.

These are only a partial list of what is available to you, for a complete list, log onto the government website and check for yourself.