Buying Gold as an Retirement Investment: What Is There to Consider?

Buying Gold as an Retirement Investment: What Is There to Consider?

When planning for the future, it’s normal for us to venture into unknown waters when it comes to making the right investments. While our paper-based assets may seem fine, there is certainly no harm in looking at other investment routes to ensure we’re maximizing our investments, and achieving our end goals.

However, there can be many avenues in relation to buying gold as an investment, so it’s important that we understand what kind of value they offer us as an investment.

Investing in Gold Shares

Buying shares in gold effectively mean that you are investing in a company that mines gold. While a popular choice for many, not everyone is confident when investing in gold companies direct, given that gold shares are unpredictable domains from an economic point-of-view. However, if shares in a gold company is what you’re looking for, then it is advisable to obtain some professional advice. There may also be instances where it’s advisable to spread your capital across several miners as opposed to a singular company.

Investing in Precious Metals

Investing in precious metals such as gold is often the preferred choice for those looking to make an investment, especially when making financial plans. This can be attributed to its resilience in the financial market, often offering those who devalued portfolios an alternative route if they find that their paper-based assets have decreased in value. This is why buying gold as an investment can be such an attractive option to those looking for financial stability. In the US, there is a rollover process called Gold IRA Rollover, allowing you to transfer the funds from your retirement account into a self-directed account by buying and holding precious metals such as gold, platinum and palladium.

For a quick overview, check out the video below:

How is Gold Viewed Within the Economy?

Investing in gold can be quite different to other investments, such as bonds and shares, as the investment does not produce any dividends, such as coupon payment or rent. However, it does become relevant when other investments start to fall by the wayside due to troubled economic times. For example, should our property portfolio take a financial hit, then it may be possible to recoup some of the loss with the selling of precious metals you have invested in.

How Should I Start Investing in Gold?

If you were to start buying and selling gold yourself, you could find that it takes quite some time to build a portfolio. However, if you currently have an IRA, then you may wish to transfer some of your current accounts into a Gold IRA. This means that you can convert some of your paper-based assets to that of precious metals, such as gold.

It should be noted that Gold IRA means that the investor doesn’t have physical ownership of the gold, rather it is kept in storage by the chose custodian. As such, those who want to be in ownership of the gold will find that a Gold IRA isn’t for them.

If I Can’t Have the Gold, Then What’s the Point?

A Gold IRA comes with many rules and regulations, and one such rule is that the gold must be stored in an IRS-approved location. It’s important to understand that the undertaking of a Gold IRA is more about financial planning, and less about owning the physical gold. As advised, this type of investment can be made in order to diversify a portfolio and help minimize risk when it comes to any economic downturn.

There’s also the fact that precious metals aren’t prone to the same levels of inflations as other assets, so make a good investment for those looking to secure the future of their family.

What Else Should I Know?

As your gold will be stored by the custodian, you need to ensure that you use the right kind of financial institute. Although many will offer a similar service, you need to ensure that you’re only dealing with a company that is of good repute. It can also be worthwhile considering what services are on offer from various Gold IRA provider.

You also need to ensure that you’re getting value when paying any fees. Again, understanding what’s on offer can ensure that you are paying the right amount for the service you want. While we’re all naturally drawn towards a good deal, we need to ensure that the service on offer is able to cater to our needs.

The investment in gold can be a sound one, as long as we take the right steps. Ensuring that we only deal with reputable companies and ensuring we only take advice by seasoned professionals can ensure that when investing in gold, we are doing so in a way that’s compliant, as well as one that suits our particular requirements.

Working from home jobs – busting the myths!

Working from home jobs – busting the myths!

Perhaps you currently work from home? Or are you in the market for working from home jobs? You’re undoubtedly going to hear from friends and family all about how lucky you are to work from the comfort of your house – but not many people realise the implications being at home for your working day can have on your health, well-being and productivity.

We’ll look at the myths of working from home, what they mean in reality and offer some tips on how to keep your brain and body on the productive working-from-home path.

“You get to spend extra time in bed!”

This is of course true, especially if you live in a location that would otherwise mean a big commute to the office. There are a couple of downsides though – firstly, the morning routine is the way many people start their day, without it, it can be difficult to ‘get going’. Secondly, extra time in bed might feel like a bonus, but being sedentary for long periods of time can have a big impact on your mental well-being.

Research shows that people who don’t keep a morning routine can find it more difficult to focus on work tasks throughout the day. While many people would disagree with the next research finding – experts say it’s also possible to have too much sleep, and doing so can contribute to a number of physical and mental health issues.

Tips

  • Try to keep a normal ‘working day’ – even if your work means strange hours.
  • Try to avoid getting straight out of bed and into your office.
  • Get dressed for work and do your normal morning routine to get your brain into work mode.

“You get to avoid all the office politics!”

Depending on the kind of person you are, not having people around you all day can be either a blessing or a curse. If you enjoy your own company then being alone most of the day can be great and productive – however, if you bounce off others and rely on them for your energy, it can be pretty soul zapping to sit at home all day.

There is of course still the phone to keep you connected to people all day – this doesn’t quite cut the mustard for real interactions though, people will tend to only call and email when they want something from you.

Tips

  • Try hard to take breaks and a lunch time – if you can, step out of the house during these times, ideally to somewhere you can have some lunch and be around people, even if that’s just a park or bench with your lunchbox!
  • If you’re feeling isolated, call, Facetime or Skype someone, psychologists say that seeing a person’s face can elevate your mood far greater than just hearing their voice.

“You can get all the jobs done at home!”

There’s definitely some benefit to be had when you’re at home all day – there are some quick jobs that you can do that make little or no impact on your day, such as putting a load of washing in – and you’ll never miss a parcel delivery again! However, it’s easy to get sucked into the trap of thinking that you’re at home and therefore feeling like you should be doing home tasks.

Even if you feel like you can manage some jobs around the house while you work, be careful that you’re not losing important focus on what you’re being paid to do. Where procrastinating in an office is difficult, it’s easy to lose track of your priorities at home – if there’s a call you don’t want to make, rearranging your sock drawer can begin to look quite appealing…

Tips

  • Making a work schedule can help, feel free to add little household jobs in to your day – but try to quickly come back to the task at hand.
  • Creating a solid understanding about your role with family and loved ones can be useful – for those who don’t work at home there might be no reason you can’t do the ironing as you take a conference call – agree some realistic expectations early.

“I bet sitting in your house all day is great!”

Again, there’s some element of truth to be had, being in an environment you like can be a bonus – but missing out on the commute will further take away from the little activity that most office workers already struggle with – and seeing the same 4 walls for your entire working day can remove some of the variety that gives life a little zest, sometimes leading to reduced mood and energy.

It can be tempted to sit at your desk all day – and sometimes you’ll have done less than 100 steps between getting up and sitting down at your computer. As a result, home workers report greater levels of back-pain, headaches and diminished energy.

Tips

  • Buy a chair that’s designed for your ergonomic comfort – rather than just looking good in your office. Try not to just repurpose a dining room chair, and don’t be tempted to sit on your sofa with your laptop on your lap.
  • Putting some music or a radio station on can liven up the mood in your office.
  • Try to get as much natural light into your working area, dull environments can significantly impact a person’s mood.

Looking after yourself overall

Because there’s often no one to look over your shoulder, home workers can find themselves in bad habits very quickly. You may quite-rightly have no one to answer to, but that doesn’t mean you should let an overly sedentary and lacklustre attitude set in. As someone who works from home you should try as much as you can to keep an objective view of how you spend your time.

If it helps to motivate you, set some times through the week when you work in coffee shops or even the local library. It’s easy to find an internet connection in most public places and getting out of the house can have a positive impact on your brain and body.

Financing your Self-Build Mortgage

Financing your Self-Build Mortgage

Planning to self-build your home? If you’re not lucky enough to have savings or fund the self-build with the sale of your former home, you may have to borrow cash to finance it. A self-build mortgage will be the perfect thing for you. This can accompany financing new double glazing windows, or a new conservatory.

The separation between a self-build mortgage and a house purchase mortgage

A self-build mortgage is generally the same as an house purchase mortgage with a couple of differences. From interest only to repayment, a self-build mortgage can all have the same similar diverse forms as a house purchase mortgage.

The main differences between the two is that self-building mortgages or funding include stage payments instead of a single amount. If none stage payments happen during the self-build, or if these payments are pushed back so far while doing the self-build making them pointless, then it won’t be a self-build mortgage. during

As well as this, it’s a necessity for the payments to take place in the stages of land purchase, which is also a factor in ensuring it is a proper self-build mortgage.

When do you in actual fact get the stage payments?

Below are the two different types of self-build mortgage:

Arrears Mortgage – You receive the stage payments as each stage of the build is completed.

For those who have whoppingly huge amount of cash for their self-build mortgage, then the arrears type is the one for you. This is because if you are not on such a big budget with this type of mortgage, this can lead to cash shortfalls throughout the build and delays whilst waiting for more cash. On top of this, with this type of self-build mortgage the lender will merely issue 75% of costs throughout the self-build and they will keep the rest of this loan until the job is complete.

Advance Mortgage – You will receive the stage payments at the start of each stage of the build.

The advance type of self-build mortgage is brilliant for people with a low budget as there are no worries about any cash shortfalls and borrowing loans. This is ensured because the money for the build is in their bank, which means the money is available at the exact time it is needed, such as when labour and material bills become due.

Usually this type of mortgage payment will give:

  • 90% of the building costs
  • 90% of the worth of the land
  • A maximum of 90% of the final value of the home which is subjective to the borrower’s

The cash is generally released at six stages, starting with land purchase, foundation work, watertight, wall plate level, and so on.

When are these fees due?

It may be surprising but rates for self-build mortgages are typically higher than you might just expect compared to a regular mortgage. You might be looking at a decent payment of £1-2,000 to achieve a self-build mortgage after the completion fees, application fees and broker fees have been fully paid for. For the arrears type of mortgage, an interim valuation is obligatory to break down each stage and the funds before the money is released.

The advance type of mortgage doesn’t require interim stage valuations but there are further costs for receiving the cash in advance. This cost depends to a certain extent on the amount of extra cash-flow that is needed and the amount that the self-builders themselves are putting in.

Can you receive penalties for early repayment?

It is possible on a few mortgages to receive the initial repayment charges – if you’re looking to repay by the next two years, normally it will be around 2-3% of the entire loan. Do ensure that you head to your mortgage consultant or advisor if you are able to do this, that way before you begin the self-build they will be able to receive the perfect package just for you.

What are the financial implications of separation?

What are the financial implications of separation?

For most people, divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership would feature highly on a list of life events that impact both individual’s finances. In reality, divorce doesn’t always occur immediately, with couples often being ‘separated’ for long periods of time before formalities are pursued.

Lots of people and organisations can talk you through how to handle the division of finances during divorce – but few can go into as much detail with separation. Here are some vital considerations if you’ve decided to separate, but haven’t yet moved toward divorce:

Also Read: 5 Simple Steps For Dealing With Debt

Shared in marriage means shared in separation

Although the two people concerned might have verbal agreements in place that relate to finances and living arrangements, until the formality of divorce proceedings nothing can be taken for granted. This can raise a number of important questions spanning numerous life areas:

  • Who will pay a mortgage or rent?
  • Who pays for household bills?
  • Who will live in the family home?
  • What happens to debt that has been accrued together?
  • Who takes control of savings and investments?
  • What happens with shared assets, goods and property?
  • Is any child maintenance to be paid?
  • With whom with children live?
  • How is visitation of children arranged?

There are no hard and fast answers to these questions – but it’s important to recognise that there could well be expectation from the other person involved.

Being careful with how these questions are handled is important. In separation, you’re essentially trusting the other person involved to maintain your best interests, despite the breakdown in relationship.

  • Example

Lucy and John are married and rent a flat together. They amicably decide to separate and John continues to live in the flat. When John loses his job, he is unable to pay the rent so moves in with his parents. Lucy, having rented a new flat, is now required to pay two amounts of rent or be subject to potential joint legal action from her previous landlord.

The right to access the home

When a couple separate it would ordinarily involve one partner moving out of the shared home. What is often overlooked is that partner’s right to have continual access to the home until divorce proceedings are complete – no matter how long that takes.

The law states that the locks cannot be changed by the remaining partner, so legally speaking, there would be nothing stopping the other partner accessing the house 24 hours a day.

While an amicable separation agreement would mean this situation is unlikely, if a partner were to decide it appropriate, only a divorce or a legal injunction could stop it from occurring.

Money and goods accrued after separation

While separation might represent the end of the relationship to the two people involved, legally speaking, your marriage or civil partnership remains in place. This means the acquisition of wealth, goods or property beyond separation is effectively the same as accruing those things during your time together.

So, if one person leaves the family home and buys a property during the separation period, that property would be taken into consideration upon the commencement of the legal proceedings of divorce. It might seem obvious when viewed objectively, but in the haste that surrounds separation and re-establishment of life, this can be overlooked.

It’s not just property that falls into this trap either, increases in earnings, savings accrued, goods purchased and money inherited while separated are all taken into account.

  • Example

Chris and Anthony separate after 3 years of civil partnership. In the coming years, Chris receives a promotion and saves enough money for a deposit on a house. Upon the commencement of dissolution proceedings, with no agreed separation date, Anthony cites an entitlement to the money Chris has saved.

Think about timescales involved

When the term ‘separation’ is used people are inclined to think of a short-term arrangement – but this is often not the case. There are no official figures relating to time people remain in a ‘separated’ state, but it is not uncommon for the time before divorce to stretch to numbers of years.

When you think of separation as being a state of a relationship that can last years, considering changes to your financial picture throughout that time becomes very important.

Arrangements beyond death

When separation continues for a prolonged period, financial proceedings can sometimes require arrangements relating to the death of one party. This situation is infinitely more complicated if the separated individual dies without having made a will – as the rules of ‘intestacy’ apply.

Under the rules of ‘intestacy’ only married or civil partners and a select few other close relatives can inherit. This makes a situation legally complex and very sensitive, especially if a separated individual has a new partner or family.

  • Example

Ian and Louise marry and informally separate after a short time together. Both live entirely independent lives for the next 10 years, during which Louise meets a new partner. Louise passes away unexpectedly without having made a will. Under the rules of intestacy, Ian is named as inheriting Louise’s estate.

So how can you stay protected?

There are situations where divorce or dissolution isn’t an option that the individuals involved want to explore. There are also instances where it can be financially beneficial to remain married – but it is appropriate that a couple separate. In some cases, a separation could appear resolution enough, especially if done amicably.

If separation is the approach that you plan to take, especially for a prolonged period, experts suggest drawing up legal agreements that cement each individual’s position in relation to the questions and situations posed here.

It is not uncommon for separation to happen quickly or without planning – often with money as the last thing on your mind. It can also be tempting to put your head in the sand and hope for the best, rather than exploring legal options. Be warned though, no matter how the situation currently appears, if you don’t make arrangements or decisions, you leave yourself open to the possibility that someone else is going to make them for you.

Does buying a new car make you happy – or worried?

Does buying a new car make you happy – or worried?

For some people, the thought of buying a new car is fills them with joy and excitement – for others, it’s a time of worry and uncertainty. Am I getting the right car? Am I paying a fair price? What should I know about monthly payments? Not everyone has someone trusted to guide them.

We’ve broken it down into 3 areas to help you explore the type of car that would suit you, make sure you’re getting a fair price and learn more about car finance. Understanding a little more about these subjects will give you the confidence you need to make sure the car and package you get is exactly right for you.

Which is the right car for me?

Unfortunately, we can’t give you a make and model! Instead, we advise everyone to pose themselves some questions. With the answers, you’ll be able to narrow your choices – and from there, let your personal preferences do the rest! Grab a pen and paper and scribble some notes on the following:

  • What do I plan to use the car for?
  • What type of journeys will I mostly be making? Long distance? Or shorter runs?
  • How many miles will I be doing each year?
  • Do I have any special requirements? I.e. Lots of seats? Space for dogs? Accessibility for disabled passengers?

With these answers, you’re going to be able to talk to some salespeople armed with information about your use. Most salespeople are specially trained to help – rather than pressure you into buying something you don’t need or don’t want. Dealers know that advocating the right car for you is the key to getting your business.

If you’re ever unsure about what a salesperson is suggesting would suit your needs – check somewhere else. It’s easy to identify different car types, so if the first dealer suggests a huge 4×4 – but subsequent dealers tell you a small family car would suit, you can be guided by the majority!

Am I paying a fair price?

If you’re not certain that the price being asked is fair, search online for similar cars. You’re going to need the age of the car, the type of engine it has, the specification level and for pre-owned cars, the miles it has covered. If you’re not sure, ask the person who’s helping you and write it down.

You don’t have to buy elsewhere, just check that the price you’ve been quoted is in line with the price of similar or identical cars elsewhere. There’s sometimes a little variation based on your location, but prices shouldn’t wildly fluctuate. If yours looks high you should ask your salesperson why – if you’d rather not haggle, just take your business elsewhere.

How should you pay?

Understanding finance and different payment methods is often an area in which customers fall short – a full understanding of how you’re going to be spending your money is important, so it pays to be clued up. These are the most common methods:

Cash – Few people buy new cars with cash, but if you can and do the car is yours and there are no repayments to factor into your monthly budget. With the incentives car dealers receive to sell finance packages, cash is no longer the bargaining tool it once was – so if you’re thinking of securing finance prior to car shopping so it appears you have cash, don’t – you can end up with less favourable interest rates compared to what a dealer can offer.

Personal Contract Plan – A ‘PCP’ usually involves paying a deposit and then a fixed monthly amount over a 3 or 4-year term. After that time, you have some options: You can pay the remainder of the price off and own the car, you can get a new car for another deposit and a similar payment – or you can hand the car back and walk away. You’ll be limited to set number of miles and may have to pay additional charges if you exceed these – so calculate carefully.

Hire Purchase – This is ‘traditional’ finance – the price of the car is broken into monthly instalments, interest applied and an agreement put into place. The monthly cost can be greater than a PCP – but at the end of the term you own the car, regardless of the mileage you’ve done or any other car related factor.

If you’re not sure, take time to think

Buying a car is different for everyone. It pays to take all the information you’re given away and consider it carefully against your personal requirements and finances before making a final decision. It’s easy to be led by your heart – but it’s important it makes sense and suits your pocket.