To Refinance or Not to Refinance?

As a homeowner, it may be worthwhile refinancing a mortgage for a lower rate. Refinancing is the process by which an existing mortgage is exchanged for a mortgage with a lower interest rate. Of course, there are pros and cons to refinancing. Consider a mortgage repayment of £185,000 over a long-term loan (30 years) with an initial fixed rate for 2 years and a variable rate for the remaining 28 years of the loan. The fixed-rate is locked in. This rate cannot be changed regardless of the current interest rate.

 

The variable rate is a little more complicated. With a variable rate, the initial mortgage rate no longer applies. Homeowners will be subject to their specific bank’s buy to let variable rate, or the standard variable rate. These figures are published and updated by banks. At the end of the fixed-rate mortgage, the standard variable rate kicks in. For the most part, UK homeowners tend to prefer fixed-rate mortgages.

 

The interest rate cannot change for the duration of the ‘fixed’ period. This means that mortgage repayments are set, regardless of what the market is doing. If a low-interest rate is locked in at inception, this can prove especially beneficial when interest rates start rising considerably over time.

 

Unbeknownst to many first-time homeowners, substantial costs are involved with homeownership. The majority of the payments for the first 10 – 15 years of a typical 30-year mortgage is actually interest repayment. Minimal principle is paid down in the beginning, with the bulk of the principal being paid towards the end of the mortgage. For homeowners looking to refinance their mortgages, a good time to do this is the conclusion of the fixed-rate period. With a variable-rate mortgage, the actual number depends upon the national interest rate. The only time a variable rate mortgage works in a homeowner’s favour is when interest rates are dropping.

 

Is it ever a Good Idea to Refinance a Mortgage?

 

Mortgages can be refinanced, provided the property owner qualifies for refinancing. This complex process is especially difficult for self-employed individuals, since profit and loss statements, audits, tax returns, bank statements, debt to income ratios and other important documents are required. Besides the paper trail, there are many fees to consider. These include the following:

 

  • Loan origination fees
  • Property appraisal charges
  • The mortgage application fee
  • Survey fees/inspection fees/closing fee

 

The percentages are small, but given the value of a mortgage these figures quickly add up. Often, refinancing rolls the costs of the mortgage into the new fees. It’s entirely possible that a significant chunk of the principal that has been paid off may be lost in a refinanced mortgage.

 

Put differently, homeowners may find themselves back at square one, albeit with a lower interest rate. This predicament decreases the monthly burden, but it also decreases the equity in the property. There are many aspects of mortgage refinancing to consider, and a lower interest rate isn’t always the best way to go.

 

As a rule of thumb, financial experts advise anyone wanting to refinance to consider how long it will take to pay off the costs of the refinance. An interest-rate reduction of at least 2% is worth pursuing. Mortgage calculators are useful tools in this regard. Unfortunately, refinancing costs can be substantial, and amount to 3% – 6% of the principal amount of the loan.

 

Savings that are enjoyed through lower interest repayments will still take many years to recover the costs of the refinanced mortgage. From a different perspective, refinancing can reduce the debt to income ratio, helping to improve credit scores and grow financial portfolios through additional homeownership.

 

What to do with More Disposable Income?

 

Mortgage refinancing increases disposable income. That’s because the raison d’etre for refinancing is lower monthly payments. Real money can be leveraged through different assets, investments and opportunities. Some folks invest in stocks, bonds, commodities, indices, and currency pairs. Others opt for an affordable entertainment budget and try their luck at an online casino platform, or the National Lottery. Regardless, it’s all about decreasing the debt burden and improving the quality of one’s lifestyle.

 

To make a long story short, refinancing is beneficial when there are substantial cost savings in terms of monthly mortgage repayments. The money can be put into retirement savings, home renovations, or a much-needed rainy day fund. The value of disposable income cannot be understated, especially in today’s tumultuous global economy.

Why going rural is great for your health

If you’re looking to move to somewhere a little greener, then 2022 could be your year. With many people moving to somewhere a little more rural in light of the pandemic, setting your sights on somewhere with a bit more open space could have lots of benefits for your mental and physical health. Rural areas are seeing sharp rises in house sales so if you’ve got your eye on one you may want to act fast and snap up your dream home.

 

Calmer with Less Stress

 

One of the best bits about moving to somewhere with a little more space is the sense that the pace of life is a lot slower. This can seem like an alien concept if you’re used to living in the thick of it amid London’s metropolis or you’re a creative young professional in your city apartment. But in an area that’s a little less populated and has less busy streets, roads and trains, the atmosphere can really make a difference. Not only will it allow you to stress less and embrace a more calming pace that won’t have you waiting for trains that are never on time or rushing through crowds of people on the underground or having to sit in traffic to go around the corner, you can also appreciate things more that you may not have noticed while rushing around. Shared ownership homes in Derbyshire are a great move for this slower pace of life and towns and villages home to family owned businesses and local boutiques, you can enjoy friendly conversation with cashiers rather than rushing in and out of everywhere and grabbing fast food on the go.

 

Better work/life balance

 

One of the best parts about moving somewhere rural is the difference in work life balance. Many people who live in the city spend a lot of time in the office or working late, doing extra work and not having a lot of time for family. In more rural areas you can separate yourself from the work life you may have in the city and come home to a calmer more countryside location to forget about the busy working day. Not constantly being surrounded by the noise of the city and the gleaming lights will have a better impact on your sleep and routine so you can focus on things you enjoy rather than always feeling on edge with the constant stimulation of the city at your window. With less distractions you can learn to truly relax and be present with your family. Shared ownership in Surrey is a great way to get on the property ladder where the city is well within reach but you are safely surrounded by the serenity of the Kent countryside.

 

Exercise and Physical Health

 

While there are plenty of benefits to having a more laid back attitude to life that comes with moving to the countryside, your physical health can also be improved. With much cleaner air than that of busy city centres and better quality food from local farmer’s markets and real produce, your insides will thank you for a move to something like shared ownership homes in Cheshire. It also means you are more likely to go for walks and enjoy the outdoors if it’s a place of natural beauty rather than something more concrete based. Moving your body more and spending time together as a family is always going to have health benefits and with a move somewhere rural you know that’ll be on offer.

 

So whether you’re looking for shared ownership homes in Bedfordshire or an apartment in Maidstone, the move to the countryside could be just what you need in 2022.

A First Time Buyers Checklist for getting on the property ladder

Deciding where to set down your roots for the first time is a big decision so you want to make sure you’ve looked at all the options. Whether you’re looking for a city apartment, rural family home or a simple cosy pad nearby to work and conveniently close to shops, making a decision about what will best fit your future is a big one indeed. Luckily as a first time buyer, there are plenty of options available to you so it’s always good to be clued up on all the avenues you can go down, (or live on). So whatever you’re looking for here are some top tips to save you some money and make the most of getting onto the property ladder for the first time.

 

Shared Ownership

 

If you haven’t heard of this one, shared ownership is a great hack for any first time buyer with their eye on a home they adore. Shared Ownership allows you to part buy, part rent your home and therefore pay a smaller deposit. As you only put down a deposit on the share you wish to buy, this can be between 25% and 75%, cutting those initial payments right down and eliminating the biggest hurdle for first time buyers. From shared ownership homes in Medway to apartments with shared ownership London, this scheme offers homes all over the UK. You can also buy more of your home overtime meaning you can climb the property ladder at your own pace. And with property portals like connectwithhome.co.uk offering a variety of homes to suit everyone, there’s no need to compromise under this scheme.

 

Help to Buy

 

This is another great scheme for first time buyers and is widely available across the country and on a range of homes. Help to Buy is a government scheme that ensures you only have to put down a 5% deposit on a property taking the sting out of the hardest bit about being a first time buyer. In addition to this, you will get a 20% equity loan from the government on your property that you pay absolutely no interest on for the first 5 years. This means you only have to obtain a mortgage for 75% of the property price rather than 90%. And if you live in London you could get a 40% equity loan meaning your mortgage will amount to just 55% of the total value of the home. This scheme can definitely give you a bit more time to settle into the payments and feel a bit more financially secure about your property purchase.

 

New Developments

 

One of the best places to look for both of these schemes are up and coming areas and new Developments. With Shared Ownership homes in Ebbsfleet offering a young professionals paradise and shared ownership properties in West London putting you at the heart of the buzzing metropolis, looking for areas that have had a lick of paint and a bit of a face lift could be your ticket onto the property ladder. There are plenty of areas offering first-time buyer schemes and with a little shopping around you can find the perfect one for you. Sites like Keaze.com are great tools to help you browse what’s on offer without the hassle and video tours included.

 

So whether you’re looking to move in the near future or a little later down the line, make sure to take advantage of the options out there for first time buyers and you could be bagging yourself some decent savings.

Common Freelancing Problems and Their Fixes

Freelancing is much more than getting paid to work remotely. The truth is, there are tons of perks when you freelance. You are your own boss and can set your schedule, and it doesn’t matter where in the world you are.

That said, a freelancer’s life can also be complicated. There are a lot of problems that you may encounter regularly, and it’s good to know how to deal with them.

If you’re just starting, you probably have a lot of questions. Here we will discuss some issues that freelancers face and how to overcome them.

 

Finding Clients

This is probably the most crucial aspect of freelancing. Finding clients that are interested in your services and can sign on the dotted line can be tricky. The trick is to figure out exactly what they need and then find ways to accomplish that.

Identifying the right client and convincing them that you’re the right one isn’t always easy. You can work on your networking skills and ability to put together persuasive emails and build a network of potential clients.

 

Time Management

Some people just don’t have the time to keep track of projects they’re working on and tasks assigned. If you are a freelancer, you know how hard it is to get things done from juggling projects, managing clients, and keeping an eye on expenses.

One way to improve your time management is by using some freelancing tools. These are tools you can use to help automate tasks and keep track of expenses and revenue. Technology has made it easier to create and meet deadlines for projects that feel far away. Be sure to use these tools to maximize productivity.

 

Proper insurance

If you offer services that can potentially cause financial loss to your clients, especially in the consultancy field, investing in professional indemnity insurance is a good idea. This will save you from financial loss should one of your clients sue you or your business over the work you have done for them.

 

Poor Client Communication

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner freelancer or a seasoned pro. Having bad communication with clients can spell failure. This includes not returning calls or emails, giving incomplete or inaccurate information, not following up with clients, and not providing enough information.

Communication is key when using any form of communication for your business. Freelancing is no exception, and as you build up your reputation, you will need to improve your communication skills so that you can reach more people and get more work.

 

Conclusion

Freelancing is rewarding but also happens to be a great deal of work. It’s important to understand these so you can keep working hard to get more and better gigs. If you hope to avoid the common freelancing problems that many freelancers encounter, then you will want to follow the guidelines contained in this article.

Why Financial Freedom Starts With A Better Understanding Of Credit And Debt

My steps to help you achieve financial freedom will not make your money problems go away, but it will help you develop healthy financial habits that you can use to build the future you want. These steps won’t solve your money problem – but they can help you develop healthy habits that set you on the path to financial freedom and all that it means to you.

If you’re specifically looking to eliminate your IRS debt, there’s an IRS debt forgiveness program which many people are unfortunately not even aware of.

Achieving financial freedom can be difficult in the face of increasing debt, liquidity constraints, medical problems or excessive spending, but with discipline and careful planning it is possible. Your chances of financial freedom increase when you save money, control your credit and minimize your debts. Working with the help of a non-profit certified credit counselor to get out of debt is a necessary part of your journey towards financial freedom.

If you want to achieve your goals, you need to have all your income at your disposal, not just the little things left to pay credit cards and student loans. Budget your funds so that you can meet your needs, adhere to a plan to repay your credit cards fully so that you have as little debt as possible and carefully watch your lending. Once you have paid off your double-digit credit card debt, single-digit debt and student loans, split your money between savings, earnings, investment and debt repayment.

Combining your balance with a personal loan can not only simplify the debt repayment process but also lower your interest rate in some cases, saving money today and in the long run. The use of your credit card and monthly payments can help build a good credit history that can lead to additional benefits such as cash, points and travel. Repaying high-interest debt allows you to concentrate on your lower debt and interest rates.

Suppose you are borrowing $4,000 a year in savings to pay off the short-term credit card debt that you have accumulated as a result of poor planning. If you have debt, the interest charges increase your balance, and if you repay money, you lose the money you have saved.

If you have lots of high-interest debt, you can refinance at a lower interest rate to save money. However, high interest-only debt (loans over a thousand dollars) can leave you stuck for years, spending much more to cover interest than saving or investing.

Whether you or someone you know is struggling with debt, the first step to financial freedom is to better understand your debt. What is needed to achieve financial freedom depends on your income, debt, your saving and spending habits, and your values. If you are stuck within these parameters, it can be liberating to leave behind misconceptions of debt and understand how debt can be used to find financial freedom.

This means that it is time to get a grip on debts such as credit cards, student loans and car loans if you have them. When you go through the budgetary phase above, you will understand how much you are putting into your debt and you will discover areas where you can find additional funds to repay your debt faster.

Trading vs Buying Bitcoin – What is better?

Bitcoin’s volatility is one of the major factors that make the cryptocurrency one of the most invested and traded cryptocurrencies in existence. The recent spike in Bitcoin prices and trading volume suggests increasing interest and demand from investors. The two most popular ways of taking advantage of the cryptocurrency market are either buying coins via an exchange and holding them and trading them via a CFD broker.

However, most cryptocurrency enthusiasts are in a dilemma between buying Bitcoin and trading them.

What does Owning Bitcoin imply?

Owning Bitcoin is useful if one wants to use them to shop or transfer money anywhere quickly at a lower cost. The transactions also provide a high level of anonymity compared to traditional wire transfers. To own Bitcoin, an individual needs an exchange he/she can trust provided it’s available in their country. The exchange should also offer payment methods for buying Bitcoin using fiat currencies.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have to be kept in a cryptocurrency wallet, which is either “hot” or “cold”. While hot wallets are connected to the net, cold wallets maintain offline storage. Buyers and owners of Bitcoin are often perceived by fraudulent entities as soft targets for hacking. This is due to the nature of transactions being final. There is also no anti-fraud protection in the cryptocurrency world. That’s why it’s always advised to use cold wallets for Bitcoin storage.

Bitcoin Trading – a Safer and Cheaper Option

As mentioned before, Bitcoin can be vulnerable to cyber thieves as hackers can target crypto exchanges and drain their wallet of funds. This is a major reason why trading Bitcoin is a better option instead. One of the best ways to do this is through financial derivative products such as a Contract For Difference(CFD) and use a regulated broker.

CFDs can be best described as a financial contract entered with the broker. It allows the trader to benefit from the increase or decrease of the price of an asset. This is done by exchanging the difference between the opening and closing price of the trading positions with the broker. One of the most important aspects of Bitcoin CFDs is that the trader doesn’t own the underlying asset. They instead take advantage of BTC’s price fluctuations.

Those interested in trading Bitcoin via CFDs can select any of the many regulated CFD brokers operating in the market. One such example is IQ Option, which is a reputable and popular broker for cryptocurrency CFD trading. They offer CFD trading in 16 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, XRP token, OmiseGo, Dash, Ethereum and others.

IQ Option also provides several features that make it the perfect pick for novice traders entering the market for the first time. This includes a minimum deposit requirement of $10 and a minimum trade deal requirement of $1. The maximum leverage allowed is up to 1:2 for European traders and 1:10 for non-European traders. You can take advantage of their free demo account which provides virtual funds for you to trade in a market environment.

Differences Between Owning Bitcoin and Trading Them

Owning and trading bitcoin each have their advantages and disadvantages and it’s up to the individual to make the choice between them. However, each of these concepts differs in quite a few areas.

Ownership

Owning Bitcoin can be compared to long-term investments as you are holding them to sell them at a later price and not paying a fee. Trading Bitcoin via CFDs means that you are not owning any underlying BTC. You are instead taking advantage of crypto-market volatility. It’s thus a more short-term strategy.

Security

Compared to CFD brokers, cryptocurrency exchanges, especially those which are centralised appear risky because of the lack of regulations. Brokers can be useful for you to apply your strategies and apply money management tips in a regulated and responsive environment. However, a regulated and reliable broker like IQ Option can help your money expand while taking advantage of the protections offered to retail traders.

Use of margin and leverage

Trading Bitcoin can be more flexible than buying it because of the presence of margin and leverage. The price of owning just one BTC can be prohibitively expensive, depending on the price of each Bitcoin. On the other hand, trading BTC with leverage allows anyone to take a position with much less capital than they are trading with. However, this also amplifies the risk factor of the trade.

Final Thoughts

It is undeniably more advantageous to trade Bitcoin rather than owning and holding them. In trading, you are merely a price speculator without owning any of the assets in question. You also only have to invest a small proportion of your total account size while trading. On the other hand, you will have to pay the full price to acquire Bitcoin and store them in your wallet.