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Is A Level Term Life Insurance Policy Right For Me?

There are a number of reasons why you should purchase life insurance. It could be to cover large debts that would cripple your loved ones should anything happen to you. Or maybe you have an army of small children, so want the peace of mind that they will be looked after and provided for in your absence. Whatever the reason, there’s undoubtedly a life insurance policy out there that can be tailored to your needs. So how do you know which one is right for you?

The simplest form of life insurance is term assurance. This is where you choose the amount you’d like to be insured for and how long you’d like the policy to last. If you die during the period of cover then the policy will be paid out to your beneficiaries. However, if you don’t die, the premiums that you’ve paid will not be returned to you. Because this type of policy effectively expires, the premiums are typically lower than those of policies that cover you for your whole life. 

So, what is level term life insurance?

Life assurance can be split into two categories. One of them is level term life insurance. With this type of cover, the payout remains the same through the policy. Normally, the premiums that you pay will also stay the same.

For example, you could choose to have a policy term of 30 years, with £75,000 being the amount of cover. Then, if you die within those 30 years, you will receive the £75,000. It doesn’t matter if you die the year after you initially took out the policy, or the year before the policy expires, the payout remains £75,000. 

Who is it most suitable for?

This type of life insurance policy is popular with people who have mortgages, and it is common for the policy term to cover the same length of time as the mortgage. This gives them the peace of mind that their family will be able to keep up with mortgage payments should anything happen to them.

Alternatively, someone may choose to take out a level term life insurance policy because they want to leave a certain amount of money for their loves ones. This could be an amount that specifically covers certain debts, or simply be a number of their choice.

A level term policy is also a good option for people who want a life insurance policy but don’t want to worry about increasing premiums. That’s because most level term life insurance policies come with guaranteed premiums, which means payments will stay the same throughout the entire course of the policy’s term. Other types of life assurance have premiums that can change based on numerous factors, such as the insurance market and inflation, so a level term policy is a way of protecting your cover from these external factors. This guarantee often causes people to take out policies for long terms, so they don’t have to worry about the cost of getting life insurance for seniors over 70.

Things to keep in mind

While there are many advantages to getting a level term life insurance policy, there are also some things to remember. These include:

  • Because of the way level term insurance policies work, you will only receive a payout from if you die during the period of cover. This type of policy isn’t an investment, so all the money you paid over the years to the insurance provider will not be returned to you.
  • You may get to the end of your policy and decide that you liked having life insurance so want to take out a new policy. This new cover will be more expensive than it would have been if you’d originally opted for that type of policy. This is because age is one of the factors that impacts life insurance premiums; the older you are, the more expensive life insurance will be.
  • While it’s great to have the guarantee that your life insurance premiums won’t increase with inflation, this does mean that the value of your life insurance cover decreases over time. If you’ve taken out a level term policy to give your family a fixed sum of money if you pass away, that money may be worth less in the future, and be less of a financial cushion the later in the policy that you die.
  • If your circumstances change (for example, you have a child or one of your children grows up and leaves home) then you may be overpaying on your policy. Or, you may be under insured. If the latter is the case, and you’ve chosen a policy that can’t be reviewed, you may have to take out a second life insurance policy to ‘top-up’ the amount that you want to be covered for.

What other types of life insurance are there?

If you decide that a level term life insurance policy isn’t suitable for your needs and circumstances, there are other types of cover that may be more suitable. Previously, we mentioned that life assurance can be split into two categories, and one of them is level term life insurance. The other type of life insurance is decreasing term life insurance. As the name suggests, the amount of cover lessens as time progresses. This type of policy is more suitable for debts that decrease over time, though can also be used for inheritance tax planning. However, this type of policy is also taken out for a fixed term, so if you outlive the policy you lose all of the premiums that you have paid to the insurance company. If this is a cause for concern, you can opt for a whole of life policy, which doesn’t expire. However, this type of cover is much more expensive than a term assurance policy, so you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of each form of cover and decide which is best for you.

Mortgage Advice: Tips for New Home Owners

Buying a house can be an exciting time, but it can also be difficult depending on our circumstances. As such, those purchasing a property for the first time are keen to learn some tips to ensure they’re taking the right steps when it comes to purchasing their first property. While there is a lot to consider, having a better understanding of what options are available and how the industry works allow you to make the right decisions with this in mind we had a chat with the team at Dumfries Mortgage Advice who shared their top tips for new home owners.

 

Get Your Credit in Order

While we all have different financial circumstances, those looking to buy a property should ensure that the credit they currently have is being managed. While it may seem unfair, there can be a lot of assumption based on the way we manage our money, simply because this is all a lender can refer to when looking at a mortgage application.

Things to consider can be paying our current rent agreement on time, and ensuring all credit cards are being paid on time each month. It can also be useful to pay more than the minimum payment. The more we’re able to showcase we’re able to manage our finances in the right way, there more likely it is a mortgage application will be accepted.

 

What Kind of Mortgage Will Suit Your Needs Best?

Many new homeowners will already know that a mortgage is a vital part of the process, but they may not be aware of the different types of mortgage available. There is no mortgage type that is better than another, it’s simply a case of finding what works best.

 

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A fixed-rate mortgage is often used by those keen to know what price they’re paying moving forward. While rates can increase, they can also decrease, which means those on a fixed rate mortgage would not be able to benefit from this.

 

Tracker Rate Mortgage

Much like a fixed-rate mortgage, a tracker mortgage works on a base level that is pre-arranged. This can often be based on the Bank of England base rate.

 

Variable Rate Mortgage

A variable rate mortgage means that the interest paid can depend on current rates and the type of mortgage you have. Some may find that they only make small payments initially, only to find the payments go up at a later date.

 

Repayment vs Interest Only

A repayment mortgage means that you’re paying off the interest, as well as some of the amount borrowed. An interest-only mortgage means that you’re only paying off the interest initially, although you will need to repay the amount borrowed back at the end of the term.

 

Make Use of Government Schemes

Those who are purchasing a home for the first time will still be learning the ropes, and if you’re not careful, you could miss some great incentives that are available.

 

Help-to-Buy

The amount you need for a deposit can vary, depending on the mortgage lender you’re going with. It generally falls around 5 percent of the property value, but some may require more.

Evidently, the saving of a deposit can be a hindrance, but the Help-to-Buy scheme allows you to make use of an interest-free loan that covers 20 percent of the mortgage. The remaining 75 percent is covered by the mortgage.

Those looking to purchase a property in London will still need a 5 percent deposit, but the interest-free loan available from the Government covers 40 percent of the property value. The reason for this can be attributed to the high cost of living in London.

 

Help-to-Buy ISA

Many people have already taken advantage of the benefits an ISA can offer when it comes to saving money, but you may not be aware that there is a Hep-to-Buy ISA available that helps people looking to purchase their first home.

The Help-to-Buy ISA was first introduced in December 2015, and for every £200 saved, the Government will add an additional £50. This will apply up to £12,000 of savings, giving first-time buyers an additional £3,000.

As this is an ISA, it does mean that you will not be able to make any more tax-free savings into another ISA account in the same tax year. However, the Help-to-Buy ISA can be used in conjunction with the Government schemes.

 

Lifetime ISA

If you’re a first-time buyer under the age of 40, then you can open a Lifetime ISA that can be used for a first-time property purchase or towards your retirement. Saves receive 25p for every £1.00 saved, and is paid annually by the Government directly into the account. From April 2018, the bonuses receive will be paid monthly.

The Lifetime ISA can be used as a deposit on a property up to the value of £450,000 within the UK, and you are able to transfer your Help-to-Buy ISA without losing any benefits. You should note that Lifetime ISAs can be a little more complicated, as they are offered as cash, or stocks and share, so it can be worthwhile speaking to the provider in case you have any questions or uncertainties about the ISA.

 

Make Sure You Shop Around

Now you have a better understanding of how mortgages work, as well as the schemes in place to help first-time buyers, you will be in a better position to choose a mortgage that works best for you. Just as with loans and credit cards, the amount you pay can depend on which provider you choose.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to searching available options, then why not make use of a comparison site. Not only will this allow you to add your requirements, but it will also give you a breakdown of the rates currently on offer.

There’s no easy way of purchasing your first property, but it can be a more streamlined operation if you’re fully aware of the options available to you.

Infographic by: househunt.com

Beating loneliness in working from home jobs

The human-race has never been as connected as it is today. We can message someone on the other side of the world in the time it takes for your heart to beat just once – yet more and more people are experiencing loneliness than ever before. If you’re one of the millions of people who have working from home jobs – loneliness can be daily issue for you.

Don’t put a brave face on

If you’re reading this because you’re feeling like the loneliness of your role is getting on top of you – we strongly recommend your first stop is with your manager. It might feel like the person you report to in your company is the last person you’d want to burden with your feelings – but actually, people who turn to their managers are often amazed at what they can put into place to support you.

Don’t forget, your manager wants you to succeed – it’s much better to tweak things to suit your needs than it is to find another role, move you, and retrain someone else. It could be that your current working practice suits others, but doesn’t suit you – if don’t you speak up your manager might assume you’re doing just fine.

If you’re up for fighting loneliness yourself, or you’re about to start a new role and want to make sure you’re getting off on the right foot, consider some of these tactics:

  1. Put the radio on

As a simple first step, putting the radio on can make you feel connected to the outside world. It might not increase your social interaction, but if a brain-hack is enough then hearing presenter voices and occasional news updates is scientifically proven to make you feel connected.

  1. Work outside the house

If your role permits, get out of the house now and again – every day if it helps! Assuming you don’t need an incredibly quick internet connection you can often find a good working environment in a coffee shop, library, hotel lobby, café or many other places. You’ll interact with people, drink coffee and maybe even do some networking.

  1. Schedule catch ups with colleagues

If you’re part of a bigger company why not suggest to colleagues that you have a weekly catch up on all things work related? Perhaps it could be in person at your offices – if not, make it a regular conference call. Having an idea of how your role impacts the business more widely can really make a difference when it comes to feeling like you’re part of something bigger.

  1. Make social media truly social

Social media can just be a place to feel envious of other people’s holiday snaps – but actually, there are loads of opportunities for establishing real life connections. Don’t be a dormant on-looker, get messaging, commenting, sharing and liking to start real conversations and connections.

  1. Try to make friends outside of work.

Getting a work and life balance right when your home is your workplace can be hard – so making sure you’ve got something to do when the evening or weekend comes around can be really beneficial. If you have one or two friends outside work then ask if you’d be welcome when they next do something with their wider social circle.

If you’re one of the millions of people who don’t consider themselves to have any close friends, consider reconnecting with old friends, chat with people when you cross paths or be a regular in a coffee shop, gym or restaurant – there’s lots of people out there keen to make connections.

  1. Ditch the computer and phone – and escape!

If you’re feeling like your only connection with the outside world is an electronic one then switch it off for a while and go out! Studies show that going for a walk or getting lunch outside of your work place can help lift your mood, improve your posture, lessen your chances of developing stress and turbo-charge your productivity. While you’re out, you’re going to feel way more connected with the world than if you’re just peering at it through your blinds.

  1. Join a gym or take some classes

You might not consider yourself a ‘gym person’ – but they can be great places to chat with people or see familiar faces – especially in classes and training sessions. How about salsa dancing? Learning sign-language? Picking up a new foreign language? Perhaps you fancy a hardcore workout at Crossfit? You’ll find some real camaraderie when you’re mixing with people in these environments and they can be something to look forward to in your darker home working moments.

  1. Meet ups, ‘tweetups’ and professional events

Professional meet ups have gone from strength to strength in the last 5 years. Did you know LinkedIn, Twitter and some professional Facebook groups all have regular professional and social gatherings? Look at professional networking groups and breakfasts too – if your job involves promoting your business, social and professional lives can combine!

  1. Go to work socials

Do you have colleagues that also work from home? Perhaps you’re in constant communication with managers or an office based department? If your location allows why not ask them if they would like some outside of work food, drinks or general socialising? If they don’t exist, perhaps you could organise something? If you really want to make your mark, take them to a karaoke bar and make your presence felt!

  1. Look at shared office spaces

It might seem like something that negates the whole point of working from home – but actually, you can establish your own office cheaply if you’d like to share with other people. There are specialist websites for people who are look for shared office space – you can keep all the perks of working under your own steam while having some people around to make you feel a little more connected.

Don’t despair

Although the problem here is loneliness – you’re absolutely not alone in your feelings. Finding ways of making connections might feel tricky, but there are people and places waiting for you if you’re able to branch out a little. Ultimately, if loneliness feels like it’s getting the better of you, chat with your doctor, your feelings are not at all uncommon – and they’ll definitely be able to support you toward feeling better, whatever your situation is.

Personal Insolvencies: A Flash in the Pan or the Shape of Things to Come?

If you’ve been keeping up with current events you’ve probably read something about the burgeoning UK credit bubble and the danger many experts believe every-growing levels of personal debt poses to both millions of individuals and the nation as a whole. In some cases people with excessive levels of personal debt will manage to take hold of the dragon’s tail and bring their situation back under control. In many other cases though personal insolvency awaits. In fact, recently released figures show that during the first quarter of 2017 personal insolvencies increased to their highest level in nearly three years and experts warn this may be just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Losing Ground

From January to March of 2017 there were more than 24,000 personal insolvency cases filed in England and Wales. That’s an alarming 15.7% increase over the same period last year and nearly 7% higher than previous quarter. All told it was the highest number of personal insolvency cases since 2014 when many who had rung up enormous debts while trying to survive the financial crisis were forced to finally throw in the towel. 2014 also happens to be the year when many Brits stopped paying down their debt in the wake of the financial crisis and started charging again.

While it’s likely that many recent insolvency cases are people who went back on a diet of easy credit over the past few years there are other potential causes as well and none of them bode particularly well for the future. Take inflation for instance: The annual inflation rate last year was 2.3% and is projected to rise to 3% or slightly more this year. At the same time wages only grew 1.9% last year and there are no indications companies plan to boost wages in 2017. When inflation was nearly non-existent 1.9% wage growth, while anaemic, was still enough to keep pace. But that’s no longer the case. As a result many working families find themselves falling behind and looking to credit cards and payday loans to make up for the shortfall.

 

Avoiding the Credit Abyss

Financial planners and debt advisers agree that the sooner a person recognizes debt is becoming an issue the greater their chances of avoiding personal insolvency. There are any number of free services out there that will provide advice on how to turn things around if it’s not already too late. However, if you are at a point where you believe you won’t be able to repay your current debt these same advisers can counsel you on the most appropriate path to take.

  • Bankruptcy – In the event you find yourself unable to pay your debts you may need to file for bankruptcy and you should seek financial advice without delay. As mentioned there are any number of free services available that will help you sort out your credit mess and determine the right way forward (we list a number of those agencies at the bottom of this post). If you are at the point that you are contemplating bankruptcy and have contacted an adviser you should notify all your creditors and ask them to halt any actions against you while you work out a plan with that advisor. If you deal with creditors in good faith you will find most are willing to work with you to find a reasonable solution.

 

There are certainly cases where bankruptcy will be the best and perhaps only option but in less severe cases there may be other ways forward, including:

  • Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA) – If you live in England or Wales an Individual Voluntary Arrangement or IVA might be the right solution for you. In short the IVA procedure is one wherein an individual renegotiates payments to their creditors with the aim of finding a realistic way of honouring the debt. The IVA must be overseen by an insolvency practitioner and the final IVA must be approved by 75% of a person’s creditors in order to be considered legally binding. Once the IVA is approved you will switch from paying creditors directly to paying the insolvency practitioner who will then divide the money among your creditors according to the terms of the IVA. If your creditors reject your proposed IVA it will be understood that the original debt conditions still apply. Keep in mind that you can enter into an IVA whether you’ve already filed for bankruptcy or not and that IVAs are not available in Scotland.
  • Debt Relief Order (DRO) – The Debt Relief Order is yet another alternative to bankruptcy and first became available in England and Wales in 2009. It is intended to help those who have less than £15,000 in personal debt and less than £50 in disposable income they would be able to put toward debt payments every month. In order to be considered eligible for a DRO the person would also need to have less than £300 worth of gross assets. If you own property either alone or in partnership with someone else you are not eligible for a Debt Relief Order.

 

Speak to a debt adviser at one of the organizations listed here to find out more about your options regarding bankruptcy, IVAs or DROs.

Keep in mind that insolvency is not inevitable. If you recognize your debt problem early enough you should be able to take remedial steps to avoid the credit abyss and return your financial life to a solid footing. However, even if things have spiralled out of control there’s no reason to panic or presume the worst. Instead, speak to a qualified debt adviser and let them help you devise a plan of action.

Seven Top Tips To Add Value To Your Home On A Budget

For those looking to sell their home or just looking for smart, economical upgrades, there are many ways to improve your home to add value, often these ways are costly, such as refitting the bathroom or replacing the windows. Here we highlight some of the best ways to increase the value of your home while still being budget friendly.

If you’re also looking to save money without making huge sacrifices in your everyday life then you may also want to check out  this article which shares 8 Money Saving Life Hacks That You Can Make now

  1. New Light Fittings

The light in a room can dramatically change its appearance. If you want to add value, you want to give your home an impression of a larger space with a bright, airy yet warm feeling. Opt for chandelier style fittings to make your room appear stylish and refined. Alternatively, choose modern copper fixtures for instant glamour, that is very on trend.

When fitting new lighting, opt for a dimmer switch to which makes your lighting much more versatile so that your home is ready for any occasion.

  1. Update The Bathroom

While a new bathroom can cost a fortune, there are simple tricks to give your bathroom a timely update that gives it a designer finish. New taps on the sink can give a shine and sparkle that was lost with old, discoloured metal while a new toilet seat can help to give the room a clean and new appearance. Bathroom cabinets and cupboards are also extremely handy for clearing the clutter and giving you a seemingly spacious bathroom without needing an extension.

  1. First Impressions Count

Many people will judge your home as soon as they see it, so make it an entrance to remember for all the right reasons. If a new front door is too expensive, give it a good clean, or paint if it’s wooden, and consider changing the fixtures to new modern styles. You can dramatically improve the entrance of your home thanks to tasteful shrubs or flowering plants adorning either side of your front door which is a purse-friendly upgrade that is easy to do.

  1. A Lick Of Paint

A fresh coat of paint instantly makes rooms look clean and bright again, and paint can be purchased relatively cheaply, you may still have paint leftover from the last time you decorated. You do not need to go wild redecorating, simply splashing on a new coat in the same colour will help to sharpen the room and make the whole room feel brand new.

  1. Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning

A thorough house clean can transform your home instantly. A professional sofa clean will revitalise your old settee and dramatically restore life back into your furnishings and is much cheaper than purchasing new seating. Cleaning the carpet is also a great yet inexpensive way to restore the colour and freshness of your carpet, so it looks as good as new.

If you’re looking to sell, many buyers will consider the cost of upgrading the carpets in the price, if yours look brand new, you’ll win the potential buyers over instantly. If you plan to stay at your home, freshly cleaned carpets create a great smell that will improve the look of your home and also make it a much more inviting and pleasant atmosphere.

  1. Add Style

Quick and simple tricks to instantly update your home on a budget can include adding stylish decorations that you can create yourself or pick up cheaply second hand. An elegant vase filled with flowers from the garden can create a positive and warming touch. Another consideration is a  contemporary floating fireplace beam that gives you shelf space but also turns your fireplace into a stylish centrepiece, without the costly expensive of purchasing a new fireplace and surround.

A bright and bold canvas painting can instantly give impact to a neutrally painted room and transform your home into a stylish designer haven. It is the perfect chance to get creative or go rummaging in charity shops.

  1. Create A Feature Wall

If you don’t have the money to wallpaper the whole room, why not consider a designer style feature wall. With one roll of stylishly printed wallpaper, you can create a focal point in any room or simply cover the chimney breast. A feature wall can be anywhere from a small downstairs bathroom to the bedroom or living room.

With a feature wall, you can create a bold and fun design that will give your home impact and be a talking point for all the right reasons. With many different textures, prints, patterns and colour fusions you are sure to find an interesting wallpaper that will make any room shine without spending a fortune.

Infographic by: www.cupolasnmore.com

A Guide To Establishing A More Secure Financial State

Before you will decide to look into such topics as IVA or establishing your Trust Deeds, it matters that you will first know what your goals are. Before you will decide to embark on something- especially something as important as this, you want to be sure then you are well prepared for what is going to unfold. Securing your finances is not something that you can achieve overnight, it takes a lot of hard work and determination. Unless you are able to establish these traits, you can trust that keeping your finances stable may not be a walk in the park for you.

Just like how you would want you Protected Trust Deeds to be all set, you will need to pay attention to how much you have been saving as well. It is easy to spend way more than what you really intend if you are not too keen on keeping track of your spending. This is why you will need to be more aware of where your every single penny is going to. This creates a sense of responsibility so you are perpetually questioning yourself whether a purchase that you are about to make is going to be worth it or not.

Save. Save money. You will want to set aside a specific amount of money that you are earning to your rainy day funds. You will never really know when something unexpected might happen and the best that you can make sure that you have a plan on how you save money along the way, this allows you o be better equipped and prepared to handle those instances when you may have some emergency expenditures. It is reassuring to k who that you will be able to get access to extra cash if and when the need arises. Making your savings automatic is not a bad idea either.

Control your spending. A lot of the problems that people tend to experience pertaining to their finances often has something to do with their being impulsive when buying something. This is the reason why it is always wise to create a list of the stuff that you are getting when you go out. This helps you get rid of situations where you spend on something that you did not really intend to buy in the first place. A good way of keeping your spending under control is to always k how what you want to get ahead of time and to stick to what you have written on the list too.

Live frugally as this will help you shrink your debt. People often have financial troubles simply because they tend to spend more than what they end. You will want to keep your living simple and frugal. Buy only the stuff that you need. This ensures that whatever numbers you will decide it dish out of your pockets, you that it is something that you truly need.

Think of the future. All too many times, people tend to be way too shortsighted that they just live in the now and they do not really consider what will happen to them in the future. Remember, you will grow old and you may no longer be able to hold a job then. If this happens when you will certainly want to be sure that you have a contingency plan in the event that you do want to retire in the long run.

Pay off your debt. Carve out a good plan that will help you get rid of whatever you owe. Pay them as soon as you can. Remember, when debts are left unpaid for a long time, they tend to accumulate interest rates thereby, causing them to be even more expensive to pay back in the process.