Is Home-Owning Worthwhile Anymore?



According to a recent BBC article, mortgages are at their most affordable for 14 years.   Despite this, the average mortgage deposit is still roughly at 10% of the total value, so getting a foot on the property ladder can be extremely difficult.

This is made more difficult at the moment as the world is still fragile from the global economic recession.  So as you’re analysing whether you’re in the financial position to buy, you might consider whether there’s even any point, and whether it’s worth it financially.


Yes: A Home is an Asset to Invest in

If you do manage to buy your first home, you’ll have invested in an asset which is relatively stable and safe.  Despite housing market crashes, property prices slowly rise and fall often, so this means if you choose a good time to sell, you could make a profit.

A home is a long-term investment, too.  It’s something which you could leave to your children when you’re no longer here, or it could even pay for your retirement, and you could even sell-up and move abroad if you desire.

This is an important factor because depending on the country you move to, your state pension could be frozen, and not rise with inflation.  Therefore having a house to sell could ensure you have available funds regardless of the country you move to.


Yes: Let Your Home to Earn Extra Cash

If you’re not using your home for a period of time (if you’re working abroad, for example), you could rent it out to earn some extra cash. This is an option which is definitely not available to you if you rent a house, as sub-letting is technically illegal.

If you rent your home out, your tenants are also bound by contract to not change or alter your house in any way if that’s what you wish.  This means when you return back to it, your house will be exactly as you left it, and on top of that it will have made you some money.


No: Your Mortgage Deposit Money is Better off Spent Elsewhere  

Mortgage deposits are extremely high at the moment, with mortgage lenders extremely hesitant to give out low-deposit mortgages.  This has made actually getting onto the property ladder extremely challenging.

Many young people find themselves in the position where they have enough money for the monthly payments and have excellent credit ratings, but they simply can’t afford the deposit.

You could ask yourself then, whether the deposit money could be better spent elsewhere.  The money that you’ve saved up could buy you a year of travelling the world, or go towards the cost of your future wedding.  It could even be the start-up fund for a new business venture. Of course, there are ways to make your deposit cheaper – by visiting a mortgage broker, for example.

Ultimately, the choice of whether home-owning is worthwhile anymore comes down to two main factors: whether you are looking for a long-term investment that could pay off in the future, and whether that investment is worth the current extremely high deposit prices.  The choice is up to you.

Avoiding the Most Common Pension Pitfalls

Avoiding the Most Common Pension Pitfalls

Pensions are a minefield, particularly in the UK, where they constantly create controversy in the news. It’s difficult to know how to get the most out of your pension fund, especially considering that the conflicting advice from those in the know leaves most people confused. But what are the main mistakes made by people trying to get the most out of their retirement fund?

Choosing the Wrong Annuity

Far too many people simply opt to take the annuity provided by their insurer. A shocking £7 billion is lost by people failing to shop around for an annuity, when they could get up to 20% more income by simply doing their homework. If you have a medical condition, you can even benefit from an enhanced annuity, as your life expectancy is expected to be less. Only 2% of people qualify for this with their existing insurer, however 60% of those who shop around by using independent financial advisers qualified for the enhanced income with their annuity.

Not Taking Advantage of Tax Relief

It’s not often that the tax man is generous, and not taking advantage of the tax relief on pension contributions will reduce your pension fund. When you pay money into your pension, the government pays 20% if you’re a basic rate non-taxpayer, and 40% if you’re a higher rate taxpayer, effectively reducing your tax payments or increasing your pension fund, depending on which way you look at it. If you’re currently not receiving tax relief, then take action and start taking advantage of the opportunity to increase your pension pot.

Forgetting About Past Pensions

If you’ve ever paid into a pension fund with a past employer, ask yourself, do you still know the details of that pension? How much is it worth, and when was the last time your reviewed it? Failing to keep track of past pensions is one of the most common ways people miss out on maximising their retirement fund, and 1 in 10 people in Britain have completely lost track of pensions held with past employers. Tracking old pension funds can be done using the Pension Tracing Service – a free scheme run by the UK government, and you should always keep past employers up to date with your personal details.

Not Reviewing Pension Charges

How often do you review your current pension? If you took out your pension before 2001, you could be paying hefty charges for your fund. Many charges have fallen sharply over the past decade, and the average pension fund now charges just 0.77% per year, so if you haven’t reviewed your pension recently, now is the time to do it. Some older pension funds have other benefits (such as guaranteed growth rates) that you might want to hold on to, but weighing up your options is still necessary if you want to maximise your money.

Avoiding these pension pitfalls comes down to one thing: making the effort. If you set aside a little time to pay more attention to your pension fund, retirement could be a much more pleasant experience.


A loan which won’t cost your whole payday cheque


Every now and then we might need a bit of fast cash to pay an unexpected bill, repair your vehicle or pay off debt amongst other reasons, and when we need this money many people will take out a payday loan. This is a loan which you will then payback in full plus interest on your next payday, and this type of loan can be very expensive and also offers not much flexibility. When it comes to payday you will either see yourself paying up most of your hard earned cash, or you will have it rollover with the interest increasing which could see you fall into some real financial problems.


As you can see this is not a fantastic solution to your need for some quick cash, but there is one excellent alternative which gives borrowers a lot of freedom when it comes to repayments. Instead of paying a hefty sum on your next payday, you can opt for an installment loan which will allow you to pay back a sum you can afford each month over 3 months, 6 months or a whole year. By having the option to pay over a long period of time it means that you can come up with an amount to repay each month which won’t leave you struggling with your finances and falling deeper into debt, so it is clear why so many people are now looking for payday loan alternatives.


Many people will apply through 1st Stop for an instalment loan between £150 and £500, and borrowers can receive this money on the same day as applying so you can quickly pay for repairs, your rent or whatever the reason is for your loan. Quick cash doesn’t have to cost your whole payday anymore, and this means that your finances do not have to take massive hit which will impact your lifestyle. 1st Stop instalment loans will allow borrowers to get the money they need and have a longer term to payback the money, and this is a much more realistic and logical way of borrowing cash when you need it before your payday rolls around.


Payday loans can cause financial issues and debt to balloon out of control for the borrower quite rapidly if they struggle to payback on their payday, and therefore borrowers need a safer and more flexible way to get some quick cash.

How to Find Online Bargains on Travel Essentials


Whether you’re looking for a chic new carry-on, a used surfboard, or the perfect little black wrinkle-proof dress, turning to the internet first can save you a bundle. Many of today’s most covetable travel products are available both new and used from major brand names online. There are a few tricks that can shave off even more dollars from the high street price, leaving you with more spending money on the road.

Search for Coupon Codes

One of the golden rules of online shopping is to always search for online discounts or coupon codes before you get started. Some coupon sites require you to register your details or sign up for a mailing list, but the payoff can be well worth it. These sites give you a code which can be entered in at the time of checkout for a certain percentage off of your purchase. Look for ones which are updated frequently, such as or You can also gain access to specialty discount codes or offers by connecting with your favourite brands on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Comparison Shopping

Google has a handy shopping application, which allows you to search for your product and see a side-by-side comparison of prices from different shops. There’s also a multitude of websites specialising in price comparisons, such as or Amazon. You can use the prices that you find on these websites as a bargaining tool. If you take the print-out of a quoted internet price into a shop, you may get them to match or beat it. It’s also worth looking at off-brands to find better deals.

Online Marketplaces

In addition to the major marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, there’s a wealth of local websites to peruse for travel products. Recent advertisements for Quicksales have pushed this Australian company into the forefront of the public eye, and with more people using it the selection of products is wide. The ad campaign for has helped make online marketplace shopping more local, and there are other sites like Gumtree and Craigslist which can also offer great local deals. These sites also allow you to swap items, or even find them for free. You may score some free travel guidebooks or a money belt if you keep a vigilant eye out.

Time Your Shopping

End of season sales are always a good time to shop online, but prices can fluctuate even according to the day of the week! The website analysed data for thousands of products over a period of two years, with interesting findings. They found that Monday tends to offer the lowest prices on electronics and digital cameras, while book prices are the lowest on Saturday. Clothing prices fluctuated throughout the week, but Friday was the highest overall.

Just as you probably use flight comparison sites to find the best package and flight deals, it’s also worth shopping around using these various retail options. When you stock up on all of your travel essentials for less, it allows you to travel in greater comfort and style.

10 Easy Tips That Will Help You Save Your Money!

save money

Do you find it hard to save money? Do you struggle to deposit a particular amount of money into your savings by the end of the month? Do you find it hard to control your urge to spend on materialistic things such as clothes, American diamonds, electronic items etc.? Well, if you are not meticulous with your money, your answer to the above mentioned questions is probably yes.

Saving has the knack to support you in achieving the financial success you and your family need and deserve, provided it is done properly and consistently. You can achieve your success via savings by doing the following these guidelines:

  1. Maximizing your savings.
  2. Thinking about ‘saving’ rather than ‘spending’.
  3. Creating a well maintained plan to save a particular fragment of your salary pay cheque every week or month.

To follow and maintain the above mentioned philosophies, you need to take some practical measures:

  1. Open up a safety deposit box at a bank. It is a great means of motivation for you that will drive you to stock up your safety box. Also, because of the fact that you can only get access to your box while the bank is open, you will have a control over your urge to withdraw money and spend it on other things.
  2. Make savings mandatory, just like how paying bills is mandatory every month. This way you will develop a habit of depositing a certain amount of money every month in your savings account.
  3. hileeen, you will have a control over your urge to withdraw money and spend it on other things. ons.
  4. Keep away from big restaurants and shops. It is very difficult to resist a good pair of shoes or a piece of tasty chicken. You may just give in and end up spending an amount that you may regret spending later.
  5. Save money by saving change. This way someday it may add up to hundreds of dollars for your nest egg! Making use of a piggy bank, you can save whatever change you have left in your wallet, pockets, purses or anywhere else every day!
  6. Invest in jewelry made up of materials like gold, silver, diamonds etc. The good thing about this type of investment is that you do not have liquid money in your hand to spend. Selling a piece of gold or silver takes some time which can be advantageous to your saving plan.
  7. Prepare a monthly or weekly budget. Keep track of your money and see to it that you have account of where your money goes every month. Accordingly prepare a monthly budget and keep aside a sum of money for that particular area. If you are saving up for something specific like a television or a car, you made set aside a sum of money every month for that.
  8. Share a ride with your family, neighbors and friends. If going through the same routine, you may drop off your kids, siblings or any other family members to his/her destination. This will not only save money but will also help in controlling pollution from your side.
  9. Shop during clearance sales. It is not only exciting and fun but also cost efficient. When you purchase something for less than the actual price, you are spending money with content.
  10. Manage your utilities. Make sure that you turn off the lights and fans when you leave the room. Keep a check on your telephone bill. If any item is not being used and is consuming power, make sure you turn it off.
  11. Lastly, you should make use of all the natural resources that are available to you such as sunlight, natural ventilation etc. Sunlight can be used to make food in solar cookers, to dry clothes, to heat your house doing winters etc.

Authors Bio:

Walter Clark is a well-known book writer and publisher who has written over 15 books on subjects such as gold and diamonds investments, budgeting, household management etc. Walter has been writing since he was 10 years old and today with a degree in English Literature, he has reached the goal that he always wanted to.

Buying And Selling Rolex Watches


Rolex is the one name that really stands out among watch manufacturers for manufacturing and supplying high quality timepieces. There are very few names in the world that conjure up such images of prestige and wealth; as such, Rolex watches have become as much a status symbol as the cutting edge wrist watches that they invariably are. You can also be assured that any Rolex watch you decide to buy will offer the best quality timekeeping possible.

Rolex watches are highly sought after by collectors as well as by people looking for family heirlooms or the perfect piece to adorn their wrists. Collectors value them so highly because the watches are very well made and because they are produced in such a number that virtually all models are difficult to get hold of and are considered to be highly sought after prizes.

Heirlooms are traditionally passed down from one generation to the next and a good quality heirloom could be centuries old. This means finding something that not only retains its appeal over time but also something that will last. It shouldn’t just hold its financial value but should ideally increase in value with every generation it reaches. Rolex watches are the perfect example and buying a new or second hand Rolex watch can prove a great way to start a family tradition.

If you already own one then selling Rolex watches can prove a profitable venture too. Generally speaking, the older the watch and the more unique the model, the greater the value that is attached to it. Many models are highly sought after because they were groundbreaking when they were produced while others are considered so appealing because of the famous people that have sported them over the years. Yet more of these incredible timepieces retain their appeal and financial value because they were produced in such small numbers.

Rolex watches are the ultimate in timepiece and the ultimate in luxurious heirloom. They can be considered an investment in the future, not only for yourself but for your children and grandchildren too or they can be considered the perfect luxury item to be worn whenever you feel like putting on a piece of historical luxury.

Rolex watches from BQWatches can make a great financial investment or they can become the perfect family heirloom. View our extensive online catalogue of high quality, luxury timepieces.

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The financial benefits of going solar at home


Along with the indisputable upsides for the environment, solar provides financial benefits to homeowners that will work for them as energy markets become more volatile. As energy costs escalate around the globe, sustaining our busy lifestyles is becoming more and more expensive. There is little we can do to wane our dependence on energy day to day – yet solar provides a solution that makes you money, without impinging on your lifestyle.

With solar, you’re tapping into an abundant source – sunshine – which is free. Although the equipment needed to harness the energy comes with a price all that is generated after payback comes without a price tag.

Here are some of the financial benefits of solar:

Energy Bills

One of the first benefits you will enjoy is the lower energy bills. Generating your own electricity can reduce your bill by up to 100 per cent, based on the size of your solar system, your home’s location and energy consumption. For example, a 3kW system, which will fit on most roofs, will produce around 60-70 per cent of an average household’s electricity requirements, while a 5kW system has the potential to produce all of their needs – off the grid!

With demand for electricity increasing and many nations interested in carbon pricing, sourcing energy form coal-fired power stations seems unnecessarily expensive and counter-intuitive. Exponentially increasing energy bills remain a major reason for homeowners to switch to solar, in fact as your energy bill rises, so will your savings.

Value to home

Installing solar will increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to prospective buyers, who will benefit from its advantages in the total investment. As many governments around the world look toward creating energy efficient buildings and propose methods by which to rate them, investing in solar will become more and more attractive. Such measures may require owners of houses, apartments and flats to provide energy, water and greenhouse performance information about the property at the time it is offered for sale or lease.

Wise Investment

Solar is a passive investment -requiring little to no maintenance or on-going costs – that provides you with an attractive return over the lifetime of the system. Given that good quality solar modules may last up to 40 years, this is a long-term return! There aren’t too many home investments that will offer you increasing and ongoing returns. You will also hedge against rising energy costs as you will minimise the impact of the increases.

In the long run, solar electricity is cheaper than buying it from the power company. After the initial start up cost, it will start paying for itself. The sooner you start the sooner you will break even, and everything after that is a profit – without adding to the environmental debt.

Government Incentives

Going solar produces financial benefits in the form of tax breaks, tradable certificates and feed-in tariffs. This will vary from country to country, with some nations offering substantial assistance while others continue to cull existing schemes. These reimbursements however, will help will the initial costs of installation making your home’s transition a smooth one.

Peta Lewis is a leading contributor for Todae Solar one of Australia’s leading solar power installers for homes and businesses. To find out more information about solar power and the benefits visit:



Four Home Investments that Will Lessen Your Utility Bills

 utility bills

High utility bills can take a toll on your budget in this economy. Taking necessary steps to invest in your home is a wise factor for lowering energy bills. Simple, energy efficient upgrades can go a long way in decreasing bills, therefore filling your pockets with extra cash.

New Air Conditioning Unit

One common money draining appliance is an outdated air conditioning unit. If your AC unit is old, it may not be producing the volume needed to cool your entire home efficiently. An AC unit that constantly runs, and does not cool to the desired temperature, is a sign that it may need replacing. A new unit can cost anywhere from 3,000 to 15,000, depending on brand and installation costs. New AC installations can lower your electricity bill hundreds of dollars per year. Many homes are larger than their AC unit can accommodate, and installing a second AC unit can alleviate this issue. Another possible fix is to install a duct fan, which increases air flow to an upper floor level.


Upgrading your furnace to a high efficiency model can increase temperatures while decreasing expensive heating bills. Rising fuel costs have families with older furnaces turning down the thermostat. An upgraded furnace can produce higher levels of comfort for a lower price. When oil is heated it produces carbon monoxide gasses. Newer models are safer and have less of a chance for carbon monoxide to escape the system.

New energy efficient appliances

Old appliances also eat up unnecessary energy by remaining on at all times. Newer energy efficient appliances have the ability to shut off automatically when not in use. Newer refrigerators with built in energy controls and a water dispenser on the outside of the door can reduce energy. Energy efficient dishwashers actually save more water than doing the dishes by hand.

Solar Energy

Using solar energy is another way to lower your heating and electricity bills. This method can even eliminate your winter heating costs. Some power companies will often pay you if your solar energy system generates excess electricity. Installation options consist of do it yourself, or contracting out the work.

Making a few changes in your home’s overall energy efficiencies can have a wonderful effect on your pocket book in the long run. Whether it be upgrading appliances, installing a new AC unit or furnace, or using solar energy to power your home, upgrading is a wise choice compared to leaving your old appliances in operation. Upgrades can also be aesthetically pleasing, and increase the re-sale value of your home.

Written by: Annette Hazard- She is a mother of one, she likes cycling, running, and green living. She uses solar with Vivint, which she read about on Vivint’s Twitter.