Lucy

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Financial Considerations to Make Before Having a Baby

Financial Considerations to Make Before Having a Baby

Preparing for a baby doesn’t just involve going for ultrasounds and buying cute little outfits. Although both of these things are certainly important, there’s a whole host of financial considerations you’ll need to make before your bundle of joy arrives. While you won’t be able to do everything before baby arrives, below are some of the things you can, and should, do once you find out you are expecting.

1. Understand Your Health Insurance

If you live in a country where you have to pay for health insurance, it’s important to know what will be covered under your insurance, and what you will have to pay for out-of-pocket. You will need to consider both antenatal and postnatal costs, as well as the price of the birthing options available to you.

2. Consider Life Insurance

While looking over your health insurance, it’s worth considering taking out a family insurance policy too. Life insurance will protect your spouse and your child should anything happen to you and is the best way to ensure they are financially protected. A lot of people choose to take out plans that last until their child is an adult, but you may want to look into whole-life insurance policies too if your family relies on your income or you have a lot of debts.

3. Create a Baby Budget

The cost of bringing a baby into the world can be as much as $21,000 in the first year alone, so it’s important to budget for your new arrival and consider how it will impact you financially. Take a look at your current income and see how much you have spare every month. Then, work out the costs of everything from formula and nappies to nursery furniture and child care. With both of these figures, you should be able to work out how much you can afford to spend. If you have time to pay off debts before you try for a baby, this is a good option, but there are ways to save money too, as detailed here.

4. Look Into the Cost of Childcare

If both parents need to return to work, you’ll need to look into the cost of childcare in your area. There are a lot of different options here from nurseries to childminders, all of which will vary in cost. You’ll need to determine whether one parent remaining at home will be more cost-effective, or if you have any family who can help out.

5. Build a Rainy Day Fund

If you don’t currently have a rainy day or emergency fund, now is the time to create one. Children are prone to accidents and illness, and there’s no telling how much money you may need to cover the cost of this. Even unpaid days off work need to be covered if you are working to a tight budget. Building your fund up to cover at least three months of expenses is ideal.

While bringing a new life into the world is something to treasure, it’s important to consider the cost. Babies and children aren’t cheap and those who budget in advance will be better off in the years to come.

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Understanding Old Properties

Understanding Old Properties

When purchasing your first home you may consider a project, a home you can buy at a lower price and extend, renovate, or rebuild. This is a great way to get on the property ladder, if you can afford it. Generally, if you are looking to buy a home that needs renovation, the building will be old and therefore may come with some pre-existing issues. In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the issues you may come across with old homes.

BOILERS & OIL TANKS

Boilers can be temperamental at the best of times but in an old home, you should check the age of your boiler and ensure it is still in working order. One key sign that your boiler is on the blink is if your bills are high but your home doesn’t seem to be heating up. This may be a sign that your system needs flushing to remove any sludge or you may need a replacement.

Other older homes may work from heating oil tanks from the likes of https://www.certasenergy.co.uk/. These should be checked regularly, especially for leaks, look out for water marks on ceilings, floors and walls, or if you are struggling to get water out of your taps – these are all signs of possible issues.

MOULD

Mould is a big issue in many homes and if untreated it can have health issues, so it is important to do something about it. Generally, it is black in appearance and appears when moisture and warm air are present; this can be an indication of bad insulation and drafty windows.
To get rid of mould there are sprays available but to get to the root of the problem you may need to get a professional.

UNSAFE ELECTRICS

This may be obvious but before you decide to purchase a property, it’s a good idea to take notice of the electrics, as this can cost a pretty penny to fix. Test the lights for flickering and sockets for sparks.
To fix these issues it is best to get a professional, but ensure you look around the market so you get the best value.

These are some issues you may find in older homes and how to detect them, but it’s always best to seek professional opinions just in case. Share your experiences with fixing up old homes using the hashtag #FixingOldHomes

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Preparing for a winter road trip

Preparing for a winter road trip

With Christmas in touching distance and 2018 drawing to a close, we’re in the middle of winter weather, bringing wet, windy and icy conditions across the country. During the festive season, many people hit the roads to travel short and long distances to visit friends and relatives all over the country. With this in mind, traffic is inevitably increased, meaning busier roads and the increased risk of bad weather. For anyone travelling over the Christmas period, it’s important to stay as safe as possible on the roads, by following a few simple steps and making sure your car is in the best condition possible. To help with this process, we’ve put together a few areas you should be focusing on, if you’re planning a winter road trip.

Look after your tyres

Your vehicles tyres are one of the most important parts of your car and can reduce the risk of a collision, during the winter weather. Looking after the tyres on your vehicle is extremely important. You should be paying close attention to any damage or wear and tear which could potentially affect how your vehicle drives on the road. The winter months usually mean one thing and that’s bad weather conditions. With rain, snow and ice hitting the roads, stopping distances need to be increased and your tyres need to be in the best condition to help aid this. If your tyres have been on your car for a while or they look damaged, it’s best to get them replaced. With companies like TyrePlus, you can have tyres fitted at your home via their mobile fitting service; meaning it shouldn’t be something you put off.

Don’t forget the simple checks!

With all the excitement of Christmas and visiting friends and family; it’s easy to forget about the checks you should be carrying out on your vehicle, especially the obvious ones. Making sure the oil and screen wash are topped up are checks which should be carried out on a regular basis anyway; but it’s even more important during the winter months. With bad weather conditions comes reduced visibility, meaning it’s important to be able to clear your windscreen at all times. Without oil your car’s engine will slowly start to shut down, which can cause significant damage and can be extremely costly. We all know how important it is to check the oil level on a regular basis and the last thing you want to happen, is to be stuck at the side of the road waiting for a recovery truck to take your car away; all because you forgot to check the oil level.

Making the most of the Christmas holidays…

For many of us Christmas is the best time of the year. Whether you have to travel or not, spending time with family and friends is what makes the festive period so special. If you are planning on travelling by car over the holidays then it’s important to remember all of the checks to carry out on your vehicle before you set off; especially because there’s an increased risk of bad weather conditions. Making sure your car is in working order means your journey will run as smooth as possible and you shouldn’t find yourself waiting for a mechanic to come out and fix your vehicle.

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Bringing Your IT Contractor Business Back to the UK Post Brexit: What You Need to Know

Bringing Your IT Contractor Business Back to the UK Post Brexit: What You Need to Know

With the Unstable economic climate in the UK following the referendum that voted 51%for and 48% against Britain leaving the European Union, the future for small, medium and even large-scale businesses may no longer be business as usual

March 2019 will signal the end of the UK being part of the EU and a lot of changes are certain to occur.

These changes may be immediate or gradual depending on whether Britain is able to negotiate a deal, or if the current impasse ends at a no deal agreement with the EU. Changes to the UK legislation will most likely impact the way businesses are run, changes in immigration laws, for instance, may see them becoming stricter at the borders to other EU countries; trade across the border could also be radically affected by possible Increase in tariffs large-scale international businesses in the UK are already thinking of relocating outside to other EU countries so their businesses can thrive post Brexit

What is the impact of these changes in the economy on independent UK contractors both within and outside the Country

UK contractors based in the UK and other small to medium businesses, within the country, may not witness significant changes to their business operations. However, for UK contractors working in the EU countries, post-Brexit will have a foreseeable impact on their businesses, as the possible changes to legislation involving tax, tariff and immigration laws may make increase the cost of doing business for them. We may begin to witness an exodus of talent from the diaspora as happened in other countries like China and what this will mean is that the UK labour market will likely be affected by the post-Brexit changes.

As an IT contractor bringing your business back to the UK, what do you need to know, to thrive the post Brexit economy?

There will definitely be a need for your expertise as the change in legislation will involve the use of IT technology with a lot of companies preferring to use independent contractors rather than permanent staff while there is still uncertainty in the business climate.

However, you are still bound to be in a highly competitive market as the prime minister recently announced that the migration laws for skilled workers into the UK will not be impacted by this secession so you will need to up your game, offering only the best in services to your clients. You also need to start thinking of innovative methods to get more business as well as retain existing clients.

You need to be aware of the UK Criminal Finances Act which introduced a new clause that makes the facilitation of tax evasion by association, anywhere it is illegal, a criminal offense .what this means is that as a contractor, you and the client you work for are liable should you choose less expensive tax evasive means to beat down your prices in a bid to retain your market share whether this is done by employing services outside the UK, as long as tax evasion is illegal in that country .

You will also need to get a professional indemnity insurance to protect yourself in the event of lawsuits from your clients. This policy offers you certainty in the event that you are sued for errors mistakes and negligence on your part. In an economy such as is expected following Brexit, the relationship between customers and businesses could become fractious as people look for justification for every penny spent. This could mean lawsuits for situations that would have been ignored in the past.

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How Technology Brings Efficiency to Small Businesses

How Technology Brings Efficiency to Small Businesses

The rapid growth of the technology niche in recent times is changing the face of every business irrespective of size, organizational form and industry sector. The role of technology in relation to productivity and efficiency cannot be underrated.

According to KPMG’s 2018 Global Technology Innovation report, “the UK tech sector had another strong year in 2017 with businesses posting robust earnings and strong cash flows that led to continued investment in R&D and acquisitions.” The small business sector is also seeing a rapid growth and immense benefits from the adoption of technology in the market, as it has brought the participants to the limelight. Small businesses now have access to various customers and partners in different locations through the use of technology.

The benefits and the impacts of technology are enormous for small businesses to tap into. Some of these benefits include;

High level of Automation: Technology has reduced the long processes that revolve around operational efficiencies for businesses through cloud computing by saving, managing important information, sharing and keeping data and files for businesses which can easily be accessed through cloud computing.

Information Management: Managing inflow and outflow of messages has never been easier and more efficient than before; through the use of technology you can develop efficient processes that manage the flow of messages in your business; one of those includes email management through different applications.

Time Management: This level of advanced technology also helps you save time and work efficiently, with such technology being time tracking software. With this software you could track the progress of your business, measure the performance of each resource allocated to different projects.

Financial Management: Another important benefit of technology to your business is that it can help you manage transactions such as online invoicing services to reduce stress and cost of collecting payment from your customers, budget tracking to help you measure actual cost with expenses, overheads, taxes and so on.

Effective Marketing: To successfully target your audience, you need to be dynamic and understand who they are through effective planning and execution. You could leverage the use of technology to create a marketing plan for your business through the use of marketing tools such as Marketo and hotspot, while you could also leverage on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. to promote your business, products, and services.

Logistics: in the past one of the major problems associated with distance trading was logistics. The stress of transporting goods from seller to buyer was a chore; now delivery services are way more efficient and even the farthest locations can be reached with the added bonus of goods being track-able. Technology eliminates logistic problems allowing potential clients to purchase with you regardless of their location.

Technology also provides different avenues for you to develop your business through learning; this could be online training, holding meetings with your team through teleconference calls or attending international seminars through webinars.
These and many more are ways in which technology has changed the face of small businesses, increased efficiency, profitability and productivity and reduced expenses.

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