Category: Money

BEST WAY TO START SAVING MONEY FOR A HOUSE IN UK

Best way to start saving money for a house in UK

Buying a house is basically a must-do for most of us. One factor that prevents most people from becoming homeowners is money. But you don’t have to be extra rich to become a homeowner in the UK. There are ways you can start saving money to achieve this goal.

A house is ordinarily a structure meant for shelter, but to many of us, it means more than that. It is a milestone and dream come true for many.

In the UK, over 27 million people are homeowners, 24.6% are in the process of acquiring one while 86% want to buy a house.

While house prices in the real estate market keep on rising, getting your dream home may not be as hard as you think. Here are the top six ways to start saving money for a house in the UK.

a lady saving on low income

Start Saving

The mantra for anyone wanting to become a homeowner should be ‘save! Save! Save!’

While the median age of most people acquiring homes in the UK is 34 years, quite a number of people have started embracing the save early buy early mantra. This saves them quite a lot of trouble.

While most prefer to save when they are ‘financially stable enough’, saving early has been proven to be highly effective. Especially, in the acquisition of properties in the real estate market.

It does not matter the age or job, the best time to start saving is now.

 

I have a constructive article on how to start saving here and here.

Plan For It

If you do not plan, then you are writing an invitation to failure. Planning is a very important aspect of our everyday lives. You do not become a house owner by chance.

Buying a house requires even the most intricate of details. Any prospective homeowner should plan a detailed budget around the house he/she has in mind.

Details such as the price of the house should be indicated.

When you do this, you can then detail how this would be achieved.

The prospective homeowner should know what to forgo in his budget to maximize his savings.

Put Your Plan In Action.

Planning does not necessarily guarantee the actualization of your dream. Though it is the first step towards achieving this.

A lot of factors will determine how successful your plans are.

How well you stick to your budget is a necessary factor. After determining the ‘how’ part of your saving plan, putting that plan into action is one of the most important steps to take.

This however requires a high level of discipline. For instance, one could cut on the amount spent on fast food and opt for home cooking, reduce the amount spent on entertainment and subscriptions and more. That extra money should then be put into your house savings.

 

This calculator will help you calculate your monthly expenses.

saving spare money

Save Every Dime (Save Some More)

I am a minimalist. It is a habit that I picked up from my wife. But what I have found out about being a minimalist is that it makes it easier for me to save.

Sometimes being a minimalist mean I constantly overthink before I spend any money that I don’t have to.

A dime goes a long way and so does a shilling. It is crazy how much you can save when put certain money away. One plus one equals two after all. Spare change, loose change could add up over time when you think about it. Even though it is always very tempting to get rid of them.

So keep that loose change it could go a long way. It may look like nothing today, but it might be worth something tomorrow.

Get A Side Job

One plus one equals two and two jobs are sometimes better than one. Especially when they don’t have to clash.

Houses aren’t cheap to acquire and it takes commitment.

House prices are astronomically high at the moment and to save more, you might want to get a side hustle.

There are several side hustles you can choose to embark on. But most times, people tend to choose one they have prior knowledge about.

Your side hustle can either be online or offline.

For instance, one could try the freelancing market by selling services like writing, offering to teach English to non-natives, doing transcription jobs, doing odd jobs like babysitting, being a dog groomer or dog walker and much more.

If you are going for an online side job, you have several options to choose from.

 

Here are 101 side hustle ideas you can choose from.

Put Savings In A Fixed Deposit Account.

Money put in a fixed deposit account tend to earn a higher interest margin when compared to other accounts.

One could decide to lock their saving for a certain period, for instance, lock their house savings for either half a year, a year or more.

This will be highly advantageous as you will not be able to touch those saving at the same time earn huge amounts of interest.

Do A Garage Sale

We all have got stuff that we are not using but still occupy a huge amount of space in our wardrobes and garages.

Believe me when I tell you that you might have gold wasting away in your garage.

What I mean is that those junks that accumulate dust in your garage can be worth some money.

Doing a garage sale can generate some amount of income that could come in handy when wanting to save for that dream house.

There are several ways to sell these items but the two popular options are eBay and Amazon and Facebook marketplace.

get a room mate apartment sharing

Consider sharing an apartment

Rent prices are high and it might be one of the reasons why you can’t adequately save enough.

If you are considering purchasing a house soon, you should consider sharing an apartment to reduce the cost of renting.

Expenses such as food and entertainment can also be cut down by half if your apartment buddy will be sharing the costs.

Buy goods at the charity or thrift stores

Goods at the charity shop are ironically one of the cheapest, unique and high quality.

While you may prefer to do most of your shopping at the supermarket, during this period you might want to start visiting the charity store.

The one pound or two pounds saved at the charity could be a game-changer for you.

In Conclusion

Owning a home is practically everybody’s dream. Be it you are buying it as an asset or to get some privacy, or even to start your own family. Buying a house is definitely not an easy task but with these simple savings tips, you could be a homeowner in no time.

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15 Business ideas for Diasporans moving back to Africa

Many Africans migrate abroad for greener pastures but over time a lot of people start thinking about coming back home. Of course, they can’t go back home to nothing. This is why diasporans look for business ideas when moving back to Africa.

Africa’s population alone makes it a market with huge opportunities. According to a UNICEF prediction, Africa’s population will increase by 1.8 billion people. This means that business opportunities will continue to be on the increase.

People move abroad for opportunities for a better life and standard of living. But most start to feel homesick after years and even decades of staying abroad.

So many plan to move back home to settle down eventually. But what to do after coming back home you ask? What do they do with all the money they have gathered and saved up in the diaspora?

Here are 15 promising business ideas that you as a diasporan moving back to Africa can invest in.

Agric-business

While agriculture is the backbone of most African country’s economy, it, however, has not been fully exploited as a business opportunity. Every year, over 257 million Africans starve while 12 Africans die of hunger every minute.

Everybody knows that with every growing population, so does the demand for their needs increase. And with a population growth like Africa, this definitely sounds like a business opportunity.

The World Bank suggests that by 2030, the food demand in Africa could equal $1 trillion.

One of the factors causing this is the shortage of canned and processed foods. A knock-on effect of this is that food prices are high. This is because, at the moment, most food products can’t be transported to distant locations without expiring.

When this happens, produces increase their prices to make up for their losses.

This is just one problem. There are several agricultural opportunities you can still look at.

Pharmaceutical products, Medical Clinics and Healthy Food

Did you know 80% of African pharmaceutical products are imported? But the African pharmaceutical market is a rapidly growing one.

Covid 19, however, exposed the true situation of the pharmaceutical and medical industry in Africa.

Only a few African countries manufacture their own medicine while the majority of them import from abroad. While it may require billions of dollars to invest in, the profits earned sure are outstanding.

It is also not news that many of our medical facilities are substandard. Most don’t even have a good working environment.

Perhaps, the easiest of the three medical challenges mentioned is the healthy food industry. Yes, it would require a great deal of knowledge on the production side but it is still doable.

There are however several challenges to face. From funds to various government licenses and regulations. Not everyone might be interested in manoeuvring these barriers.

If you are thinking of investing in any of these industries, go for it. It is a good opportunity for anyone willing to invest.

Construction and Real Estate Industry.

The world is changing and so is Africa. Change is inevitable, you could even tell from the tall buildings sprouting from the ground up, from the roads now snaking their ways into villages.

Construction and real estate as industries bring in massive profits.

The African population is ever-increasing and this leads to serious housing deficits. Examples can be seen in Accra, Kampala and even Cape Town.

According to World Bank, the urbanization rate in sub-Sahara Africa is suggested to increase from 36 percent to 50 percent by the year 2030.

Day in day out, it is not uncommon to see roads or buildings being constructed. From cement to sand, beams, and even roofing materials, all these things bring in massive profits to investors.

With the knowledge of when to invest, where to invest and where to get the raw materials, the construction industry is definitely profitable.

Automobile industry

‘Car dealers’ as we like to call it. The number of cars being imported into Africa will definitely shock you.

In Nigeria for example, you simply have to take a drive down to Tin Can in Lagos to see the number of cars being offloaded from shipping containers every day.

Every year, 28.45 billion dollars is spent on importing automobiles while the profits earned will shock you even more.

An advantage you have over people doing car business in Africa is your nearness to resources. By this, I mean depending on the country you are living in, you have a first-hand inspection of cars that are to be sold.

For example, let’s say you live in the US and you see a car for auction near you. You have the opportunity to see those cars live and know the true working condition.

This is different from car dealers from Africa who just buy cars and hope the condition is not worse than what was stated on the auction site.

Invest in Mobile Phone Market

Thanks to the marketing plan of smartphone manufacturers as well as the effort put in by importers, Africa’s smartphone market has experienced a boom over the years.

Companies like Transsion, the manufacturers of Tecno, Itel and Infinix are the leaders in smartphone sales in Africa for a reason. The strategy of offering their low-end devices at prices as low as $100 or less have made smartphones affordable for everyone.

Also, we have an increase in demand for fairly used phones.

The impact of social media on phone demands can’t also be underestimated. Almost everyone now has digital devices. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and WhatsApp have popularized them even further.

The things you can do with mobile devices nowadays are boundless.

Smartphones and other smart gadgets from all over the world have been flooding the African market with astoundingly huge profits gotten from it.

According to reports from the Nigerian Communications Commission, the mobile phone market in Nigeria is worth about N484 billion.

Should you want to invest, then an investment in the smartphone market is worth it.

Information Technology (IT)

The IT sector in Africa is one of the fastest-growing industries. Even the U.S. Department of Commerce identifies it as one of the fastest and most profitable sectors in Africa.

We live in an age where connectivity is a priority. Companies and governments are always looking for ways to make their systems more effective.

If you are currently an IT professional abroad, you will quickly find out that systems and technology there is far superior to those in Africa. Already you have a problem you can solve, you just have to take action.

Commercial Food Services

Clothe, housing, transport and food are three industries that stay evergreen.

Food services like restaurants nowadays have become a sure way of reining in profits. From the young to the old, everyone must eat. It is not uncommon in Africa to see new restaurants spring up one after the other.

All over Africa, you will find few fast-food restaurants dominating the food sector.

The profits made from these restaurants are jaw-dropping.

Delivery or Logistics services

Thanks to the growth of eCommerce platforms and the impact of social media vendors, the demand for delivery or logistics companies have increased enormously.

These days, it is not uncommon to sight delivery vehicles every time you go out. Everyone wants something delivered.

Delivery services are surprisingly making huge profits in Africa.

Nowadays, people opt to buy goods online be it within Africa or abroad then have them delivered to either their homes or workplaces at a certain fee.

Should you want to invest in a business, then delivery or logistics service is worth looking into.

Invest in Education

Did you know that the under 18 demographic represents one-third of the African population?

This means that the education sector is a big potential market.

Also, thanks to the poor state of public schools, most people strive to send their kids to privately owned schools.

Investing in education, more so, in the private sector certainly does bring quite a lot of profits.

With the teacher to student ratio at the public schools being 1:60. Most parents opt to take their children to schools where there is no scramble for resources. Where their children’s needs will be catered for easily.

This opens up a lot of opportunities for new schools to enter the market.

Hair, Beauty and cosmetics products

The growth of the beauty and cosmetics industry over the years is truly phenomenal.

According to Euromonitor International, the beauty industry is worth about $25.4 billion in the Middle East and Africa. They also suggested that the market will grow by 6.4 percent over the next four years.

Reports have also estimated the market for weaves, hair extensions and wigs at over $6 billion a year.

All over Africa, there is a huge demand for hair, cosmetics and beauty product with profits earned being triple the amount invested.

Perhaps even more surprising is that these industries have not peaked in Africa. The global personal care industry is worth about $400 billion with Africa representing only a 3% share of this.

There is still significant room for growth and money to be made here.

Join The Fashion Industry

The fashion industry is huge anywhere in the world and it is no different in Africa.

Did you know that the footwear and apparel market in Africa is estimated to be worth about $31 billion?

The industry is worth about $2.4 trillion globally.

When you look at the African population, you will realize that there is still so much money to be made from this industry. Like many industries in Africa, people are only just starting to understand the true worth.

Imports of used clothes, bags and shoes have been found to make tremendously huge amounts of profits.

Fintech Industry

Perhaps there is no emerging industry that is making as much rave as the fintech industry in Africa right now.

A testament to this is that as of 2018, Africa had only one unicorn startup company, Jumia.

In 2021 alone, the continent has seen 3 unicorn startup companies. Flutterwave, Interswitch and Fawry are the three companies to achieve unicorn status this year.

There is no other industry in Africa that is getting as much international capital and backing as fintech at the moment.

This boom in the industry is however not surprising.

Did you know that more than 60% of Africa’s adult population are unbanked?

Over 350 million African adults own smartphones but a high percentage of them do not have a bank account or access to formal financial services.

The market here is huge.

Apartment Hotels

The growth of apartment hotels in Africa is rather sudden but unsurprising. Africa’s real estate sector itself remains a prime industry and is ever-growing.

Apartment hotels which is a real estate niche is still an emerging market in Africa. The huge demand for it is however easy to understand.

Apartment hotels are fully furnished apartments that offer the comfort and privacy you can get in your very homes.

Serviced apartments can also cost 20-30% less than an equivalent extended stay at conventional hotels.

Apart from comfort and privacy, global business travel is also a driving factor for the rise in serviced apartments. This market is estimated to spend more than $1.2 trillion annually.

Supermarket (Grocery Retail Sales)

The supermarket industry has always been a lucrative one. It is not uncommon to see various minimarts almost everywhere you go.

Food is an essential part of our everyday lives and the demand for it will always be high.

It is also not uncommon to see multi function supermarkets with sectors divided into grocery, fashion, pharmacy and the likes. Supermarkets are popular for bulk and cheaper buys.

In 2017, Nigerians spent $44 billion on food with grocery sales accounting for 75% of it.

In the same 2017, the value of grocery retail sales in South Africa was about $44.9 billion.

Keep in mind that there have been more demand for food since then and the effect of inflation and recession.

The biggest aspect to be considered when opening a supermarket isn’t only capital. Your location probably plays the biggest part in the survival of your business.

You must choose a prime location.

Importing and Exporting

The importing and exporting industry has always been huge. With a little research, you can become an importer or exporter in no time.

Importing business can allow you to do business in your home country without really staying there. All you have to do is find products that you know is in demand in your host country and begin from there.

You have to be careful of greed when you start though. It is best for you to focus on only a few products so you don’t spread yourself too thin.

You can also choose to find products in Africa that you can export abroad.

If you are dealing with farm produce, for example, you can either export raw materials or processed commodities.

Products like coffee, honey, Shea butter and flowers are available at cheaper prices in Africa. You can take advantage of that.

Also, exporting from Africa is cheaper than importing back to Africa.

All you need to do is to source for reliable companies in your home country that you can sell to.

In Conclusion

Go east or go west home is always the best. Home is where our roots are. While most African countries are underdeveloped, it is a continent rich in resources. The population alone makes it one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the whole world. There is a market for virtually any business you want to do in Africa, all you have to do is decide. Over time it should become a worthy investment.

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Is Vanguard good for beginners stock market investors in UK

Starting a journey in stock and share can be daunting for beginners. Is Vanguard good for you as a beginner who is just starting in investing in stock and shares? Please stay with me as I take you through some very useful points about Vanguard UK.

Less is better

Vanguard mainly has its own products which are not too many. You can easily scan through the Vanguard list of funds without getting confused.

If you compare Vanguard with other major stockbrokers in the UK. You will quickly see the difference.

It can be good to have a lot to choose from. However, for most beginners, that can get you confused.

It is like walking into Tesco and seeing multiple brands of bathroom cleaner spray which gets you confused on which one to buy.

But instead, if you are in Lidl or Aldi, you might just see a couple and it’s easier for you to pick one without getting too confused. By the way, I am not saying Aldi or Lidl is better than Tesco as a brand, this is just an example.

For example, Vanguard UK has about 76 funds to choose from. The other major stockbrokers in the UK have on average 5000 funds, stocks, and shares.

Stock BrokerNumber of Products
VanguardAbout 76 funds
FreetradeOver 5,000 funds, stocks
Hargreaves LansdownOver 8,000 funds, stocks and shares
Trading 212Over 10,000 funds, stocks and shares

Low risk

One of the most important things to be careful of in-stock and shares investing is losing money. All stockbrokers do have a statement that summaries as this,

“The value of your investments can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.”

In some cases, they will clearly state that ‘your capital is at risk’. It is normal for them to make that clear because that is the nature of investing in anything. Nothing is a guarantee when it comes to investing.

As a beginner, it makes sense to reduce your risk exposure and this is why investing through Vanguard is good for beginners. Vanguard offer low risk investing through their Index Fund and Exchange Traded Funds (ETF).

I will explain more about Index Fund and ETF in another article which you can read after this one. It is a very useful article. The link is below.

Basically, investing in one company (individual stocks and shares) is riskier than investing in a fund that invests in a variety of companies. 

With vanguard, their funds are low risk. They are ETF and index funds which means they invest in a bit of everything and that reduces the risk.

Beginner guide for Vanguard UK

Low fees

If you compare Vanguard fees to other brokers you will quickly notice how low their fee is.

They offer one of the cheapest fees for a UK online brokerage.

All Vanguard accounts have a 0.15% annual account management fee. Fees on funds also average about 0.20%. Vanguard fees are actually very transparent.

It is however important to know that they charge periodic one-off bid-offer spreads on certain trades. The good thing is that the fees are so small they are almost negligible.

As an investor in the stock market, you have to be careful of how much fees you pay because fees can significantly reduce how much money you make in the stock market.

Vanguard is a reputable company with integrity that you can trust.

User-Friendly Platform

Vanguard platform is beginner and user friendly. The simplicity of their platform makes it easy to create an account and start investing without any complications and confusion.

There are brokers out there who make things too complicated for beginners. Vanguard gets this right.

Vanguard UK website’s home page is very informative and easy to navigate.

The website is fully mobile-friendly.

Good Customer Service and Support

Customer support is one of the most important factors that you must put into consideration when investing in the stock market.

You want to deal with a company that is reachable and approachable. Vanguard offers its customers world-class support. 

You can easily reach them via email or phone call. They are swift to deal with any issues or concerns you have.

Vanguard Account Types

One of the factors that make Vanguard beginner-friendly is the fact that they have a variety of account types. The most important one is the Stocks and Shares ISA which is a tax-efficient account in the UK.

As a beginner, this is the account type you should be considering when starting with Vanguard. 

As well, Vanguard has the Junior ISA which is very good for people who have kids and want to teach their children to invest at an early age.

Vanguard Personal Pension account is also an option. And, the last one is the General Account which you might not need as a beginner except if you have already put in the maximum amount in your ISA account.

Vanguard ISAs

Vanguard ISAs are stocks and shares ISAs that allow you to invest on a tax-deferred basis for retirement.

In 2021, ISAs have a £20,000 annual contribution limit.

You must be at least 18 years old to be eligible to make an ISA. But there is a clause which I will talk about.

This Vanguard option has a 0.15% annual account fee. You don’t get charged extra for things like payments, deals and the likes.

The regular ISA and Junior ISA are identical. The difference is that Junior ISA is managed by the beneficiary’s parents or guardian. You must be a legal guardian before you can open this account in their name. Full control of the account will be transferred to them once they turn 18.

Self-Invested Pension Plans (SIPPs)

I like to call this the full package plan. the reason is simple. Vanguard SIPPs gives you every option you can require from a pension plan.

Tax-deferred growth, tax-free inheritance, and tax relief go to your retirement funds.

With this account, holders have a huge amount of flexibility in the makeup of their portfolio.

They also have a low 0.15% account fee capped at £375 per annum.

You can also transfer SIPPs from other providers to Vanguard.

General Investment Account (GIAs)

This account is Vanguard’s flagship product. The account gives you the ability to invest in one of the 75+ funds that Vanguard offers.

With GIAs, you can invest in as many funds as you wish. Though you have to keep in mind that you are eligible for income taxes and capital gain taxes.

GIA  accounts have a low 0.15% annual account fee capped at £375 per annum.

You can start investing in GIA for as little as £100.

Like the SIPPs plan, you can also transfer GIA from other providers to Vanguard.

 

Is Vanguard Legit? Will My Money Be Safe With Them?

Vanguard is very much legit and safe to use. It is one of the popular and well-used wealth management companies in the world.

They are responsible for managing trillions of pounds in wealth. They are also the single largest fund provider in the world.

Vanguard has some of the wealthiest people on its roaster.

Vanguard has various security measures in place to protect its user’s accounts. Some of them are time-out features, additional security codes for transactions, encrypted online withdrawals.

They also protect your personal and financial information with standard bank-level.

Vanguard is also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

There is also a contingency measure in place for up to £85,000 of your investments to be protected in case the company goes under.

These are just some of the measures in place to ensure your money is secure. There are still several account security features you can explore.

 

Final Thoughts

Vanguard is a tested and trusted investment platform. As such, it is very good for beginner investors.

With over 75+ investment options, it is one of the best options for beginner investors.

There are however a couple of disadvantages to using the vanguard. But they are overall negligible issues.

The first is that you can only invest in funds run with Vanguard. That doesn’t make it a flexible option.

The second issue is that the Vanguard platform doesn’t have a large research library for beginner investors. But Vanguard’s global popularity means a quick search on search engines should fix this for you.

When it comes to passive asset management, Vanguard is probably the best option out there. It’s however not a great choice for interactive investors.

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What Is The Best Way To Improve Your Finances

Money is one of the most important parts of our everyday lives. No matter how much you believe that money isn’t everything, we simply cannot do without money. This is the reason why most people look for the best way to improve their finances.

It’s why a lot of us wake up early in the morning. But most people struggle with money and find it difficult to improve their finances.

When people think about ways to improve their finances, they tend to look to the future. They look at making their better as something that will take years to achieve.

This is because most of us believe that we have no control over money because of obligations. But that isn’t the case.

Why people look to the future when it comes to money management is because they believe they must have more money by then. But the truth is that the money habits you acquire now is what you will carry into the future.

Having more money doesn’t necessarily translate into having positive financial health. There are smaller decisions and activities that we can take on to make our financial goals come true. If you are also looking for ways to improve your finances, here are some points for you to consider.

1. Have A budget and Maintain It

Having savings and creating a budget are probably the most important tips to manage money wisely. To create a budget, you must first know what you’re worth.

This means taking into account your income and spending habits. To create a budget, you do not need to make drastic changes.

This is where most people get it wrong. You have to consider your lifestyle and spending habits as well.

A little adjustment and restraint here and there will do. Having a budget should help you create better habits, not help you stop bad habits like eating out. That is the realistic way you can reach your money management goals.

The reason why I keep emphasizing not making drastic changes to your lifestyle when creating a budget is maintenance. It is one thing to create a budget and it is another to maintain it.

The best way to maintain your budget is to make use of online and offline tools. With the help of these tools, you can better organize your finance. It’s best if you create categories like food, education, transport and savings. This way you can know where you are spending the most and which one needs improvement.

2. You Must Have Savings

There is a popular notion that inflation makes money in the bank worthless over time. But while that is true from an investment point of view, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

You won’t fully understand the power of savings until you need money urgently or get an investment opportunity. You must have money that you can access somewhere for emergencies.

If the best time to start investing is today then the best time to start saving is also today. If nothing, at least start saving up for your retirement. You can consider it an investment. The longer you invest, the larger the earnings.

Have a clear understanding of your spending habit, create a budget and start saving.

You can read more on this here.

3. Understand And Recognize Lifestyle Inflation

Ever heard of Parkinson’s law? Understand how it applies to your finance and savings? There is a misconception among many people that they will save more when they earn more.

But the truth is that if you don’t develop good money habits on a low income, it won’t happen with increased income. The reason for this is simple; the more you earn, the more you spend. This is what we call lifestyle inflation.

The truth is that this might not be a fault of yours but a direct effect of your improved status. Let’s say you were promoted to a manager role, for example, it is only normal that you might want to dress better, look better and even own better things.

You do all these to fit your new social and professional lifestyle.

The problem then is that most people do not know when to stop. It is one thing to try to keep up with the elites and it is another to be extravagantly wasteful.

It should be obvious that lifestyle inflation can be damaging in the long run. Why? The reason is simply that it restricts your ability to build wealth. While trying to keep up with the Joneses, always remember that you will one day retire. Anything can even happen in life.

4. Needs and Wants Are Not The Same

Needs and wants can get very confusing. It is easy to mistake one for the other in a bid to quench our desires. The difference then is in the ‘DESIRE’.

The simple difference between needs and wants is that the former is needed for survival while the latter is needed to quench a desire. For example, you need a car but you want an exotic one. In reality, both will serve the same purpose so getting an economical car makes better sense.

You must understand the difference between needs and wants so you can better improve your personal finance.

I am not telling you to let go of your wants; it is just important to prioritize. Your needs have to come first. Once those have been satisfied then you can look at quenching a few wants so far as it doesn’t stretch your budget.

5. Individual Saving Pots Are Useful

It is one thing to save and it is another to save towards a particular goal. Saving all your money as one can get confusing over time. Yes, you have money saved but to what purpose?

Savings also need planning and the best way to go about it is to create saving pots. This helps you get a better idea of how well you are doing with different savings goals. For example, you can have savings pots for school fees, retirement, new car, emergency, vacation and the likes.

This is good because you must have a clear understanding of your savings progression. There are various banking apps that you can use to achieve saving pots.

6. Building an Emergency Fund is Important

Rainy days are real and you do not want to be unprepared when it comes. Many people do not understand that having savings isn’t necessarily the same as having an emergency fund.

I believe general savings should be created for specific purposes. A healthy savings habit should be done with a clear goal.

An emergency fund is money set aside for emergency purposes. From car repair to health issues or even an increase in your monthly bills, an emergency fund is always handy.

It is also useful for unforeseen events like you losing your job or having to take an extended period away from work. It saves you a lot of stress and headache when the need for it arises.

The general notion is that saving money worth three to six months’ worth of living expenses is enough for an emergency fund. But that is no longer the case.

We live in uncertain certain times and the world economy is only just recovering thanks to the impact of the COVID-19. Three to six months’ worth of emergency funding can be a great starting point but it shouldn’t be the rule.

7. Where Are Your Benefits?

Most people tend to forget that they are entitled to benefits. As such, millions are not receiving their benefits and are losing money as a result. It is important to always stay up to date with your benefits.

To get a clear picture of your benefits, you can go online or contact your local council to know how to access a benefit check. You can also use a free benefit calculator.

If your income has reduced recently, or you recently started claiming benefits, you might be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction. You need to get in touch with your local council to see if you are eligible.

8. Be a Clever Customer, Not Loyal

It is human to develop an attachment to things. From brands to TV, spots, shops and providers, we often develop an emotional connection to these things.

But the truth is that if it isn’t favouring you financially then you should move to a pocket-friendly option. Just because you pay more with them doesn’t make them better.

Most firms and businesses understand the emotional connection they have with customers so they don’t bother with giving incentives.

You might be surprised by just how much money you can save by patronizing other brands or businesses. Comparison sites can help you in your search for better deals.

In Conclusion

Improving your financial health is important. It can save you a lot of headaches and stress in the future. By the time most people decide to embrace this journey, they would have already been in debt.

In some cases, piled up expenses is why they decide to go on the money management journey.

This is why it is great to start working on your finances as soon as you can.

There are various ways to improve your finances and they are not limited to the points shared. Most times, you just have to figure out what works best for you.

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How To Live Well On One Income In The UK

Trying to live in the UK on one income can be challenging but it isn’t impossible with proper planning.

There are so many reasons why you might have to make do with a single income. From being a single parent, bachelor, widow, nursing mom and more, the reasons are endless. But you can still live a pretty good life with your one income source. How?

Keep reading to learn some tricks and tips to follow on ways to make do with one income.

1.      Plan your budget

Having a budget is very essential whether you have single or multiple sources of income. As soon as you get your payment, you should try out the piggy bank budgeting method.

With this method, you are required to split your bills for separate purposes and create a budget for each of them. That is holidays, clothing, food and more.

When the time comes to pay for these things, you will have enough money to sort them.

This reduces situations where you don’t have enough money for one purpose and have to borrow from another.

As soon as you start tracking down your needs and wastage, you will be more intentional. You will know where and what to spend money on.

You should experiment with different budgeting ideas and stick to the one that works best for you.

2.      Plan your lifestyle spending

Now that you have made a budget and are spending money intentionally, you should also level your lifestyle according to your income.

If you spend more than you earn, you will end up in a bad financial situation. So you must plan your day-to-day life’s spending and be intentional about it.

You can build your lifestyle in such a way that your spending will be much lesser than your earnings, and you will still have enough to save.

If you are the social type and love visiting everywhere you can, you might want to scale back on that. Also, you can spend less on food by reducing your number of trips to the supermarket. You can also embrace meal planning and prepping.

You can try out frugal living and minimalism as this will help you to transform your spending patterns. Even if you can afford to go out to a fancy restaurant, try saving money and go to an everyday restaurant instead. This way, you will be able to enjoy yourself and also save money for the future.

3.      Start saving

After making a budget and scaling back on your lifestyle, you will see that you will always have extra cash even after paying all your bills. When this happens, you should start saving it. Even if the amount is small, save it still because saving small amounts will later become a pretty good amount.

This will also help you during rough days. Because let’s be real here, life doesn’t always go according to plan. If you need money urgently, you can use your savings. You are helping your future self with your savings.

4.      Accept your situation and not compare yourself to other people

This is perhaps the biggest tip yet. It is important to accept your present financial situation and live within that means.

You will meet different kinds of people every day and some of them will be of a higher income bracket than you. Do not let that bring you down.

It is normal to see people spend crazy amounts of money on buying food, clothing, gadgets and luxurious accessories. You may also want to emulate that. But it would be best to accept your reality and stay through to your income and spending.

Accept your situation and be thankful for the things you already have. Because if you continually keep thinking of spending more, your life will be full of stress.

Live within your budget, save every penny you can and enjoy your life to the fullest with the things you already have.

5.      Plan for the future

When you know that you will need some money for future endeavours, you should start saving for that as early as possible. Planning for the makes your life so much easier. For example, if you are going to have a baby in the future, you should start saving as much as you can from now.

6.      Know more about taxes

Learn about the taxes you are paying and if you are eligible to still pay those taxes. If you have a child, you can check if you are required to pay child tax credits and if you are married, look if you are paying unnecessary taxes.

Also, you can check if you are eligible for working or childcare tax credits.

If your spouse is not working, you can transfer joint accounts or investments in their name as they will be paying less tax than you. You can also register the non-working partner as a non-taxpayer.

7.      Get a side hustle

Whenever you are free, look for some side hustles which you can do. This extra income will be added to your primary income and consequently, you will have more. You can try out website testing, freelancing, daycare jobs, blogging etc.

Living in the UK can be expensive if you depend on your one income; getting a side hustle can ease your income stress.

8.      Use free things

Look around and find things which you can get for free. For example, you can use Facebook Marketplace to see if someone is giving some item for free. There are also many shops and stores like eBay and Freecycle where you can find free and cheap stuff. There is no point in getting expensive items that you can get at a bargain.

You can also look out for sales happening around your neighborhood or church.

Final Verdict

There are so many ways to live and survive on one income in the UK. A few of them have been discussed in this article. With a little bit of sacrifice on your part, this shouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience at all. Planning a budget, saving, and being mindful about spending will help you a lot.

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How to bridge the gap between rich and poor

There is no denying that the gap between the rich and the poor keeps getting wider. It seems like ‘hardwork’ is no longer the path to wealth. Because let’s be honest, no one works harder than the poor. So is working ‘smart’ the remedy to this inequality? Or is there more to this gap than conventional layman knowledge? Let’s explore.

How did this gap happen

Ever since the 1990s, inequality has been on the rise in both developed and developing countries. As of 2020, about 71 percent of the world’s population were living in countries with increased inequality. While it is important to note that inequality between countries has reduced, inequality within countries has kept increasing.

It is also important to state that inequality is way more than income and purchasing power. Inequality exists in various forms like access to services like education, sanitation, healthcare and water.

What then has been the major cause of this gap in wealth between the rich and the poor?

  • Education Access

The variation of individual access to education has declined in recent years.

Those who received less access to high-quality education are the ones working with lower wages. There are a number of reasons why there has been inequality in educational institutions. A few reasons are accommodation fees, transport fees, tuition fees, lack of bursary, and diversity problem.

There can be no denying that a good educational background puts you in better stead to break out of the inequality barrier.

I am living proof of the advantages of getting a quality education. Don’t get me wrong, you can still break the inequality barrier even without having a proper education backing you. After all, this is the information age and there are millions of opportunities out there. But the advantages of proper education goes beyond the things you learn in class.

  • Gender and Race

Inequality exists everywhere, even in families. Did you know that income inequality within households contributes up to 30 percent of income inequality?

In many institutions, there are still gender inequalities in the workplace. Some data even show that employers refrain from hiring women employees because of maternity leave. I particularly find this unfair because I believe procreating shouldn’t be a crime.

It is however important to state that the gender pay gap has been reducing over the past few decades.

The same can be said about race. Groups considered as minorities like migrants, indigenous folks, refugees and the likes are especially affected.

Some studies also show that certain races get lower wages. It isn’t news that some races consider themselves superior to others. In the households of the supposedly lower race, it is not unusual to see them suffer from financial stability.

These minority groups continue to suffer from discrimination, marginalisation, and inadequate legal rights.

A report carried out by UNDESA observed that even with the progress made from the 1990s to the 2010s, it will still take at least four decades to significantly reduce the gap between ethnic groups.

  • Other factors:

One factor to note is that income and wealth remain concentrated at the top. According to an Oxford report, the number of billionaires has nearly doubled in the 10 years after the world financial crisis. As of 2018, the 26 richest people in the world were richer than half of the global population. To put that in context, they held as much wealth as 3.8 billion poorest people. The number was down from 43 in 2017.

Below are few other factors contributing to inequality;

  • Wealth concentration
  • Globalization
  • Growth of technology
  • Taxes and labour market

Some economists have suggested that this widening gap is inevitable because of the free capitalism market. Free capitalism market is where the return of capital is greater than the rate of growth of the economy.

Possible Solutions To Bridge The Gap Between The Poor and Rich

Break down the social barriers

One of the reasons the gap has been increasingly widened is because people don’t realize the gap. As humans, we tend to only see the effects of certain factors after they happen. The same can be said with this gap. Even after noticing the gaps we only tend to see and be with people who are economically like us.

It is not uncommon that the rich only live in neighbourhoods with fellow wealthy folks. Their children go to the best schools money can afford. The rich usually live separately from the poor.

So what is the solution? Breaking and getting away from the comfort zone we have created and addressing this by creating conversations that will end up supporting each other.

Improving the Education system

What better platform is there as a ticket out of poverty than education? Lately, high-quality schools are characterized as being expensive and are not equally distributed. This gap separates the rich kids from the poor. Some research shows that the poorer students are a step behind the rich kids.

A reason for the education system disparity is because most schools are supported by property taxes. This means those who pay more get into better facilities.

Public schools are mostly filled with those from a low economic background while the opposite is for private schools. This is where the government and community should invest; public schools.

If public schools can measure up to private schools then that will be a plus for folks from low-income backgrounds.

Progressive taxation

Progressive taxation means that higher-income individuals will pay more compared to lower-income individuals. This is different from the regressive tax system, which is a system where high-income individuals pay the same or less to lower-income individuals. So can you guess which taxation system is most common? Yes, regressive taxation.

This system should be converted to progressive taxation as it addresses each individual with regards to their economic status. Warren Buffett, the business tycoon and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said in an interview that he pays less tax than his secretary. Remember his net worth is $103 billion as of 2020!

As mentioned above many school facilities are funded from property tax. If it isn’t for the tax system we have now, schools and colleges would be well funded. And we wouldn’t be discussing the economic gap and difference in income level in that regard.

Special funding programs

This should be exercised mostly by the wealthy because of the growing number of billionaires added every year to Forbes list. When Forbes released its annual billionaire list, there were 2755 individuals with a total net worth of $13.1 trillion. These wealthy figures have access to have or buy any assets. So, why aren’t they trying to help bridge this gap?

It is important to note that rich folks like ‘The Gates’ carry out a lot of charity and philanthropical projects.

Raise minimum wage

This isn’t limited only to developing countries. Its effects are also seen in developed countries. For instance, US citizens have complained that the current minimum wage is lower than what it was in the 60s. 60 years in the future and the past beat the present. I don’t know about you but this is the first for me.

The minimum wage they receive doesn’t even go with the working hours they have. For example, in the USA minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, in China ¥25 per hour or €8.36 per hour, in the UK £8.21 per hour.

In some countries, mostly Europe, minimum age differs with age.

When this rate is compared with the employee’s economic status, it’s little wonder they are always complaining. The government in each country should implement a better and improved wage system for its citizens.

Important points to remember

  • In the last three decades, the income inequality between countries has improved. This isn’t globally though. When comparing the average income of people living in North America and Sub-Saharan Africa, North America is found to be 16 times higher.
  • Even though the income inequality between countries has improved, the same can’t be said about income inequality within countries. In some countries like China and India, it has increased. In Latin America, there has been a considerable decline in income inequality.

Conclusion

In summary, success should not be a one-man journey, it should be inclusive; which is the opposite of what it is now. Inequality between the rich and the poor is not a conversation that we have often. We must have conversations like this for something to be done about it.

The opinions listed above are some of the ways I believe we can achieve that. There is a particular phrase I love; “Inequality is not inevitable, but a political choice.”

Every country and its government should adopt better systems that cater equally to the haves and have nots.

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How to invest in stock with little money

Investing in the stock market is an excellent way to grow your wealth. It means purchasing a part of a company and having a stake in the company’s ownership.

And you can do it with little money contrary to popular opinions. This opinion is why so many people have put off investing in a stock.

But it’s not all a bed of roses journey. Compared to other forms of investments, stock investment has more risks. But if it is exercised wisely, the rewards are highly satisfactory.

Statistics show that in these last decades, most stock investments return an annual average of 10%. And this is how those profits pile up after you invest in the stock market:

  • If the stocks you purchased go up during the time you own them, you can sell for more than you paid for.
  • This one is not accessible by all stocks, but a few companies give regular payments to their shareholder. These payments are called ‘Dividends’. Most dividends come in a quarterly term.

Some Information About The Stock Market

  • If you look into the history of stock markets and investments, you will find that in the past shareholders receive stock certificates in a paper called security. Nowadays share ownership are recorded electronically verifying the number of shares they hold and are held in brokerage firms.
  • There are two types of stocks for you to invest in. These are common stocks and preferred stocks. The former gives its shareholders voting rights but does not guarantee dividend payment. The latter works vice versa.

Let us get back to the main topic of this article. Is it possible to invest in stock with little money? Can your investment survive the ups and downs of the stock market? I am here to tell you that you can invest with as little as £25 a month. Once you have that little money to play with, it’s time for investing.

How? Well first bear in mind that we are living in the 21st century. This means there are many stock trading apps you can use to invest with little money and also learn how to at the same time. It is not a scary or risky choice. Since there are so many choices out there, it is more simple and straightforward than ever.

How To Invest In Stock With Little Money

Learn the basics of stock investment

The stock market is not as difficult to understand as it seems. Anyone can learn to trade or invest in stocks. If you put time and effort into learning, you will find that it is rocket science. You still don’t believe me?

Okay, then follow these easy steps and you will understand what I am saying.

  • Hit the books: Read books on related topics such as stock markets, investment strategies, and more.
  • Have a mentor: When you have a mentor lending you guidance, you will have access to experience and tricks of the trade. This person should be well experienced and must-know details about the stock market.
  • Take online courses: Nowadays online sites provide courses on stock trading and investments. Here you will be provided with two choices: be a trader or an investor. The difference between the two is how long you can hold on to your stocks. A trader holds for a short duration while an investor holds for a longer duration. There is a community in the UK that has integrity in teaching beginners about investing in stock and share. You can read join Financial Joy Academy if you want to have access to a lot of courses about stock market investing.
You can get 15% discount if you sign up to FJA using my referral link by clicking here.

 

  • Always analyse the market: Update yourself on the conditions as well as the history of the market. See and record the performance of the markets. When doing this, you will get to know what causes a change in stock markets.

  • Never invest more than you can afford to lose: This for those who believe in investing in large amounts because of greed. When you are investing in small amounts on regular basis, it will save you from the fluctuating stock market. When and if the market crashes, it won’t result in a big loss. This will save you from being in debt and lose your way.

  • Website is the cheapest way to invest: If you are looking for investment options, several online platforms provide them. Make sure to decide on which platforms to use then choose what investment to buy. Depending on the platform you choose, you might have to pay a fee to access the platform.

  • Start investing: Final step! In this technological era, you can start investing with little money because of online platforms. Gone are the days when the phrase “it takes money to make money” was a mandate. So what is the minimum amount for investing? How about £1 with no trade commission? You can also invest in fractional shares. This is only a fraction of the share of the company. 

You can start investing with Trading 212 which is one of the stock brokers that do n ot charge fees. You can get free share if you are new to Trading 212 by using the link below.

Start investing on Trading 212 and get free share.

Tips while investing with little money

  • Set long term goals: Know what your goals are clearly before diving into investing. It is important to consider your financial wealth when investing. Will you be needing money soon or you can afford to leave it for a long time. Usually, investing in long-term stocks yields good returns, so make sure to consider that.
  • Under Risk Tolerance: Greed is one of the easiest ways to lose money in any investment. You should never invest in any stock that you consider too risky even though it promises a larger yield.
  • Emotion control: As a beginner, it is normal to be emotional when investing. Especially the highs that come with profit returns and the lows that come with losses when the market is down. Profit and loss are all on paper. If the market is down, you have not lost anything until you sell so don’t worry when the market is down if you are investing for the long term. Emotional control is important so you don’t gamble with your investments.
  • Be realistic: Investment takes time to yield, as it should. Do not expect fast returns. Since most stock investments take time, you have to be patient while investing.
  • Investment Diversification: Never put all your eggs in one basket. This will protect your money if anything happens to the stock market. It is also the recommended advice by many money managers. This way you won’t lose all your money all at once if you invest in several assets.

Conclusion

Yes, you can invest in stocks with little money. All you need is to grasp the basics of stock investment and understand the dos and don’ts then you are on your way to growing your money.

With more experience, your investment journey gets easier with time. I hope this article was informative enough and answers your question. If so, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and invest!

You can read my article about ‘investing in stock for beginners’ next.

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