Is It Time To Remortgage Your Home?

Did you know that around one-third of all loans in the UK are actually remortgages. That’s because a mortgage is often tailored to the needs of your current situation, and so better mortgages can become available as your circumstances change.

So, is it time to remortgage?

Yes, it’s time to remortgage if…

Your current deal is coming to an end. A fixed-rate mortgage only lasts for a couple of years, after which it changes to have a standard variable rate (SVR). If this has happened to you and your mortgage has changed, you may find yourself paying significantly higher interest rates than those you originally signed up for. Thanks to the increase in interest rates, your mortgage will no longer be the cheapest rate available to you. According to The Loans Departement People who chose fixed-rate mortgages often find themselves jumping from mortgage to mortgage, so perhaps you should follow suit and find yourself a better deal.

You want to increase the size of your mortgage. There are multiple reasons why you’d like to increase the size of your mortgage. Firstly, it could be because you’re looking to do home improvements and need the extra cash. Alternatively, it may be because you want to start your own business and need some extra funds to get things going. Depending on your reason for wanting to increase your mortgage, lenders will be more or less comfortable with accepting your mortgage request. It will also impact the terms and conditions surrounding your mortgage and the repayment rate you’ll be expected to pay. 

Another way of increasing the size of your mortgage is by consolidating your debts. This is a great way to avoid late payment fines from multiple lenders and put all of your debt in one place. If you’ve been having difficulty paying off debts in the past, it may be more difficult for you to remortgage as lenders have access to your income and outgoing finances. However, that doesn’t mean a bad credit remortgage is impossible. There are dedicated mortgages available to those with a less than perfect financial history.

 You’d like to have less outstanding debt. If you find yourself in a better financial position than when you initially took out your mortgage, a better rate may be available to you. This could be because you’ve had a pay rise, or one of your dependents (i.e. children) has grown up and is taking care of their own finances. With more disposable income, you may decide that you’d like to funnel this money into reducing the amount of mortgage you have left to pay. Some mortgage providers will let you do this, so you don’t need to remortgage. However, the amount of equity you have in your property will have most likely changed since you first took out your current mortgage, so you may be able to get better rates by remortgaging your home.
Alternatively, it may be that you’ve inherited a significant lump sum and want to put this straight towards paying your mortgage. Some lenders will have a limit on the amount you’re able to pay in one go. Therefore, you may need to go through the process of remortgaging to simply hand your large pile of money to another provider. 

Finances have dropped, so you’d like to decrease payments. When you or your partner retire, it’s likely that you’ll have less income at your disposal. If you still have mortgage, you may need to get a new deal that is more financially viable. You may also need a lower repayment rate if you’ve suffered from a long-term injury that effects your ability to work or if you’ve been made redundant. Some mortgage lenders may be sympathetic to your change in circumstances, but if the amount of equity you have in your property is rather different to what it was when you first took out your current mortgage deal, it may be worth remortgaging.

 No, now is not the time to remortgage because…

You have little mortgage left to pay. If your debts are quite small, the fees involved in remortgaging will be high enough that it’s not worth the hassle of going through the process. Some mortgage lenders won’t even take on a mortgage if it’s for an amount below £25,000. Even if your interest rate is quite high, it might be worth powering through with your repayments if the end is in sight.

 The value of your house has dropped. And if you’ve not made significant headway into paying off your mortgage, it may be that you now own a smaller portion of your home’s value than you did to begin with. You might even be in negative equity, where your outstanding mortgage debt is higher than the value of the property. It is unbelievably difficult to remortgage if this is the case, so you may want to try and wait out the drop and see if the value of your property increases again. 

The early repayment rate is high. If you decide you’d like to remortgage and your incentive period isn’t over, a mortgage lender will charge you an extremely large fee for leaving. It could literally cost you thousands of pounds to change to a mortgage that will only save you a few hundreds of pounds in the long run, meaning you’re worse off after making the change. If you’re really set on leaving your current mortgage provider, speak to the lender and see if you can be switched to one of their other deals, which has a lower early repayment rate. Although the interim deal may not be the best one available to you, this will save you a small fortune when you do then remortgage with a different company.

However, remortgaging is a costly process. You need to pay an exit fee to your old lender, a joining fee to your new lender, and a couple more people like solicitors and valuators along the way to keep the process going. After weighing up all of these costs, you may discover that it’s actually more cost effective to remain with your current mortgage, at least for the time being. Therefore, you’ll need to work out the actual cost of remortgaging and compare this to the savings you’ll make by changing your mortgage rates.


Top 7 Tips for Buying Life Insurance

The process of procuring life insurance is a confusing one and is a complicated part of financial planning. After all, when it’s a question of our families, only the best will do. In today’s day and age, there is a vast array of brands to choose from. A lot of variables have to be considered before making your final selection; such as which reliable, trusted company to choose or what quantity of premium to pay that will be more than sufficient for the members of your family. Once you immerse yourself in the buying cycle, you may find that the procedure is not as complex as it is made out to be. Allow us to share a few of our favourite tricks when purchasing life insurance that we hope will ease what is usually deemed a painful practice.

  1. Choose the Right Premium

What are your reasons for obtaining a life insurance policy? Engage in a little soul searching and have a conversation with yourself to analyse your objectives. Once you have a clear understanding, then you can go on to choose an optimal premium volume. Of course, your fiscal condition will have a critical bearing as well.

Premium structures can be broadly classified within two categories: stepped and level. The former increases with time as you age whilst the latter grows until the end of its term. The initial amount for stepped premiums are lower in value than their level counterparts. With level premiums, although you will commence your journey with higher outflows-by the end of the term, your premium expense will be lower than had you chosen stepped premiums.

Be vigilant and watch out for those little extras those savvy salesmen try to fit in to your policy. This will increase your overall cost. To make your life easier, get instant quotes from Life Insurance Guideline.

  1. Buy It Young

The best advice one can give you is to invest in life insurance at a youthful time in your life. Do not wait too long before beginning your research. Statistics reflect that most insurance claims are compensated to individuals between the age of thirty and forty,

  1. Compare Policies

There are many different kinds of policies out there that will catch your attention and potentially confuse you. Do not get caught in the endless web of information clutter and be prepared to wade through excessive data to find what is right for you and your family. Avoid comparing apples to oranges (in terms of life insurance products). Term life policies have a relatively lower cost as compared to a permanent life insurance portfolio. It comes with a lesser initial premium that may capture your interest but will not generate a high magnitude in the long term. On the other hand, cash value life insurance policies can range from variable life, whole life and universal life. There would be a colossal variance between a premium for a $70,000 term policy compared to a $70,000 permanent one. Scrutinize the insurance policy from all possible dimensions and select one based on your present as well as future requirements.

  1. Adapt Your Lifestyle

One way to effectively decrease your monthly premium is to implement positive changes in your way of living. Make healthier, more nutritious choices in your daily decisions on what to eat and whether to exercise or not. If you smoke, consider giving it up as a habit because your premiums will definitely be higher as you come with a higher risk of disease as compared to a non-smoker. We also recommend staying within healthy ranges of your body mass index as it will also have an impact on the financial cost of your insurance premium.

  1. Apply Bravely

A growing pool of life insurance prospects find the overall process to be an overwhelming and complex one. It calls for the open disclosure of your salary, your medical history, your life style and other personal information which you may not be comfortable sharing. However, given the nature of the service you are striving to engage, it is vital for you to be as transparent and as honest as possible. This will allow the insurance company to create an accurate risk profile and ascertain the cost of your premium accordingly. Do not hide any important details as it will eventually come to light. After all, the contemporary inventions of communication technology have narrowed global boundaries and made the world a smaller, highly inter-connected place. 

  1. Review Your Policies Consistently

As you grow older, your expectations and needs will evolve with time. In order to cater to your changing demands, it is advised to review your life insurance policies on an annual basis at least. What you think you may have needed at the age of 35 may not ring true twenty years later. You may want to upgrade or switch policies. Do not delay this process and review your life insurance product every year to evaluate whether it is still at par with your essentials.

  1. Choose A Renowned Policy Provider

The whole purpose of a life insurance policy is to anchor those who are left behind financially and not cause them stress on how to provide for themselves. It is critical and imperative to choose a company that has a reliable, trusted reputation in the market. Conduct a thorough investigation and begin by checking the service provider’s financial solvency. See what the company’s ranking is in a well-known insurance rating list. It will provide you with credible insights on its economic status and competence to pay claims in the future. Rating agencies function on different levels with individual standards and methods. It is advised to review more than one agency’s position on the company of your interest. Remember that as a consumer, you have a legal right to comprehend all the legal jargon and technicalities behind the policy in question before procuring it. Obtain all the information you can from your state regulatory authority that will help you in making a well-informed, optimal decision.

Moving House – The True Costs of Doing it Yourself

Who should consider a DIY move?

Ideally the DIY mover should be ideally suited to the smallest moves. One bedroomed flats and apartments, bedsits, house-shares, or small office moves; these are the candidates for hiring a van and doing it themselves.

If you’re going to DIY move then be realistic. As in any move plan early, make lists, stick to them, declutter so you aren’t taking any extra items you should have thrown away, sold, or got rid of that will only take up valuable time and space in your van. Leaving anything to the last minute will only add more stress.

What are the pros and cons?


If you’re going to do the move yourself the pros for this are many but the main one should be the cost. If it isn’t cheaper to do it yourself then why are you bothering? Get some quotes for a professional company and compare them to hiring a van and doing the work yourself. If it’s not too different then consider what the extra will buy you in peace of mind, energy exerted and in having someone else do all the worrying.

It’s going to be good exercise if you need to shed a few pounds. You won’t have strangers in and out of your property handling your belongings. You get to drive the van so you’ll get to pick the route, decide whatever stops you may need to make along the way, carry out any additional pick-ups and take whatever breaks you’ll need if you’re making a long distance move.

You will also get to the load the van how you want and if you choose to have friends help you you’ll also have someone to celebrate with at the end of the day.


You’ll be exhausted. It’s tiring and hard work. It’s a lot of lifting, carrying and climbing up and down stairs. With a professional you can leave them to get on with all of that extra work, and they will be fast and efficient. If you choose your friends and family to help there’s a good chance they’ll spend just as much time poking around your things reminiscing about bygone days.

Are you comfortable driving a large vehicle around town or over long distances? Do you want to drive multiple trips and have to load and unload at each end? And if you load the van badly are you happy to pay to replace or fix anything that gets broken? Or to take somebody to hospital if a badly packed van causes an injury to someone while unloading?

It will take much longer. Professionals know what they’re doing. They know exactly which corners to cut and which not to. They will take at least half the time; maybe even less? That could actually save you money over the course of the day.

Van Hire

When hiring a van you’re going to need better than good guesswork. How big a van do you need? A smaller van will be cheaper but if you get it wrong you’ll have to make more trips. A larger van might just save you money if you get it right first time. If you obtain the services of a professional removal company such as AMC Removals, who are an Edinburgh removal company then they always recommend that you make an inventory. Estimate how many boxes those items will fill. Then work out how they can stack and how much space that they’ll take up.

You will be guaranteed to have more belongings than you think.

You’ll also want to consider mileage, fuel costs and if your drivers licence covers the size of van you’ll need.

Ford Transit

A Transit or similar size from alternate manufacturers is a very popular model for the DIY move. It will carry around 800kg of items, large enough to fit most furniture and runs at around 35mpg. You can step up a model to a long wheelbase Transit that is 3ft longer, a little taller and slightly less economical at 25/30mpg.

Luton Box Van

The box van is synonymous with removals because of its high backed, square container. The bed of the van is often 2 or 3ft off the ground so heavy items may require a lift of some sort. The vehicle hire company should be able to advise or supply you with the equipment you require.

7.5 Ton Box Wagon

This is the largest self-drive you can command on a standard licence with a C1 category (you’ll need to take a test if you didn’t receive your licence until after January 1997). It’s the largest in size and capacity, will accommodate the greatest weight and is much better suited for long distance moves than smaller vehicles. However, it’s a lot bigger than your day to day drive so keep an eye out for bridges and walls; tall vehicles have a tendency to lean so some walls or trees might be in range of contact when you think they’re not.

Additional points to note

Make sure to ask about all charges and additional costs. A fixed allowance might be as little as 50 to 150 miles, which if you’re returning the vehicle to base that may well not be enough. What will it cost for each additional mile? Most companies charge between 8p and 12p but it’s best to be sure before you sign anything.

What does the insurance cover? Is it included? Will there be an excess to pay in the case of a claim? Do they provide breakdown cover? Will it be ok to take the van abroad if you’re moving overseas? And where can you hand it in? Does it have to be at the depot where it was collected? You’ll want to consider all of this before you make your decision.

When you hire a vehicle always do a thorough check with the agent. Make sure any marks or existing damage is noted so they don’t try and pass the blame on to you on its return.


A van handles much differently to a car. It’s bigger, has reduced visibility and bigger blind spots, they’re taller, wider, clumsier and will take much longer to stop when you put the brakes on. Be vigilant for cyclists and small vehicles. There are a lot more hiding places for them to drift into.


Not to be taken for granted but if you’re moving in winter it’s going to have it’s own challenges. The cold and slippery surfaces will play their part just as the red-hot sunshine will dehydrate and tire you faster if your move is in July or August. It doesn’t seem like much to consider but if you can prepare for every eventuality then there’s one less thing to take you by surprise.

What You Need To Know About Forex Trading In 2018

Forex is a shortened way of saying Forex exchange. This refers to the act of buying or selling one country’s currency for another for different reasons including commerce, tourism or as a personal investment. Many businesses run on a global scale, as such it is important to translate with other countries using their own currency hence creating a niche for Forex trading. Countries, businesses and people from all walks of life all participate in Forex trading making it the number one traded market worldwide.

You have probably participated in this popular trade for instance when you went on vacation to another country. You probably had to exchange your currency to the currency of where you were visiting for instance US dollars for Euros. The demand on the market for certain currencies will either boost or slow down its value when compared to other currencies.

Until the internet came into the scene, Forex trading was limited to the interbanking systems trading on behalf of their clients. With time, banks set up their own proprietary desks so that they could trade using their own accounts. It was long after this that large corporations, hedge funds and high net worth people jumped on the trading Forex band wagon, and it has proven to be a great source of income. To put it in a nutshell, global market trades at about $22.4 billion per day, while the forex market trades about $5 trillion per day.

Keeping this in mind, it’s no surprise that there are a surge of individual traders looking to make a profit from trading. If you are one of those individuals who are keen on trading currencies, here are a few pros and cons on Forex trading:

Pros and Cons of Forex Trading

  • Forex trading is the biggest financial market in the globe. According to the last triennial survey of the Bank of International Settlement (BIS), the size of the forex market turnover was $5.2 trillion. This means that it can offer the most liquidity; therefore you can enter and exit within a second in any of the major global currencies.


  • Due to the impressive range of liquidity and the ease with which a trade can exit or enter the market, brokers and banks entice traders by offering them a large leverage. This gives traders the ability to control large positions having chipped in little money of their own. Of course in order to garner maximum benefits, traders have to understand how to use leverage cautiously and effectively and the risks imposed on the account should the leverage be misused.


  • Another key advantage to Forex trading is that it operates 24 hours, starting out in Australia and coming to a close in New York before the cycle starts out again. Some of the top cities to focus on in 2018 when it comes to trading include: Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Paris, London and New York.


How to Be a Successful Trader

Over the years, there have been reports of massive losses as a result of undisciplined and inexperienced traders who do not know how forex trading works and have ignored platforms and methodologies such as the Elliot Wave Trading Theory. Below we shall uncover the key things you need to know in order to be a successful trader in 2018 and recap big profits.


  • Make A Plan

To profit in trading, it’s not only important to be well versed in the trades of the market itself, but to be self aware as well. This means that you risk tolerance and capital allocation to the trading. You have to sit down and analyse your own financial goals and your account before engaging in Forex trading. Once you determine your Forex trading goals, you have to set a time frame and jot down a working plan, be it short term or long term for your trading career.

Having clear goals means asking yourself a few trivial questions such as what should be the time frame for trial and error process? How much time do you plan on devoting to Forex trading, or whether you are getting into the trade as a hobby or a means to generate technology stable income? Answering such questions will help you determine the risks vs. returns and should the risks overshadow the profits, then it might be wise to embark on another endeavour.

  • Pick A Reliable Broker Then Start Small

Prior to focusing on the intricacies of trading itself, it is important to choose a broker who is in tandem with your trading goals and is of good expertise. It is wise to enquire about the brokers’ client profile, their trading software, and even how efficient their customers’ service is. The next step is to choose an account package that suits your expertise level. As a general rule for beginners, it is best to start out with a lower leverage. This gives you the much needed grave period to learn and maybe make mistakes that are not too costly. Start small and add onto your account as it gradually generates profits.

  • Stick To A Single Currency Pair

The forex market is vast and has brought together central banks, investment banks, commercial banks, hedge funds, retail traders, technology providers, statisticians, quants, software developers, analysts, just to name a few. It is an increasing industry that supports over 20 other industries. As such it can get chaotic, and in the midst of this chaos it is hard to grasp the nitty-gritty of all the participants in the trade. As such, it’s ideal to focus on trading with one currency pair which you are familiar with and understand, preferably the currency of your own country. Alternatively you can start off with the most liquid and widely traded currency pairs that are an ideal choice.

  • Understand The Trade

Forex trading in a nutshell is about probability and risk analysis. There is no single strategy that can guarantee you profits all the time. However, proper money management can help you to maximize profits and reduce losses. It’s also important to study the every changing market both its macroeconomic and microeconomic aspects and technical factors that come into play. Most importantly don’t make decisions based on your emotions.


What have we learnt about Finance from Christmas 2018?

Christmas is an expensive time. It is estimated that the average family spends £800 on festivities every year. Many even risk getting into a serious debt problem to enjoy the Season. While this is extremely stressful for many people, all this spending results in a lot of interesting data that reveals a lot about our priorities, our spending habits, stable investing opportunities, best sales practice, and, even, the economy.

Continued Online Dominance

Unsurprisingly, as in previous years, more people turned to ordering online to source their Christmas necessities than ever before. The store Next, for example, reported a 13.6% rise in their online sales in the 54 days before the 24th December.

This demonstrates the preference for convenience, and the improvements that continue to be made with deliveries. As Natalie Berg, global research director of Planet Retail, notes:

‘In retail, time wars are becoming the new price wars. A few years ago, three to four days was acceptable, but today same-day delivery is becoming the norm’.

As such, Argos was noted to have promised that customers who placed an order by 1pm on Christmas Eve would have it delivered by 6pm on that same day.

Shopping as an Experience

Despite increasing numbers of people choosing to do their Christmas shopping online, Network Rail has reported an increase in retail sales around the Christmas period. Interestingly, the stations with the greatest profit are all in London, which is often more likely to experience a mass exodus around this time, as people leave to visit family elsewhere. Paddington Station had the greatest increase at 42%, while Euston and Kings Cross experienced an increase of 12%.

As such, it is possible that this uptake in train station use at London demonstrates an enduring love with the experience of shopping, and other Christmas experiences. Visiting attractions, such as Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, and going shopping of Oxford Street, continue to be enjoyable Christmas experiences, regardless of the convenience of internet shopping.

Success Stories and Cautionary Tales

There are all sorts of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ out of the major shopping competitors over the Christmas period. This Christmas, Tesco’s can be considered a key winner as their seasonal sales were up 1.9%, with their food sales dominating at a growth of 3.4%.

John Lewis, another winner, saw a 3.1% sales hike over 6 weeks over the Christmas period, and partner Waitrose saw a hike of 1.5%.

The greatest winner, however, was Lidl, who saw an impressive leap of 16% in their sales over December. This clearly demonstrates a move towards value supermarkets, as wage concerns, inflation, and other financial concerns dominate consumer interests.

More telling, however, is the supermarket deemed the ‘loser’ of Christmas 2018: Marks and Spencer. They experienced a 2.8% drop in like for like clothing and home sales over 13 weeks, while their food sales were down 0.4%.

Similarly, Debenhams experienced a 2.6% drop, and House of Fraser experienced a 2.9% decrease. The struggling nature of ‘upper mid-range’ shops might demonstrate that there is not only increasing financial pressure, but also a growing inequality as the majority of people fall into two extremes: Waitrose, or Lidl.

Quality Food

Another enduring love, is that of food. While it is clear that consumers are not necessarily prepared to switch to a more up-market supermarket for their Christmas food, perhaps as they are managing debt or struggling with inflation, as shown by the persisting love of Lidl and Tesco’s, it is clear that consumers still want quality for Christmas.

As such, sales in premium food lines grew this Christmas. Morrison’s ‘The Best’ line, for example saw their sales increase by 25%, and Tesco’s similarly acknowledge that its record sales during the four weeks before 25th December were significantly due to increases in sales in their ‘Tesco’s Finest’ range.

Bryan Roberts, an insight director at TCC Global, noted:

‘What’s interesting is that instead of trading up to a premium supermarket like Waitrose or Marks & Spencer, people have been trading up within the normal retailers they shop at and just buying more premium products’

Dubious Discounts

With the introduction of Black Friday, increasingly a debate over the effectiveness of pre-Christmas and Christmas sales has dominated sales. As inflation limits the amount that consumers have to spend, they have begun to think and act critically, so as to avoid needing an IVA in the new year. This year was no exception.

The rise of online retail, in which you cannot always see the quality of your goods before you buy them, and the increasing use of sales, has made consumers more suspicious of discounts for the sake of discounts. As Jeremy Schwartz, former chairman and chief executive of The Body Shop argued:

‘Customers are getting so savvy and cynical about discounted products… Those retailers that have brought something new – a great quality, a great innovation, something new, and held their nerve on price – have been the ones who’ve been the winners’.

He refers to shops such as Next, who managed record increases in sales, while refusing to participate in Black Friday. The effectiveness of Black Friday can be brought into question, as there is often a ‘hangover’ effect that means that for the first week, or so, of December, consumers spend little as they no longer want to pay full price. This could mean that gains over the weekend can be lost over the proceeding weeks.

Doing Black Friday Right

As such, it seems that a winning formula has emerged in terms of Black Friday success stories. Dixons Carphone, for example, used Black Friday to sell products and promotions that they would not normally sell. They offered a limited amount, and this ensures that they are not simply selling products that they could have sold full-price.

As Roberts notes: ‘By having products just for Black Friday, Dixons is generating incremental spending that wouldn’t have happened anyway… One-off merchandising is the most sensible way to go, otherwise you’re diluting your margins’.