Category Archives: Other

Are you in the Market for Auto Insurance?

If you’re in the market for auto insurance, there are a few things you should think about before finding a quote or meeting with an agent. Here are a few suggestions to ponder.

1. Your Driving Record

Good drivers are less of a liability to the insurance company than those with a checkered past, so they’ll enjoy lower rates and better perks. If your record isn’t that great, either hold off on switching brands or look for one with accident forgiveness.

2. Your Location

The quotes offered by insurance websites aren’t always applicable to your own region. For example, if you’re hoping to find a reputable car insurance company in New Jersey, you should search for local New Jersey insurance providers.

3. Your Age and Gender

Teens will have to pay more than their parents. Seniors might be able to pay less if affiliated with the right groups. Gender plays a role in insurance premiums as well; male adults tend to be charged more than female.

4. Your Vehicle

Luxury cars face a high risk of theft and vandalism, so insurance companies will charge you extra for protecting their value. On the other hand, if you have a “green” or eco-friendly hybrid, insurance companies are often willing to give you a discount.

5. Your Credit Score

Each company has its own standards, but generally speaking, any score lower than 650 will cost you. You might also face higher prices or even denied applications if you have non-payments on record for your previous insurance company.

6. Your Mileage

It may sound strange, but the more you keep your car in the garage, the less you’ll have to pay for insurance. This is because your vehicle can’t get into accidents when you’re not on the road. If you’re looking for an easy way to shave some money off your insurance bills, carpooling to work is a good idea.

Asking the right questions now may save you hundreds in the future. Use these tips to find a car insurance policy that will keep you protected without breaking the bank.

Call for Budget re-think of tax rules on training costs

Rules on which training costs can be deducted as a business expense are damaging the development of the UK’s skill base and needs to be re-thought in time for this year’s Budget, says the Professional Representation Network.


The Professional Representation Network explains that current tax rules discourage self-employed contractors, who make up a crucial part of the workforce in many high growth sectors, from investing in acquiring new skills, and risk creating skills shortages.


Under the current rules, contractors can claim training as a business expense if they are refreshing or updating their existing skills, but not if they wanted to add new skills to enable them to take on a wider range of opportunities.


For instance a software programmer who wishes to retrain for a software project management role cannot claim that training as a business expense.


Other examples of training that cannot be claimed as a business expense include:


  • An IT systems administration specialist who trains as an app developer
  • An oil rig machine worker who trains as a fire & gas safety professional
  • An IT manager who takes an MBA so that they can provide more senior level advice to IT start-ups


Contractors typically work in fast moving sectors such as IT, mobile technology, oil & gas, engineering and financial services. The skill requirements in these sectors can change rapidly as technology evolves. Having the chance to train in areas outside their current expertise means that contractors can respond to changing business demand, and create a portfolio career: moving from contract to contract without long gaps of unemployment.


Kristian Gourlay, Professional Representation Network’s Managing Director, says: “The Government is supportive of improving the UK’s skill base and making this change to business expenses rules would help meet that objective.”


“Competition in areas such as IT, finance and oil & gas services is intense and it is fought on a global basis. We need to give both contractors and full time employees the best possible skills and allow the self-employed the tools to move from slow growth parts of their market to take advantage of growth opportunities. That is to the wider benefit of the UK economy.”


“Giving more sensible tax breaks on training costs will allow all UK contractors, and the UK businesses they work for, to keep moving up the value chain and avoid being stuck with redundant skills or in shrinking market segments.”


“The tax rules on training for contractors don’t reflect how contractors work or the rapidly evolving needs of the businesses that use them. It would make a lot more sense if contractors could claim for any business training as a business expense.”


Professional Representation Network explains that contracting is now a career choice for many highly skilled professionals and it is likely that in the next few years more professionals will choose to become contractors.


Adds Kristian Gourlay: “The tax rules need to change so that contractors have the opportunity to develop as wide a skills base as necessary.”


“If businesses can’t find the skills they need amongst UK contractors, when they need them, the reality is that they will be forced to look overseas.”


U.S. Automobile Industry Coming back Strong after Slump Five Years Ago

After the worst economic downturn in the U.S. since the Great Depression, many economic indicators show signs of a recovery. The Dow recently eclipsed the 16,000 level when it was below 10,000 just five years ago.

What has also improved is the health of the U.S. auto industry. In 2009, the outlook was bleak, with some auto companies needing bailouts. Since then, sales numbers have been on the rise with a strong 2013 and the expectation of an even stronger 2014.

Industry Slump of Late 2000s

The domino effect of the financial market meltdown affected jobs, housing and the automobile industry. Both General Motors (GM) and Chrysler accepted government bailout money to avoid going out of business.

North American vehicle production dropped to 8.6 million units in 2009, the lowest number since 1961. The 2009 total is less than half the 2000 total of 17.7 million, when production reached its highest point. About 1,600 dealerships went out of business during this time.

Turnaround after 2010

Significantly improved numbers are evidence the industry is making a comeback. Over 15 million cars were sold in 2013 in the U.S., more than 50 percent higher than in 2009. The industry expects to do even better in 2014, predicting sales of over 16 million units.

The turnaround has had a positive effect on suppliers and retailers. Alcoa, the world’s third-largest producer of aluminum, supplies lightweight alloy materials to auto manufacturers. It recently completed a plant expansion in Iowa and will expand another plant in Tennessee. Both expansions will total nearly $600 million.

Retailers are also seeing improved numbers. AutoNation, the largest auto retailer in the U.S. owns and operates hundreds of local dealerships, like Tampa, Fla.-based AutoNation Nissan Brandon.

Numbers improved for AutoNation in February in spite of cold weather, which kept many customers at home and left the overall light vehicle industry flat. New vehicle sales increased four percent, with luxury car sales up seven percent from a year ago. Domestic and import brands were also up, as were same-store sales.

Why the Turnaround Happened

One of the most important factors in the turnaround is that jobs are starting to come back. The auto industry alone has added over 173,000 jobs in the last four years. Unemployment numbers are down from 2009, leaving customers with more disposable income to buy or lease new vehicles.

Another key factor is that the auto industry made adjustments to how it operated. Gasoline prices had reached an all-time high in the summer of 2008, just before the global financial meltdown. The economic crash made people rethink the way they handled transportation, as they sought alternatives to cars that run on fossil fuels. The industry responded with hybrids, electric vehicles and cars that could run on different fuels.

The industry is also avoiding things that cost a lot of money. GM, for example recently slowed down production on particular models that did not sell as well as expected. In the past, the company would have maintained production levels and offered generous incentives to sell off the excess.

If predictions are accurate, 2014 sales and production will come close to 2000 levels. Thanks to an economic turnaround and an auto industry that changed with the times, cars are more efficient and technologically advanced, leaving consumers with more options than before.


5 Ways to Get Cash in a Hurry

Sooner or later we may need cash in a hurry whether you need it to pay outstanding bills, keep your business going or unexpected expenses that typically come across at the worst moment. Very few people save money with the goal of having a savings fund at hand, which could certainly be the solution to cover those last-minute expenses. However, what are you going to do if there is no savings fund that you can pull money out from?  Below are some tips to get cash in a hurry.  You also might find this article about 7 quick ways to make money helpful.

Borrowing Money

Perhaps the first idea coming to anyone’s mind is borrowing money but, do you think you can get it? You may or may not because applying for a loan depends on your credit history to get it approved, but you can always try to borrow money from family or friends, or apply for payday loan that is the easier to get.

Looking at Advances

You many know that it is possible to get an advance from credit cards, but if you have none, it could be possible to get advances from your employer. Many companies have savings funds that allow employees to borrow money from them, or you might get some money from your salary in anticipation of your next paycheck, if not your whole paycheck.

Are You Up to Work?

Finding a second job may take some time, but still is an option, there are other small jobs that you could do for fast cash in a hurry, including asking your neighbors for a money-making opportunity to clean their garage, or help people to carry their bags when they go to the supermarket. You may find many other ideas to do a quick and paid job.

Money Waiting at Home

Yes, whether you have put aside a stash of money that you have forgotten or some cash into the pockets of your clothes hanging in the closet, you may also have idle money in those all items that you do not need but only occupy space at home. You can sell all of these to get quick money.

Making Use of Your Imagination

There are several other ways to get fast cash in a rush, including selling items that you can craft, or your services either to teach people how to get something done, or offering professional advice on your field of expertise, just advertise your services using online and offline classified ads to get a faster response.

A quick guide to the benefits of payday loans

Payday loans, cash loans, same day loans. In recent years they have become a high street mainstay and have actually helped a great many people gain effective short term solutions to unforeseen financial circumstances.

The cost of living has increased dramatically. Food, fuel, gas, water and electricity have all undergone increases and can be difficult to manage at once, especially in the few days towards the end of the month when wages are yet to arrive in your account. This is where payday loans can help and below are just a few reasons why:

They are fast

Many loans are available on the same day. A remarkable change from several years ago when getting a loan meant repeated visits to the bank or building society and meeting after meeting with financiers. Now, they are extremely easy, as many companies have recognised the need for individuals to borrow small amounts of money extremely quickly to cover essential costs. For all your payday loan needs go here and find out how one could help today.

They are dependable

If you are on a fixed income salary and need a short, rapid injection of cash to help with bills or unforeseen overheads until your wages clear then it’s highly likely that you will be eligible for a payday loan. Companies and financers have a legal obligation to ensure responsible lending so will only lend you an amount you can afford to pay back. They are not a long term financial plan, like credit, but something to help with any financial struggles in real time.

They are often just a phone call away

Text loans can even be approved over the phone. This is important as it represents the next step in convenient, fast lending which aims to match the demands of modern life with suitable financial products. By being able to apply for a loan either over the phone or online customers who are short of money are given quick and immediate relief.

Similarly, if you are in a situation that demands that you cannot leave your location (such as a household item or household repair that needs attending to immediately) then you can get a loan approved from wherever you are. As money can be transferred into your account within a matter of hours with some lenders, you could even have the money to pay for the repair before the work is completed.

For the full details about text loans visit this site.

How to Prepare Yourself for a Potentially Really Brutal Debt Ceiling Fight in 2013

Money is such an emotionally charged topic that many people try and avoid it until it really matters. Inevitably, many of us will have to deal with our piling debt. One solution for dealing with it all is debt settlement.

Here are another ten useful tips by Consolidated Credit that could keep you from getting saddled by credit debt in the coming year.

1.     Reduce Interest Rates If Possible

Almost every student loan lender has some kind of interest rate discount for people who set up direct deposit. The discounts are usually not huge, but they can help you save a lot of money in the long run. It would also be good to check with the lender to see if they have any other interest rate deductions. Lenders are often able to reduce the interest rates based on factors like having a high credit score or having a history of on-time payments and even if they cannot, it doesn’t hurt to double check.

2.     Loan Consolidation

In some cases, loan consolidations can be real life savers. A person can also reduce interest rates with loan consolidation. A person will need to pay close attention to the effect it will have on all the loans.

3.     Bigger Payments

It does sound obvious, but it still deserves attention. Sure, the easiest way to pay off a loan faster is to simply pay more each month. But how much more should a person pay? And will the lender accept the increased payments? These are important questions that need to be answered.

4.     Earn More To Pay Back The Loan

Of course, it’s hard to make larger payments towards a loan if you don’t have additional money in the first place. Taking up a second job is the best way to earn extra cash that can then go towards paying off the loan.

5.     Budget Better

To budget your expenses is always going to help in the end. Make a monthly budget and try not to over- spend. Your budget will be the one thing that will help guide your way towards paying off the loan faster.

6.     Save Money

It is extremely important that you save money. Without proper savings, you will definitely find it harder to pay off your loans or credit debt.  To accomplish this, it will help to save money in every aspect of your life, from going to the grocery store to visiting restaurants on weekends. Consider carefully the price of every item you purchase and ask yourself if you really need it.

7.     Give Yourself A Goal

If additional income is not being generated, it is okay to compensate by putting monthly expenses like utility and grocery bills on the credit card. But make sure to make your monthly payments on time to avoid credit debt.

8. Be Realistic

The worst way anyone can unknowingly sabotage their own debt-free goals is by considering themselves to be perfect and trying to accomplish difficult outcomes in short time periods. When you set unrealistic expectations for yourself, chances are you will fall short and be disappointed

9. Track Your Spending

One solution is to track your spending. If you use a proper spending plan (aka budget), it will help you make frugal choices. To be successful with your goal, you’ll need to act based on the budget you find yourself on.

10.  Understand Your Interest Rates

Most of us have taken out loans at some point in our lives but we often neglect to understand how the interest rates work. Whether your debt consists of student loans, credit cards, an auto loan, a mortgage, or all of the above, devote some time to reading the fine print on your statements so that you understand exactly what you’re paying each month and why. One solution is to identify the loan with the highest interest rate and put it in your cross hairs first.


Inevitably, many of us will have to deal with our piling debt. One solution for dealing with it all is debt settlement. These practical ways should help to evade or at least cushion the fall. Otherwise, the muscular debt ceiling is sure to slice us all from dimple to duodenum.

Author’s Bio:

This article is composed by Elaine McPartland who is associated with “Consolidated Credit” as their community writer. She has an expertise in writing articles related to debt consolidation and how to pay off debts easily and smoothly. You can add her at her google+ profile

How much tax is paid on casino winnings

Fortunately one place that the taxman is currently not taxing is winnings made on casino games or on any other form of gambling. Nowadays even horse race winnings are exempt from tax.

If you think about it, then if you were charged tax on your winnings, then you would be quite justified in arguing that any losses you might make should be tax deductable, so that you could collect a tax rebate on them.

Of course the government doesn’t need to tax the player, as the bookmakers and owners do have to pay tax, and many of them claim that the way in which they are taxed is fundamentally unfair. Not only do they have to pay ordinary corporation tax on profits just as any other company, and it is right that they should do so, but in addition they have to pay taxes of 15% of gross profits.
Before that law was passed, by ex-prime minister Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, bookmakers were charged 7.5% tax, and that was passed on to punters as a 9% tax, unless they paid tax on their stake money instead.

Today casinos such as Lucky Nugget have to pay gaming duty on the cash that is gambled less the amount that is paid out. There are four duty bands which range from 15% up to 50%, though different rules apply to slot machines and bingo.

What this means to you as a casino player is that the taxes the casinos have to pay come from somewhere, and that somewhere is you. To pay these duties and taxes, the casino has to pass on the costs to its customers by increasing the house edge on certain casino games.

Many online casinos are now based offshore in places such as Malta, which means that they are not subject to UK tax laws, and so they are able to reduce the amount they charge via the house edge, meaning that you the player gets a better deal.

The state of UK consumer loans

Surprised at the state of UK consumer loans? View how quickly UK consumers accumulate debt with this live debt ticker.

This infographic is brought to you by QuickQuid

Office and Home Fire Safety Rules that can Save your Life

There are many health and safety regulations in the workplace designed to keep employees
safe, especially when it comes to fire. It may seem like there are a lot of rules to follow, but
the day may come where following the rules could just save your life.

Fit smoke alarms from at regular intervals throughout the
workplace to detect the first signs of fire. Test the alarms every three months and change the
batteries annually whether they are running out or not.

Every 10 years replace all smoke alarms with new ones even if they appear to be working just
fine. It may seem like a waste, but if it saves a life it’s worth it.

Only smoke in designated smoking areas and be certain to extinguish all smoking materials

Keep tidy at work and don’t ever block off emergency exits. Clutter can not only provide fuel
for fires, it can prevent people from being able to escape a burning building.

Fit appropriate fire extinguishers from throughout the building
and make sure there are plenty of people who know how to use them properly. Hold regular
reminder sessions and make sure key members of staff have attended fully certified training

Store chemicals and other hazardous items correctly in accordance with HACCP regulations.
Make sure these regulations are clearly displayed wherever chemicals are used or stored.

Always follow instructions on disposal of containers that have previously held chemicals.
Always wear protective clothing if required.

Report any electrical hazards or other potential fire risks immediately when you see them.
Don’t ever presume somebody else will take care of it or put it off because you are busy, or
you could be risking lives including your own.

Keep on top of machine maintenance and make sure all electrical equipment has an up-to-
date safety test certificate clearly displayed.

Always read the fire safety regulations for your building. These should be clearly displayed at
regular intervals throughout the workplace. You should be shown them on your induction day
but if not, ask.

Really Know Your Target Market

There’s simply nothing more important for business owners and sales managers than to know their target market. After all, you can’t expect to focus your efforts in the right direction if you have no frame of reference to work off of. Knowing your target market is something that often doesn’t come easy, however, and typically requires a great deal of time, effort and research. Consider the following aspects of learning more about your target market, all of which are applicable in the world of modern business.

Conduct Market Research

The most important thing you can do in order to learn more about the market that you are targeting is to conduct market research. Doing so doesn’t have to be as difficult as one might think; there are a great deal of data analysis services that can help you to learn more about your audience. Often times, however, there is more to market research than simply working with a company to analyze the data you’ve collected. You’ve got to employ creative thinking to get down to the basics of who you are trying to pitch to. Try to think the way they might think, and put yourself in their shoes.

Consider Unconventional Methods

Running a business can indeed be rather time-consuming, and many people feel as if they don’t have time to carry out their own market research. This attitude will not help you in the long run, however, as you’ve got to consider unconventional research methods and carry them out yourself if you wish to really get to know your target market. Perhaps spend an afternoon making phone calls to businesses that you might target in other parts of the country (outside of your demographic) and conduct a short interview with questions about what they’d look for in a service such as that which you could provide. You’ll be amazed how much such a simple, technically free method can impact your knowledge of the market you’re targeting.

Don’t Get Lazy Over Time

Target markets can shift dramatically in even a short period of time, and you’ve got to stay on top of the trends in order for your pitches to be worthwhile. Many business owners and sales managers who have nailed a lead consider that to be the end of the road, whereas keeping up with the client is really the most important thing to consider here.

So the alternative is getting comfortable, familiar, and therefore lazy with potential clients. Don’t end up losing countless leads by assuming what you have is enough, or assuming that the state of clients will remain static. Staying ahead of the game – and yourself – is really the key to winning here.

With the above tips on your side, you can really get to know your target market and increase your chances of finding success. Conduct the necessary research, be creative, and work with excellence – you’ll soon see the effectiveness of such an approach, and the numbers will come rolling in.

Seven Forgotten Ways to Save Money

Many households are looking for ways to take a very thin budget and stretch it a little more. Past generations knew how to get by with very little, a skill that quite a few of us would benefit from if we are willing to take the time to learn how. Here are seven strategies from CB Online that worked very well during the Depression years and can still provide a lot of help today.

#1: Eat at home – In times past, most meals were prepared and consumed at home. Today, far too many of us rely on stopping by a restaurant or a fast food joint after work. Limit your meals out to once or twice a week and the difference in your wallet will soon be apparent. As a bonus, you’ll be in a better position to control your fat and carbohydrate intake and begin to get rid of that spare tyre.

#2: Use those leftovers – Preparing meals at home invariably means there are leftovers. Don’t toss them in the trash. Save them and find a way to use them in the preparation of another meal. During the Depression years, a family would start out with fried chicken on Sunday, and by Wednesday the leftovers were being used in soup. Keep a container in your freezer that is just for leftover vegetables or meats and when the container is full, make a pot of nourishing and tasty soup.

#3: Join a clothing exchange – One of the ways families used to help each other out during hard times was a clothing exchange. Essentially, this approach called for several households to come together and offer any clothing the kids had outgrown to the other families. Everybody usually went home with something they could use and it didn’t cost a cent.

#4: Barter your services – Perhaps you need the lawn mowed but can’t afford to hire someone for the job. Offer to bake your bachelor neighbour a cake if he will do the job. You get to use ingredients that you already keep around the house and he gets a home made cake for less than an hour’s job. Everybody wins and not a dime is spent.

#5: Walk – How many times do we hop in the car and go somewhere that is no more than five or six blocks away? Save the car for the longer trips and either walk or bike to destinations that are close by. You’ll get some much-needed exercise and curtail your gasoline consumption significantly.

#6: Get a spare change jar – The concept is simple. Any loose change in your pocket or purse at the end of the day goes into a common jar. When the jar is filled to the brim, the change is counted and the money used for something the family wants. Try this approach for buying a new TV rather than using your credit card and accruing interest while you pay off the balance for several months running.

#7: Save the credit cards for emergencies – Put your household on a cash only basis. People tend to be freer with their spending when plastic is involved. If a purchase has to come out of your bank balance, chances are you will think twice before proceeding. This approach helps to motivate you to consider the ramification of each purchase and save you from running out of money before the end of the month.

These strategies for saving money are only the beginning. Spend some time looking closely at your situation and identify some other ways that are relevant to your lifestyle. Keep in mind that even small changes in the way you spend money and use the resources already in your possession can save money and ultimately allow you to enjoy a greater measure of financial freedom.

Investing in Egypt’s future

With Europe and the USA facing huge economic challenges and barely registering any meaningful growth, investors around the world are looking more and more at alternative markets in which to place their capital. There are many good reasons for choosing Egypt, which has weathered the economic downturn better than many Western countries.
Although Egypt’s GDP fell at the beginning of the downturn, a scenario repeated in many other countries, total output quickly recovered within a year and now the economy is expected to grow by an impressive 6.5% by 2015.

Investors, wary in recent years because of political turmoil in the country, are beginning to look afresh at Egypt where growing sectors include the construction industry, communication and information technology, tourism, manufacturing and transport.

According to news agency Reuters, the Egyptian government is putting its full weight behind a string of infrastructure projects totalling some $8 billion.

The projects, a mix of government and public-private partnerships include the building of a new tunnel under the Suez Canal, and a major Mediterranean port to spread Egypt’s population more evenly away from the crowded Nile Valley and Delta region, where the vast majority of the nation’s 83 million people live.

Deputy Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian said that half of the 14 projects were ready for investment while the other seven would be launched in the next 18 to 24 months.
He said the projects covered solid waste management, drinking water, health, telecommunications and roads.

This latest news follows an announcement by Qatar that it will make critical investments in a $3.7 billion oil refinery project in Egypt. The exact amount of the investment is not known although some observers think it will probably be in the region of $400 million.

Governments and major institutions are usually at the centre of such large-scale investment projects. But for the rest of us wanting a little piece of the action, and who are simply looking to grow hard-earned savings with minimal risk, the banks in Egypt are probably where we should be heading. And you won’t need to know much about the intricacies of modern-day finance either because when it comes to managing personal wealth, banking services these days tend to have it all covered.

Banks  offer customers access to in-depth financial planning and wealth management which is backed by sound, objective, and professional advice. Whether you are a cautious investor or a more adventurous one, they’ll help you decide what’s best for you with a wide range of investments to choose from.

In fact the biggest problem you’ll likely face is not how to grow your money but which bank to go for. There are so many good banks in Egypt, many of them major multinationals with names that are instantly recognizable.

Major reforms from the 1990s onwards mean today’s consumers enjoy a liberalized and modernized system which is supervised and regulated according to internationally accepted standards. The banking sector has certainly come a long way in a very short time which is why it is now highly regarded across the world.

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