Money Bulldog http://moneybulldog.co.uk Personal Finance One Bite at a Time Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:03:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to Reduce the Cost of Your Business Operations http://moneybulldog.co.uk/how-to-reduce-the-cost-of-your-business-operations/ http://moneybulldog.co.uk/how-to-reduce-the-cost-of-your-business-operations/#comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:02:18 +0000 http://moneybulldog.co.uk/?p=16910 Establishing and running a business can be a costly exercise, and one that can take its toll on new ventures. This is reflected by the fact that an estimated 96% of all businesses fail during their first 10 years, which is an incredible statistic when you consider the number of ventures that are launched during

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Establishing and running a business can be a costly exercise, and one that can take its toll on new ventures. This is reflected by the fact that an estimated 96% of all businesses fail during their first 10 years, which is an incredible statistic when you consider the number of ventures that are launched during each 12-month period.

One of the biggest challenges facing businesses revolves around cost management, as expenditure can soar as ventures start to scale.

It is therefore important to consider viable ways of reducing operational costs from the outset, as this will optimise your profits and improve your chances of achieving growth over time. Consider the following: -

  1. Pay Attention to Seemingly Insignificant Costs

This represents a good starting point for small business-owners, who can make significant reductions by targeting easy to overlook operational costs.

Take the cost of making voice calls, for example, which is crucial if you are to communicate successfully with clients and partners alike. Free communication services such as Skype have emerged to supplement the use of traditional landlines and smartphones, helping entrepreneurs to reduce costs without compromising on their accessibility.

In general terms, the best bet for business-owners is to use one type of voice call platform predominantly, as this makes it easier to budget and manage your costs. Most tend to rely heavily on the use of smartphones in the modern workplace, while using Skype to handle all of their video conferencing and long-distance call needs.

As this infographic shows, each geographic region has numerous area codes, which may impact on the cost of individual calls. This is why having a clearly defined communication strategy helps, and it ensures that you are able to monitor costs more readily and identify opportunities to save.

  1. Embrace BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

If you are not familiar with BYOD, you are missing out on a seminal opportunity to reduce costs and empower your employees. When implemented across a secure, wireless network, this enables your staff members to use their own personal devices in the workplace and slashes your hardware costs considerably.

This includes the integration of personal smartphones and laptops into the workplace, while it transfers the cost of purchasing and maintenance to the user.

BYOD also creates additional benefits for your business. Most importantly, it optimises productivity by empowering employees to complete certain tasks (such as answering emails) outside of the workplace. This can increase the viability of your staff as individual profit centres, and this can reap huge rewards over time.

  1. Access the Global Workforce

In simple terms, there are two types of employee within any business. These are strategic and operations, and while the first determine a clear and continuous vision for the venture the second complete everyday work tasks.

While strategic and management roles should therefore be filled by permanent staff members, operational positions can easily be undertaken by temporary or contract workers. This offers businesses a chance to dramatically reduce their annual wage bill, while also adapting the skills of their workforce on the basis of each individual project.

This tactic is more accessible than ever before, thanks to the evolution of remote communication tools and Cloud technology. While it may also require an initial investment in terms of software, this will quickly be repaid during the course of the financial year.

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Small Business Loans vs Cash Advances – What’s the Difference? http://moneybulldog.co.uk/small-business-loans-vs-cash-advances-whats-the-difference/ http://moneybulldog.co.uk/small-business-loans-vs-cash-advances-whats-the-difference/#comments Thu, 20 Apr 2017 21:45:46 +0000 http://moneybulldog.co.uk/?p=16891 In the course of doing business, borrowing cash is often an inevitability to keep your business afloat or expand. Usually, small businesses can choose between a bank loan and merchant cash advance. Depending on your needs and the urgency of the loan, these options have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few things

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In the course of doing business, borrowing cash is often an inevitability to keep your business afloat or expand. Usually, small businesses can choose between a bank loan and merchant cash advance. Depending on your needs and the urgency of the loan, these options have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few things you must keep in mind when selecting which borrowing option to choose from.

Urgency

If you really have an urgent need for a loan, a merchant cash advance may be your best choice. Requests for a merchant cash advance can be approved within 12 or 24 hours, which is pretty fast when compared to bank loans which may take weeks or even months.

Merchant cash advances only require your merchant credit card statement to make a lending decision. In the case of a bank loan, there is a lot of paperwork required other than just your merchant account statements.

Banks may require you to process detailed and legal documents. The bank has to prove your creditworthiness as well as establish alternatives for repayment in the form of collateral as security in case the borrower defaults. In addition, there is a higher risk of being denied funding from banks, leading to further delays.

Therefore, if you need the cash for immediate use, merchant cash advances are the best option for you. There are many available options for cash advances for UK registered companies, so you should be able to get a merchant cash advance sorted out today.

Borrowing Limit

The borrowing limit for merchant cash advances is lower when compared to a bank loan. If you really need huge financing to acquire a new factory, for instance, you will probably have no other option but to get a bank loan.

Interest Rates

Merchant cash advances repayment is structured as a percentage of your future sales. This means that repayment is made based on the percentage of your sales; higher sales translate to higher repayments.

This removes the monthly fixed repayments required by bank loans and can be great during downturns for seasonal business. However, you are likely to repay at a higher interest rate without realizing it. This can be even as high as 150%.

On the other hand, bank loans have fixed amounts you need to repay on a monthly basis whether business was great or not. However, since bank loans fall under a high regulated bracket, interest rates are predetermined and controlled.

This makes bank loans more affordable and the amount you owe every month keeps reducing in most cases. Therefore, if you have a great credit score – above 700 averagely – and are not in a do-or-die situation, this is the best option for you.

Conclusion

In many cases, getting a bank loan might be better due to their affordability, but their longer wait time and restrictions may make a merchant cash advance more advantageous depending on your situation. The most important thing is to know your business in and out, that means keeping tabs on your cash flow, profits and debts, and understanding how much you can afford to repay and which financing options are realistically attainable for you.

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Nutmeg Review http://moneybulldog.co.uk/nutmeg-review/ http://moneybulldog.co.uk/nutmeg-review/#comments Wed, 12 Apr 2017 16:17:45 +0000 http://moneybulldog.co.uk/?p=16814 If you have been looking to invest in the stock market or have been considering setting up your own pension, then you may have come across a UK investment firm called Nutmeg. But who are Nutmeg, how do they work and are they the right investment option for you? In this Nutmeg Review, we take

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If you have been looking to invest in the stock market or have been considering setting up your own pension, then you may have come across a UK investment firm called Nutmeg.

But who are Nutmeg, how do they work and are they the right investment option for you? In this Nutmeg Review, we take a closer look at the company to help answer these important questions, giving you all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Who are Nutmeg?

Nutmeg are a UK investment firm who were founded in 2011 by a stock market broker who had become frustrated by the lack of transparency in the investment world, and the fact that stock market investing seemed to be something that was only available to wealthy individuals. The basic idea behind the company was to strip out all the unnecessary costs associated with investing through a large investment firm, so that these savings could then be passed on to investors themselves. Nutmeg also aims to make investing accessible to a wider variety of people, such as those who might only have a relatively small amount of money available to invest or who may have very little experience of stock market investing. Since its launch in April 2011, the company has gone from strength to strength and has won several awards for its financial innovation. You may have even seen its recent television advertising campaign.

How does Nutmeg work?

Nutmeg are a UK based robo-advisor and an online discretionary investment management company. This basically means that they make all the investment decisions for you, rather than you having to select your own shares and investments. All you need to do is set up an account with Nutmeg, answer a few questions about your investment goals and your attitude to risk, and Nutmeg will then do the rest by creating a balanced portfolio on your behalf. Nutmeg currently offer 3 main investment products, these being the Nutmeg Stocks and Shares ISA, the Nutmeg Pension and they have recently added a new Lifetime ISA to their offering.

What are Nutmeg’s fees and how do they compare?

One of the main attractions of investing with Nutmeg are the low fees involved. The fee structure is also simple and easy to understand.

At the time of writing, you can invest with Nutmeg through either a Fully Managed Portfolio or a Fixed Allocation Portfolio. We’ll take a look at those investment options and fees now, but we should first mention that when investing with Nutmeg, there are no setup or exit fees, no withdrawal fees and no trading fees, as all of this is included in the fees outlined below. You can also look at these fees laid out on a simple chart on the Nutmeg Website.

With a fully managed portfolio, you will pay an annual management fee of 0.75% on the first £100,000 of your investment and 0.35% on anything over that. You will also pay an average of 0.19% annually on other costs associated with the funds that Nutmeg invest your money in.

For a fixed allocation portfolio, the fees are even lower at 0.45% on the first £100,000 and 0.25% on anything over that, with the extra average fund costs coming in at 0.17% per annum. It’s worth mentioning here that the Nutmeg Pension is only currently available as a fully managed portfolio.

How does this compare to investing with a typical wealth manager? Nutmeg state that if you invest with them then you’d save between 0.29% and 0.94% per annum on management fees which could really add up, not just in the short-term but also the long-term when the effects of compounding kick in.

Why is there a minimum investment amount?

It’s important to know that each investment pot that you create with Nutmeg requires a minimum investment amount of £500 for their Stocks and Shares ISA. Why is this? It’s simply to make it possible for the company to create diversified portfolio on your behalf. If you invest less than £5000, then you’ll also be asked to contribute a minimum of £100 per month following your initial investment.

If you are looking to setup a Nutmeg Pension, then the minimum investment amount is £5000.

What you need to know about the Nutmeg Stocks and Shares ISA

So far in our Nutmeg Review we’ve explained who Nutmeg are, how they work and we’ve also had a look at the fees they charge. Now it’s time to take a closer look at the investment options they offer, starting with the Nutmeg Stocks and Shares ISA.

The Nutmeg Stocks and Shares ISA is a tax-efficient way of investing in the stock market, as any gains made are free from income and capital gains tax. In 2017, the amount you can put into an ISA has increased to £20,000 per year, and you can choose to invest all of this into a Stocks and Shares ISA or split it across a Stocks and Shares ISA, Cash ISA, Lifetime ISA or an Innovative Finance ISA.

With a Nutmeg Stocks and Shares ISA, you don’t choose which companies you specifically want to invest in. Instead, the hard work is done for you and Nutmeg will create a portfolio for you based upon your own goals and your attitude to risk. You can also transfer your existing ISA to Nutmeg if you wish to do so.

For a more in depth look at the Nutmeg Stocks and Shares ISA, take a few moments to check out our Nutmeg Stocks and Shares ISA review.

What you need to know about the Nutmeg Pension

With the Nutmeg Pension, the investments Nutmeg choose for you will again be based upon your own personal goals and also the level of risk that you are comfortable with. When setting up your Nutmeg Pension, they will ask you a few important questions so that they can get the information that they need to build the right portfolio for you. As we mentioned earlier, the minimum investment amount to start a pension with Nutmeg is £5000 and this can be funded via your bank account or by transferring your existing pension over to Nutmeg, provided it has a value of at least £5000.

They also now offer a Lifetime ISA

Nutmeg are also one of the few companies to currently offer the newly available Lifetime ISA. The Lifetime ISA was launched in April 2017 and it allows you to invest up to £4000 per year, and to then receive a top up bonus of 25% from the government to put towards your first home or your retirement.

Is Nutmeg Right for You?

Now that you have all the information the important question is, is Nutmeg the right investment option for you? Hopefully this Nutmeg review will have gone some way to answering your questions but if you’re still in doubt then let me leave you with a few parting thoughts.

If you want to invest in the stock market in a truly hands off way, then Nutmeg could prove to be a great option for you. The fees Nutmeg charge are low, their past performance is good – though this doesn’t guarantee future performance – and they have a website which is easy to navigate. They also have that all-important mobile app for you to download, so that you can stay up to date with your account on the go.

If you are desperate to pick your own shares and investments, then you may want to look at other options such as the Stocks and Shares ISA from Hargreaves Lansdown, but if you would rather enjoy the potential benefits of stock market investment without all of the hassle and stress that can come along with it, then Nutmeg could be a good option.

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Will You Ever Be Able to Retire? http://moneybulldog.co.uk/will-you-ever-be-able-to-retire/ http://moneybulldog.co.uk/will-you-ever-be-able-to-retire/#comments Mon, 10 Apr 2017 12:42:03 +0000 http://moneybulldog.co.uk/?p=16806 The thought of never being able to retire was quite a laughable concept when I was growing up. It was generally accepted that adults worked until they were around 60 to 65 years old and if you were really fortunate or worked really hard, then you might even be able to retire at 50 or

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The thought of never being able to retire was quite a laughable concept when I was growing up. It was generally accepted that adults worked until they were around 60 to 65 years old and if you were really fortunate or worked really hard, then you might even be able to retire at 50 or dare I say it, 40.

According to recent research from financial firm Lending Works, however, it seems that more and more of us Brits are becoming resigned to the thought of never being able to retire at all! An online survey which they conducted in conjunction with YouGov revealed that 22% of Brits now feel that they’ll never be able to retire. The findings of the survey have been placed into a useful and easy to understand infographic on the Lending Works website which you can take a few moments to look at, but we’ll also summarise the findings below.

We’re not saving enough for retirement

This may seem like an obvious statement but the simple reason why many of us might never be able to retire is because we simply aren’t saving enough to make it possible. With the cost of living on the rise and the age of access to a state pension also being slowly pushed ever higher, never has it been more important for us to be putting a little (or a lot) extra away each month to help us maintain a decent standard of living during retirement, or, to make retirement a reasonable possibility at all. The study showed that around 34% of non-retired adults aren’t saving anything at all for retirement and of those polled, women were saving even less than men and part-time workers much less than full-time workers. I guess this makes sense when you think about it, as most part-time workers will be earning less money and, therefore, will likely have less cash available to put into savings.

Those 35 and over are most worried

There is also a lot more worry about the ability to retire from those who are 35 and over. The research again shows that while those in the 18-24 and 25-34 age brackets are less worried, the concern about the thought of never being able to retire jumps considerably after this point. This may simply be down to the nativity of youth in believing that retirement age will never come, or, perhaps the young are becoming more financially savvy and putting arrangements in place to more adequately plan for retirement. Whatever the case, it appears that there is a lot of concern among those who are 35 and over as to the thought of whether they will ever be able to retire at all.

Time to take action?

Here we’ve looked at just a couple of the findings from the research and I would definitely recommend taking a few moments to check out the rest. You never know, it may just give you the inspiration you need to start putting measures in place to ensure that you are able to kick back and relax during your old age, rather than finding that you have to stack shelves in a supermarket or garden centre to the very end, just to be able to make ends meet.

Are you worried that you might never be able to retire?

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5 Alternative Investment Vehicles To Consider http://moneybulldog.co.uk/5-alternative-investment-vehicles-to-consider/ http://moneybulldog.co.uk/5-alternative-investment-vehicles-to-consider/#comments Tue, 04 Apr 2017 10:09:48 +0000 http://moneybulldog.co.uk/?p=16797 Have you ever heard the term “Never put all of your eggs in one basket.”? Well, there’s no place where that’s more true than in the world of investing. At the end of the day, you never want all of your investment in one asset, one vehicle, or one figurative basket of any kind. After

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Have you ever heard the term “Never put all of your eggs in one basket.”? Well, there’s no place where that’s more true than in the world of investing. At the end of the day, you never want all of your investment in one asset, one vehicle, or one figurative basket of any kind. After all, if that one basket falls apart your investment falls apart along with it. So, today, we’ll talk about some great alternative investment vehicles that you may want to consider for diversification.

Investing In Art

Most of the time, when we think of investing, we think of buying stocks, bonds, and possibly precious metals. However, there’s another form of investing that many would consider to be more rewarding. That is investing in art. You see, buying the right piece of art could potentially provide a strong return on your investment. While market and economic conditions may falter, art from the right artist will often hold its value.

Investing In Real Estate

Real estate investing is becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. At the end of the day, people are starting to realize that although populations grow, the earth does not. There’s only so much real estate that is available, and because of that, the cost of real estate consistently gains. At first glance, you may think “I don’t have the money to invest in real estate”, but chances are that that’s not true. The truth is that there are several pieces of land available for just a couple thousand dollars that 10 years from now may be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Investing In Hedge Funds

Another great alternative investment to look into is hedge funds. You see, these funds have incredibly talented people on their payroll, and what they do, is take the money that you give them and work to grow it. So, they make their own stock picks and you’re essentially investing in their talents. They say that smart money follows big money. Well, a smart choice for investing your money may be to invest it with a big hedge fund!

Investing In Financial Derivatives

Derivative investing is another great way to diversify your investment portfolio. Derivatives themselves, like binary options, have absolutely no value. Instead, their value is derived from movements in the value of the underlying asset they represent. If the price of a particular asset moves in a particular direction, you end up seeing profits on your investment.

Investing In Ventures

We have all seen venture capitalists on television. You know, the billionaires on shark tank that buy pieces of smaller companies as investments. Well, there are just about always great venture capital opportunities out there, and you don’t have to pony up massive amounts of money to get involved. While investing in small business can be risky, it can also be incredibly rewarding. You may also be able to crowdfund your investments with other people via the internet if you don’t have huge amounts to invest.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, investing in stocks and bonds are just two ways to go about putting your money to work for you. There are tons of other options out there. To ensure that you protect your investments through hard times and gain big during good times, it’s always a good idea not only to diversify assets, but also investment vehicles.

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Can You Get a Mortgage on a Zero Hours Contract? http://moneybulldog.co.uk/can-you-get-a-mortgage-on-a-zero-hours-contract/ http://moneybulldog.co.uk/can-you-get-a-mortgage-on-a-zero-hours-contract/#comments Thu, 30 Mar 2017 21:02:58 +0000 http://moneybulldog.co.uk/?p=16757 With the number of people in the UK on a zero hour contract approaching 1 million – according to recent figures from the Office of National Statistics – it is no surprise that the availability of mortgages for people engaging in this type of work is becoming more and more important. So, is it possible

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With the number of people in the UK on a zero hour contract approaching 1 million – according to recent figures from the Office of National Statistics – it is no surprise that the availability of mortgages for people engaging in this type of work is becoming more and more important. So, is it possible to get a mortgage if you are on a zero hours contract and is it an easy process?

Lenders starting to take note

While it may not be as easy for someone on a zero hour contract to get a mortgage as it might be for someone on a permanent contract, it is still possible. The recent rise in the number of people working this way has also meant that more lenders have started to take note of the need in this area by offering mortgages that are specifically tailored to those on a zero hour contract. One example of this is the Zero hour contract mortgage from Ipswich Building Society. Ipswich have been working for some time now to try and reach out to those who might otherwise be considered as ‘mortgage misfits’ – as they put it. This includes those who may be self-employed, retired borrowers or divorcees, for example, and they have now added those who work on a zero hours contract to the list.

Why can I get a mortgage with some lenders but not others?

If you are currently working on a zero hours contract, then you may be wondering why some lenders might be more likely to accept you for a mortgage than others? The main answer to this would be due to the way in which certain lenders assess each mortgage application. Smaller lenders, like Ipswich, will be more likely to have a human being assessing your mortgage application, something known as manual underwriting. This means that your mortgage application is less likely to be ‘thrown out’ because of a simple misunderstanding. Larger and more mainstream lenders, on the other hand, often use computers to do the bulk of their underwriting. This means that as soon as you enter that you are not on a permanent contract, your chances of being accepted for a mortgage are more likely to take a hit or your application may even be thrown out completely, just because the ‘computer says no’.

What can you do to help?

So, now you know that it is possible to get a mortgage while working on a zero hours contract, is there anything else that you can do to help your case? Yes. The main thing you can do is to keep a good record of the money you’re earning by keeping hold of your payslips and P60s. Many lenders who are willing to lend to those on a zero hour contract will want to see that you have been earning enough money to be able to afford the repayments over a specific period of time. Usually, at least 18 months of employment history will be required, but some lenders may want to see much more than that. If you have worked for a few different employers then the easiest way to prove what you’ve earned will be to have your payslips to hand, rather than having to request the proof from your current or previous employers. Another thing which might help is to have some kind of letter from your employer stating the minimum hours you are likely to work in a week. You can then give this to your potential lender to add weight to your application.

If in doubt, pick up the phone

If you’re looking for a mortgage on a zero hour contract then the best thing you can do is to look for a lender who is either favourable toward, or actively seeking out, these kind of borrowers. Always check a potential lender’s lending criteria before making an application, to see if there is anything that might mean your application will be thrown out by a computer. If you find something, then it is best to ring a lender and ask the question before making an application, so as not to damage your credit score by making too many mortgage applications in a short period of time.

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The Economic Fallout as a Result of Global Political Events: How to Survive as an Options Trader http://moneybulldog.co.uk/the-economic-fallout-as-a-result-of-global-political-events-how-to-survive-as-an-options-trader/ http://moneybulldog.co.uk/the-economic-fallout-as-a-result-of-global-political-events-how-to-survive-as-an-options-trader/#comments Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:00:25 +0000 http://moneybulldog.co.uk/?p=16743 “In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable.” – Robert Arnott 2016 was a tumultuous year for the global geopolitical and socio-economic environment. The aftershocks of the following three top world events still continue to bother the global financial markets months after their occurrence. First, in June, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European

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“In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable.” – Robert Arnott

2016 was a tumultuous year for the global geopolitical and socio-economic environment. The aftershocks of the following three top world events still continue to bother the global financial markets months after their occurrence. First, in June, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, second, in November, Donald Trump was voted into power as the 45th president of the United States of America, and third, Italian voters voted for the Italian constitution to remain the same during the December referendum.

According to Emma Lunn of the Telegraph: “The political surprises of 2016 have had a significant impact on interest rates, currencies, inflation and, potentially, economic growth. So, with voters showing themselves to be nativist, nationalist and protectionist, is there a chance that far right groups will triumph in some of the elections due in Europe in 2017? And what impact could this have on investors?

Unfortunately, the latest news out of the UK; ergo, the holding company, Food Retailer Operations Limited, which operates 34 Budgens stores has gone into administration, should not surprise us. Consequently, over 800 jobs will be lost. Is this a direct consequence of Brexit? I am not sure; however, I suspect that it is a more than likely a result of the slowing economic conditions that is taking place in many of the world’s major economies.

Thriving in spite of severe market conditions

In spite of, and as a direct result of the current global instability, asset prices on the world’s financial markets tend to fluctuate widely from day to day. This, therefore, begs the following question: “How do you invest in financial options without being affected by the current market volatility and uncertainty?” Here are a few tips which are designed to help you survive under the challenging market conditions:

Determine your risk profile

I believe that you will have to move out of your comfort zone to realize significant financial gains. What is your risk profile, or how much are you prepared to risk to increase your wealth? It’s important to know where your boundaries are so that you do not step out of them; consequently losing your entire investment. What happens when other traders start jumping ship because the risk is too high for them? Are you prepared to hang in there, or are their valid reasons for getting out of the market? It is vital that you have the answers to these questions before you start trading in financial options; otherwise, the best investment strategy can turn into your worst nightmare if you don’t see it through.

Stick to your investment strategy

It is equally important that you choose a trading strategy and stick to it. If you change your mind halfway through a trade, you run the risk of losing your investment. Trading strategies are mostly determined by the current market conditions as well as your reasons for trading in binary options. Both short-term and long-term trading strategies tend to suit market volatility. If you embark on a short-term investment strategy, you will open and close your position within a single day. Some trades can last for a couple of seconds right up to 1 day. The important point to note is that you need to open and close your position within a single trading day.

On the other hand, the premise for employing a long-term trading strategy is that market prices increase over a period. You are not bothered by the day-to-day noise in the market.

Research the underlying asset price movements thoroughly

It is important to research the price movements of an underlying asset before you choose to place a trade on it. You need to look at statistical data showing how the price has fluctuated in the past, and you need to look at predictive models to determine how the price will more than likely move in the future. Added to this research, you need to consider the current geopolitical and socio-economic events. Once you have looked at as much information as possible, I believe that you will be in a position to make a wise decision regarding your trading strategy and your investment amount for the particular trade.

Final thoughts

Increasing your wealth profile is not easy under the present harsh and unstable economic environment; however, I believe that it is possible to invest successfully and to thrive in spite of the global financial market volatility.

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The Rise of Cryptocurrencies Shows No Signs of Abating http://moneybulldog.co.uk/the-rise-of-cryptocurrencies-shows-no-signs-of-abating/ http://moneybulldog.co.uk/the-rise-of-cryptocurrencies-shows-no-signs-of-abating/#comments Fri, 24 Mar 2017 02:21:40 +0000 http://moneybulldog.co.uk/?p=16720 Cryptocurrencies have been a subject of hot debate in the investing world for years now, as many investors have been looking on with eager anticipation to see if currencies like Bitcoin will stand the test of time or crash and burn. Since its release in 2009, however, Bitcoin has continued to defy the odds and

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Cryptocurrencies have been a subject of hot debate in the investing world for years now, as many investors have been looking on with eager anticipation to see if currencies like Bitcoin will stand the test of time or crash and burn. Since its release in 2009, however, Bitcoin has continued to defy the odds and bounced back time and again despite the various setbacks it has faced.

Even now, despite a recent decision by the SEC to reject an application to list what would have seen the first ever Bitcoin ETF, the currency is still holding firm around the $1000 dollar mark and this really does beg the question, if Bitcoin can survive and perhaps even thrive going forward despite decisions like these, then does the currency hold more weight than some of its doubters have given it credit for?

One big and well-known advocate of Bitcoin is the eToro social trader jaynemesis. Jay has made quite a name for himself on the trading site, which allows users to copy the trades of other successful traders on the platform in the hope of achieving the same levels of success. While Jay admits that his bullish stance on Bitcoin might have led to some temporary losses for those investors who have copied his trades, he still feels that Bitcoin – as well as other cryptocurrencies like it such as Ethereum – could still have some way to go on the upside and, as a result, he is still feeling bullish. Here is a recent statement he made on the issue:

“Despite denial I remain bullish on Bitcoin. The COIN ETF was the first of many, and although the commission voted against it on this occasion there are several more ETF’s ready to learn from this. It’s clear that over the last few weeks we’ve seen the price rally expecting a thumbs up, so this sharp drop will hurt a lot of investors my eToro copiers included, but in the long term the bull trend is likely to continue, the appeal of Bitcoin to countries facing high inflation, currency controls and corruption is only growing, as is the infrastructure surrounding the currency. Anything under $1000 per coin can be considered a discount and I’ll be using this opportunity to take up some long positions.”

So, with Bitcoin more than doubling in value within the past 12 months even despite the recent SEC decision, one has to wonder whether the currency is destined to defy even its most staunch of critics. The recent trials the currency has faced certainly show that it has a certain degree of bouncebackability, and with two more Bitcoin ETF applications still in the pipeline for a verdict from the SEC, if the regulatory concerns surrounding the cryptocurrency can be resolved, then it may not be all that long before we do finally see the world’s first Bitcoin ETF enter the market.

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Win £5000 with Zurich’s #shareyourgoal Competition! http://moneybulldog.co.uk/win-5000-with-zurichs-shareyourgoal-competition/ http://moneybulldog.co.uk/win-5000-with-zurichs-shareyourgoal-competition/#comments Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:00:11 +0000 http://moneybulldog.co.uk/?p=16711 Have you ever heard the saying “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”? I’m sure you have. This basic principle highlights the importance of setting specific plans or goals in life. Without a plan or goal, many people would simply drift through life, letting life control them rather than them controlling it!

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Have you ever heard the saying “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”? I’m sure you have. This basic principle highlights the importance of setting specific plans or goals in life. Without a plan or goal, many people would simply drift through life, letting life control them rather than them controlling it!

With this in mind, the well-known financial firm Zurich have just launched a new social media competition known as #shareyourgoal and it is rewarding four winners with £5,000 to put towards their life goal, a bespoke life-goal experience and a financial assessment. The underlying message of the campaign is that it is not just the setting of goals or the preparing of plans that will guarantee success, but also the sharing of those goals and plans with those who are closest to us, such as our partner, family and close friends.

The idea is that when we share our goals with others we automatically give them more weight, take them more seriously and as a result, we will be much more likely to achieve them. Could this really work? Let’s consider an example.

Let’s say that you set a personal goal to pass your driving test within a year, but you never tell anyone about it. The months pass by and although you really want to achieve this goal, at the end of the day your lack of motivation wins out and you fail to achieve it. What, though, if you had shared your goal with friends and family or on social media? Would the constant stream of people asking you if you have passed your test yet make you more likely to achieve it? Surely it would!

What about our financial goals? Could we set a goal to be able to retire by the age of 50, for example? Have enough money to travel during retirement? Or, perhaps we could set the goal of being able to pay for a house deposit or first car for our children or even our grandchildren? If we also share these goals with the people closest to us then – like the driving test example we mentioned earlier – it should give us that extra motivation and positive peer pressure to actually achieve them!

Recent research conducted by Zurich found that those who set goals for when they are aged 65 or over save 7.25% of their salary into their pension, compared to just 5.36% for those who didn’t set the same kind of goals. That’s a big difference when you consider how these savings could build up and compound over a period of around half a century!

So, if you want to enter the Zurich competition to kickstart your savings by £5000 then don’t forget, the specifics of the competition are as follows:

  • Zurich’s #shareyourgoal social media competition will reward four winners with £5,000 to put towards their life goal, a bespoke life-goal experience and a financial assessment.
  • To enter you must share a description, photo, or video of your life goal. Remember to use the hashtag #shareyourgoal as part of your post or tweet @ZurichFutureYou, or your comment on the Zurich Facebook page.
  • All competition winners will be announced by April 17th. Full competition terms and conditions are available on the Zurich website.

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What to consider when deciding which property to invest in http://moneybulldog.co.uk/what-to-consider-when-deciding-which-property-to-invest-in/ http://moneybulldog.co.uk/what-to-consider-when-deciding-which-property-to-invest-in/#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 11:37:02 +0000 http://moneybulldog.co.uk/?p=16705 The money-savvy who want to branch out from stocks and bonds may be thinking about investing in property. A lot of people are attracted to this way of investing as they believe it involves nothing but buying a home, renovating it and quickly selling it on or renting it out for a profit but realistically,

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The money-savvy who want to branch out from stocks and bonds may be thinking about investing in property. A lot of people are attracted to this way of investing as they believe it involves nothing but buying a home, renovating it and quickly selling it on or renting it out for a profit but realistically, there is a lot more to it than just that. Factors like choosing the right property, finding the right tenants and keeping up with maintenance all take money, time and commitment. Here are a few things to consider before you dip your toe into the property investment pool.

Where do I want to invest in a property?

The first thing you need to consider once you’re set on investing in a property is where exactly to do so. It may be that you wish to invest in a property abroad to use as a second home during certain times and to rent it out to holidaymakers during the rest of the year. If this is the case, you’ll need to think about applying for a mortgage abroad and the pros and cons of this. Spreading your wings overseas can sometimes seem like a more affordable option to the UK housing market, but you need to think about your foreign property investment a lot more carefully than you would if you were staying put. The foreign property dream can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t consider things such as currency conversion and differences in legal issues from country to country. Whether at home or abroad, you will need to be aware of the number of listings and vacancies that are currently available near your new property. High vacancy rates can sometimes lead landlords to lower rent to gain tenants whereas low vacancy rates allow them to raise the rent. Another thing to consider regarding the area is the potential for future development that may occur there. The local planning department should be able to provide you with information on confirmed development plans for the vicinity. The construction of a new shopping centre, for example, may indicate a good area of growth, something that can only mean an opportunity for more sought after properties and thus, higher rent.

What do you want to use the property for?

Is it your intention to buy an investment property to have an available second home or do you want a property that will yield a yearly profit through renting? Deciding this before you buy will stand you in good stead for finding a property to fit the purpose. In regards to the latter, a lot of property investors tend to go for a property that they know will yield the most income from year to year. These tend to be larger properties that prospective landlords can make into a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) whereby a number of tenants under the same roof have separate contracts. On the other hand, you should never invest in a second home and rely on it solely for most of the year to cover repayments. The market for holiday let properties is already saturated so you may not be able to maintain a consistent tenancy.

Do I have the time and commitment to invest in a property?

A lot of people underestimate exactly how much time and effort it takes to invest in a property. From start to finish, you’ll have to make sure that you are willing to dedicate a lot of your spare time into the refurbishment, maintenance and long-term upkeep of the property whether you’re renting it out to others or keeping it as a second home. Those looking to make property investment a full-time opportunity should map out a business plan and a detailed budget. A high level of organisation at the beginning of the process will help you identify both the long and short-term implications. Follow your business plan as closely as possible but always be willing to adapt if certain issues arise.

How much money will investing in a property cost?

Obviously, the amount of money you’re willing to invest differs from person to person, and those seeking larger properties or properties in a sought-after location are bound to pay a lot more. It’s not only the cost of the property and the mortgage that you need to consider, however. You will encounter a number of buying and selling costs such as estate agent and surveyor fees, stamp duty, land tax and solicitor’s fees which ultimately all add up and may see you out of pocket in the short-term. Those willing to make the investment will begin to see the fruit of their labour over the course of time, especially if they decide to rent a property in areas with a high demand for property such as Leeds and Manchester. A buy-to-let in Manchester, for example, could give you a very high rental yield, particularly because the city is currently receiving a lot of infrastructure development.

It doesn’t matter whether you decided to invest in a property in the UK or overseas, there will always be a lot of factors to take into consideration. When you find the ideal investment property, make sure to keep your expectations realistic, and your finances accounted for so that you know you’ll be covered if anything goes wrong. Sometimes waiting for a rental property to yield a profit can seem like it takes forever, but the key is to remain calm and keep your eye on the ball. Investing in property does not start with buying another home, it starts with a solid and detailed plan that you can stick to and begin to feel the benefit of your investment whether that comes in the form of money or relaxation.

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