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Here is some food for thought...


"Rich people have small TV's and big libraries, whilst poor people have small libraries and big TVs."

--Zig Ziglar

This quote is simple, yet oh so powerful...

I'm not going to pretend I'm a perfect human being who has it all figured out. I love some of the finer things in life and that's okay! Being money savvy isn't about being cheap, it's about utilising your cash efficiently and effectively for your given goal. However, one thing I don't promote is playing the game of Keeping Up With The Joneses. 

This quote tells me a few things...

1. Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. Bill Gates says reading 50 books a year gives him an edge. Apparently he loves non-fiction books which digs into detail about how the world works. I don't suggest you try and set a target of 50 books a year, I don't even suggest setting a target of 10 books a year! What I do suggest is starting now with one book that you believe will increase your personal growth by 10x. I'm currently tucking into Gabby Bernstein's latest book called 'Judgement Detox'...it's amazing! 

2. The big TV will impress those around you (for a good 60 seconds), however, if you're using every last penny you have and maxing our your credit card just to impress Stuart and Ella down the road...think again!
As always,
Your Money Coach

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Here's the funny thing...


"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

--Thomas Edison

Often, we believe we can't achieve something because the market is 'overcrowded' or self-doubt begins to creep into our minds. 'Why us?" or "What do I have to give that's so special!?"

Here's what I believe...there isn't many people out there trying to do what you want to do. Why? Most people love the thought of starting their own business, or going for their dream job, or simply living life on their terms...however, very rarely do people act on these so called 'fantasies'. You my friend are not 'one of those people'.

Remember: There's a difference between a passing thought and a strategic vision! 

Here's a weird way to think about. Think about when you enter a nightclub and you see an extremely attractive person. They're a real 10/10! You don't approach them as you believe 'they probably get this all the time'. Here's whats funny...this person doesn't get approached as much as you think because EVERYBODY HAS THE SAME THOUGHT PROCESS.

See where I'm going with it? The market isn't as overcrowded as you believe and don't underestimate what value you can offer to any person or business. Whatever your goal/dream, what have you got to lose?
As always,
Your Money Coach!

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Transformational Tuesday is here!


"A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart."

-- Jonathan Swift


This is a lovely quote from our friend Jon. Having worked on a trading floor for several years, it seems quite fitting! 

P.s. you don't have to have worked in Finance to feel like you can resonate with this quote. After a certain monetary threshold, it's all about how you view money and whether it becomes a part of who you are. Meaning...

When more money is a ‘must’ and more money takes over our identity (who we are and our values), that’s when it becomes problematic. The pursuit of wealth can be endless and often we sacrifice our health along with those closest to us just for an inflated bank balance (and ego!)

Now I get it, money is like oxygen...we need it to survive! However, i'm not talking about affording the basic needs and wants, I'm talking about excess.

**Disclaimer** - It's okay to have a taste for some of the finer things in life - I know i do!

What I'm saying is, being wealthy isn't just about the money...
As always,
Your Money Coach x

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So many of us shy away from taking a look at our latest credit report. Why? The thought of uncovering the skeletons in our closet scares us! Very similar to the feeling that I used to get during parents evening when I was at school haha!

If I told you that you could get paid to check your file, would this change your mind? Now your interested ehhh!

Here’s my opinion on a few things before I give you the juice... 

  1. We should check our credit report AT LEAST once a year
  2. Many providers offer freebies, so the excuse of 'it costs too much' doesn't exist!
  3. It can be a great way to check if you’re an identity theft victim. For example, if you find names that you don’t recall or see accounts that aren’t yours…
  4. Your overall credit score is crucial part of your financial health. It’s like getting on the scales and seeing how much you weigh - if you don't do this you don't know where you stand, what you're working with and how to set goals.
  5. Contrary to many people’s beliefs….checking your own credit report doesn’t actually impact your credit rating. Each check of your credit report creates something called a ‘search footprint’, however, the physical footprint left by actual credit applications are the only ones which lenders can see and can be used to calculate credit scores. Ya get me?

So, here’s the juice:

Whenever you apply for credit, a lender will want to do their due diligence on you. This can be anything from a car loan, a mortgage to a mobile phone contract. They will ring up their pals at a credit reference agency for information about your credit history. This helps them make a decision as to whether they should lend to you.

The UK has 3 main credit reference agencies.

  1. Equifax
  2. Experian
  3. Callcredit

The savvy way to get cash back for checking your file is by signing up via a ‘cash back website’.

For example, check one of these bad boys out:

  1. Topcashback.co.uk
  2. Quidco.com

These guys will pay you a specific amount when you click through via their site. For example, Quidco are offering up to £4 cash back if you select Equifax. Click through the cashback site's above to get more info!

The catch: Many agencies offer a FREE credit report, however, they begin to charge you after your free trial has ended. So, don’t forget to cancel your free trial once you've put it to good use, otherwise it will erase any gains. 

Hint: Many people have complained about problems of actually receiving their cashback bonus. This can be for several reasons such as tracking issues. Therefore, don’t class is as ‘guaranteed money’. Clearing your cookies before you purchase has been known to help alleviate some of these issues. Finally, don’t store the cashback on the site and believe it’s safe there. Once you have hit your threshold to withdraw your rewards, do so, as you are otherwise missing out on interest and can lose the cash if the company goes bust!

The punchline: This is a key step to giving yourself a money makeover. Most people leave it out and believe they will deal with it once they apply for a loan or a mortgage, however, by then...it could be too late!

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The title of this post seems pretty self-explanatory, right? Let's get straight to it!

1. Play the classic game of Keeping Up With The Joneses

Here’s the thing, in a world where we judge each other by our highlight reel posted on Instagram or Facebook, millennials are dealing with a very different social environment vs our parents. Social media depression is becoming a serious thing! 

Last year a study conducted by the The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that those who checked social media more frequently throughout the week were 2.7x more likely to develop depression. The 1,787 US participants were browsing through social media apps for around 61 mins a day, with a quarter of them showing signs of depression.

Here's the thing, going cold turkey on Snapchat isn't the answer - it's not about quitting social media altogether, it's about developing self-awareness on how it makes you feel and the associated opportunity cost. For example, a dog video that makes you feel great….fantastic! However, if you are judging your own growth and achievements because of a picture you saw on Instagram of your ex-colleague and his Ferrari...think again.  Feeling inadequate isn't great, however, the opportunity cost associated with this unnecessary noise is a slowdown in your own personal growth.

Now, you could take that credit card of yours and attempt to play catch-up with these ambivalent friends, however, it's one viscous circle my friend. Confused by the concept of having an ambivalent friend? Click here to read an AWESOME article from UK Business Insider on who these types of people are and how they can drain you in more ways than one. 

In reality, true friends don’t care about what you do and what you have, they care about who you are...

2. Don't give yourself a money makeover

Every personal trainer will emphasise the importance of your 'core strength' when trying to operate at the highest level. The same goes for your finances! In order to grow your money efficiently and effectively in 2018, you need to have a solid foundation. You can save hundreds of pounds by doing things like changing your current account provider, switching energy supplier, reducing the APR on your credit card, cutting the 2nd gym membership you never use, setting daily spending targets and much more. It's all about trimming the fat without sacrificing the things you LOVE! 

If you want to book a FREE 60-minute money makeover then click here to get the ball rolling. What will I do? I'll help you understand where to trim the fat, reveal your deepest and darkest money habits and build you a tailored strategy for success. If you're serious about making change this year and want to feel good when it comes to checking your bank balance....you know who to call!

3. Don't automating your monthly saving…

So, your paycheck hits your bank account and you promised yourself you will save at least 10% of your salary this month. However, here's the problem - you forgot how big your credit card bill is and you still need to buy Natalie a nice birthday present. It comes to the end of the month and your parents have to wash your clothes, as you can't afford detergent, and you've eaten Tuna every evening for the past 5 days.

By automating your savings strategy, you have clarity over your guilt-free spending and can allocate cash to your different savings goals without lifting a finger. What do I mean?

Save the date for 3 days after you get paid - This is when a standing order will take no less than 5% of your monthly salary and allocate it towards your Ibiza holiday and Lifetime ISA...or whatever your savings goals are. This is a simple low-touch savings strategy, where after an initial setup, the rest works as easy as 1,2, 3.  

Which savings account should you pick for your hard earned cash? Which one pays the highest interest rate? You could paralyse yourself into taking no action with these questions, so my advice is pretty simple - if you don’t act now you will never get started. As long as the savings account pays more than 0%….pick one and move on (for the time being). Yes it will get eroded by inflation, yes it's not savvy in the long-run. However, as soon as the cash begins to build, you will automatically become conscious about how to maximise your savings best!

4. Be a sheep and follow the money

This a classic topic when it comes to our 9-5. The longer you feel unfulfilled in a job you chose purely for the salary, the larger the money trap becomes. Let me explain in a video...

What's the number one tip on landing your DREAM job? - YouTube

5. Don't track your daily spend

The world's greatest entrepreneurs also think and behave like top performing athletes. They don't simply have a vision and hope for the best - they have an in-depth strategy which is executed on effectively every single day. They not only understand what they'll be doing for the next week, but also for the next hour. This is how we should think about our money...except without the hard work!

I was conducting a millennial money seminar last year and not one person in the room said they track their monthly expenditure, let alone what they spend on a daily basis. This was actually quite shocking - there are so many personal finance startups building businesses around millennials and their money management habits!

Here's the thing, we often forget/don't believe that money isn’t just an economic issue, it’s a psychological one. Remember that time your boss was giving you a hard time for reason? You decided to go for a cigarette break and 'accidentally' ordered that top from Asos as you were scrolling through your smartphone. Not only did it cost you £32.99, but it only spiked your happiness levels momentarily...how annoying!

What’s funny is, we like to forget these emotional purchases as quickly as possible. Why? Because they make us feel guilty! Before you know it, you've dipped into the red and you just can't figure out why you're living paycheck to paycheck. You might have a Fitbit to track your physical health, so why not use one of these apps to keep on top of your financial health in 2018? 

1. Monzo

2. Plum Savings

3. Money Dashboard

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You’re miserable, frustrated and can’t stop ruminating about the million pound question, "Is there more to life than my life sucking corporate job!?”

If you had it your way, you would quit today (or so you say). You’ve even plucked up the courage to pick the exact date of when you'll be popping champagne and telling your boss you are done...for good! Unfortunately, as the days go by and your bravery withers, that date gets pushed further into the future. It’s "not the right time" you tell yourself. Maybe you want to delay your departure as you want to save for that trip to Ibiza next year. Simultaneously you convince yourself that this holiday will give you some breathing space and the perspective you need. The translation? You hope the holiday is going to make you miss the job you once described as your ‘dream role’ and that you will come back with the passion, motivation and intention that once lived inside of you. Here’s the thing….you've been down this road before. You found that the motivation lasts no more than 48-72 hours after your first day back, with  the passion and intention lasting up until that point where you clear your last un-read e-mail. 

What actually happens over the next 12 months (insert your own duration), is that you work hard enough to not get fired and get paid just the right amount of money to not quit. Can you resonate with this? Does this literally feel like I have described your life in a nutshell? Fear - this is what consumes the corporate victim in times like this, with feelings of unhappiness, anxiety and emptiness following suit.

This blog post is for those who fall into the below categories:

1. Hate their life sucking corporate job

2. Have been suppressing their passion and authentic self for as long as they know it

3. Want to turn their passion into a full-time gig, however, are struggling with this one excuse...

'I don't have enough savings to pursue my dreams'

Money is a double edged sword - it not only motivates us to follow our passion as we hope it can provide us with financial freedom one day, however, we also claim we can't pursue our dreams because we don't have enough savings to actually make that leap. 

This post is designed for the person who sits within all of the above categories. This post hasn't been written to help you find your passion or provide you with hints on knowing if you should leave your steady corporate gig. If you've got this far, you've already subconsciously made the big decision, however, are using the excuse of money to prolong the leap of faith. This post will eradicate that excuse.

Why would you listen to me? Well, I’ve been there, done that and worn the t-shirt. I’ve experienced the range of emotions before and after, whilst I have seen others who have suffered from something we call ‘debt overhang’. What does this mean? Economists normally use this phrase when they talk about big companies, however, when applied to you and me, it’s when we are completely paralysed by servicing our existing debt and obligations, that we simply cannot make effective decisions in our day to day life. What I am trying to get at here is, if you leave your job and haven’t put yourself in a financially secure position and are looking to give 100% to your dream…your dream will suffer. Your mind will be running wild about things such as making mortgage payments and paying this month's energy bill, resulting in high levels of procrastination and little in the form of execution. 

So, here is a 5 step system to give you the financial cushion you need to stop making BS excuses:

STEP 1 - HOW MUCH CASH DO I NEED TO PURSUE MY DREAMS?

The hardest thing to know is how much cash you will actually need to pursue your dreams. Why? Because you can’t put a date on this stuff. It could be 3 weeks, 9 months or even 4 years until you your passion is really converted into a money making business. 

So, here's the first step….you need to setup a savings account which is clearly defined as your ‘dream fund’. It doesn’t have to be the latest inflation beating savings account, for now it just has to be one that does the job. Why? Psychologically, you will not do anything if you spend hours comparing the highest interest earning accounts for you - at the moment, it's all about setting up automated systems that are quick and easy. Just ensure you can access that money at any point without charges or fees! 

What do you put into this dream fund? This savings account is where you stash away money for 6 MONTHS OF EXPENSES. Yes, really...6 months. Why 6 months you ask? This should give you a sufficient runway to feel zero financial burden when pursuing your dreams. Remember, you are in this for the long-term! Also, don’t see this as an emergency fund, this isn’t the cash you dip into when you get an unexpected parking ticket or when you decide to go for a cheeky night out. This is purely to fund all of the 'needs' in life for when you do make the leap - I'm talking utility bills, rent and food, not new running shoes, the latest iPhone or tickets to a Taylor Swift concert. Another way to think about it is your fixed costs every month. 

For example, if you earn £2,000 a month after tax and your fixed costs are £1,000 a month, then you need to find £6,000 for your 'dream fund'. That may seem like an impossible sum to reach, however, what you’re actually trying to say is, ‘I hate my job, I just want to leave now and think about the rest later’.

Have you setup your dream fund savings account? How much do you need to hold in your dream fund? 

STEP 2 - IMPLEMENT THIS TAX TIP TO GET MONEY FAST!

How do you achieve your dream fund goal….FAST? 

It’s actually easier than you think. I’m not talking about stopping your daily intake of Starbucks or  running to work instead of taking the train - that may work for some people, however, I have a feeling that you are sick of reading such generic advice. I'm talking about something bigger....way bigger!

Enforce a 30% ‘dream tax’ on yourself. Treat it just like a student loan or income tax. It’s there, it’s annoying and you can’t do anything about it. You don’t stop paying income tax do you? So why would stop paying your personally enforced dream tax? Why 30% you ask? This is the figure I used to ensure financial stability when I left my corporate gig. In reality, you can choose a figure lower or even higher than this. This tax does something beautiful to our mindset - it creates an automated savings strategy which is 100% hands-off. 

Let’s use an example - as per above, our friend needs £6,000 in cash for their dream fund and earns £2,000 a month after tax. So, what needs to be done?

Setup a standing order for your dream tax and ensure it's 2 days after your monthly payday. Why 2 days? This is simply to account for any mishaps or late payments. In this case, our friend would setup a standing order of £600 every month to hit their dream fund savings account.

Assuming this was the only money they were stashing away, it would take our friend 10 months for them to save enough money for their dream fund. I feel the anger raging inside of you, I feel like you wanted a quick fix or an instant solution. As I said, this is all about creating a system which works for the long-term. There may be many people who have quit their jobs with no savings and ended up doing just fine, albeit some hairy moments - however, that’s not what we are going for here. If you want that to be you….I suggest you stop reading now. 

STEP 3 - CONDUCT A MONEY MAKEOVER

£600 a month in this case is ALOT of money. That's why you now need to be more money savvy with your cash. One of the quickest ways to get an instant hit of cash is by giving yourself a money makeover.

Don't have time for one? Mmmmm, you're probably lying!According to research, we spend around 35 minutes a day just on Facebook, that's not even including the likes of Snapchat, Instagram or Youtube!? So, take time away from your smartphone and give yourself a financial overhaul. I want you to go old school and print out 3 months worth of bank statements and begin the forensic analysis.  Honestly, you will notice things which shock you. 'Damn, I never knew I was signed up to Amazon Prime!?' That's just the tip of the iceberg. 

Here are some of the questions you should be asking yourself (not in any order):

1. Am I spending more than I earn every single month? 

2. When was the last time I switched energy supplier?

2. Am I in the right council tax band?

3. How can I negotiate lower interest on my credit card debt? 

4. Why am I spending more on a Friday for example, vs a Monday?

5. Are my direct debits and standing orders scattered across the whole month?

6. Am I relying on my overdraft facility?

7. When was the last time I switched my bank account? Are there better ones out there for me which provide cash bonus's, insurance packages, cashback and other goodies?

8. How much am I actually saving each month? 

10. Why did I buy that lampshade for my room last month when I don't even use it....? 

From this moment on, you need to start tracking your expenses on a daily basis. Most people don't do this simply because they can't be bothered. There are so many apps out there which track your expenses in real-time, whether it's your current bank's mobile app or players like Monzo who are sweeping up the millennial space here in the UK, take your pick! You can even keep it old school and use an excel spreadsheet. It doesn't matter as long as you ensure consistency.

EXTRA:  Here is something I notices when I began tracking my daily expenditure - my level of emotional spending. Some people eat when they feel unhappy or unfulfilled, others spend money to fill that void. Remember, that new watch or boozy night out only boosts your happiness for a short period of time. In the end, at some point, we all revert back to our base level of happiness. We all know this, however, still indulge in the same behaviour with the hope of a different result. If you track your daily spend, you not only increase your self-awareness, but you also can create daily budgets for yourself. 

STEP 4 - DO THE UNEXPECTED

Once you are ever so close to saving enough enough cash for your 'dream fund', you quit your job...right? NOPE! What I actually want you to do is begin looking for another job, not quit the corporate gig and spend 18 hours a day working on your dream. As you may recall, your dream fund is to fund your basic needs. I am now going to tell you how to fund the basic wants! 

Your business isn’t going to take off overnight, you won't land a record deal in 3 days and your artwork may not get noticed by the world for the next few years! That's not pessimistic, it's realistic. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Most people think these big shot entrepreneurs have made it rich…quick. One thing that isn't glamourised by mainstream press is the actual work these people do beneath the surface.

What type of job should you get? It doesn't have to be connected to your passion and it can be in a completely unrelated profession. It can be full-time or part-time, it can be whatever you like.

All you need to care about is this new job giving you 2 things:

1. Enough income to fund your basic wants every single month

2. The ability to 'moonlight your business' - This term means working outside of office hours on your passion/business.

Let me address the elephant in the room, why not just stay at your current job? For those who still aren't with, think about it like this. Often, our minds have already left the corporate job before our physical self has actually taken the plunge. As a result, we begin to lose focus in our day to day. The value you bring to the table diminishes daily, because you are no longer invested in a long-term career at your company. Think I’m lying? Remember how keen you were in your first 3 months at your job. Arriving to work early every day, going beyond your client’s needs, attending networking drinks…you get the gist. However, the moment you asked yourself the question, ‘Is there more to life’….you immediately became lukewarm about the value you give to your current employer. Why should I give them 100% if I am going to leave at some point anyway? This attitude actually means you lose all of your bargaining chips when it comes to promotions, pay rises and much more...why? Because you have been coasting and adding little to no value since you began ‘waiting for the right time to leave’. A new job which acts as a facilitator to your ultimate goal is an amazing thing - it's the psychological game changer! Think of yourself as the budding actor who is working at a coffee shop to pay the bills and devote their time to their dreams of making it in hollywood. In this case, you also have 6 months of expenses covered!

As I said, this is all about educated risk. It’s not about leaving your job and hoping/wishing for the best. It’s about reducing your debt overhang. This is the common mistake many corporate victims make - they believe following your dreams means cutting out everything you love. That may work for some, however, you have been institutionalised and are used to the luxuries in life. as you have been on a stable corporate salary for the past few years. Here's the beauty, in this new gig, you don’t care if Jill you gets that promotion over you, because you’re focused on your goal. You don’t care about office politics, because you’re focused on your goal.

STEP 5 - INVEST IN YOURSELF

Invest in a gym membership or something which helps you feel active and healthy. So many people get confidence from playing sport a few times a week, others get it from lifting weights and some get it from doing yoga every morning. Here's the issue, many people lose their cool when they are focusing on their dreams, as they sacrifice their own physical and mental fitness. If you believe these things are irrelevant when following your dreams, you are incorrect. I would actually say it’s one of the most crucial inputs for your future success.

The benefits to exercising and the impact it can have on your state of mind is literally 10x. A journey to pursue your dreams is all about learning to be your authentic self. Remember, you have been lying to the world and keeping that passion locked inside of you for so many years...that is an amazing journey which has both it's ups and downs. Feeling mentally and physically fit is crucial. You wouldn't try and climb Mount Kilimanjaro with no tools or prior training, so why do it when changing your life path? 

When we accomplish a hard workout, we feel great, right? An even better feeling is when you lift weights that you have never lifted before, or run further or faster than ever before. It teaches you the lesson that barriers can be broken and you end up taking those lessons to other areas of your life. This tip doesn't have to break the bank, it's all about what's right for your and developing a system for YOU

Let's get ready to rumble

This is the moment you have been waiting for. It can be one of the most daunting experiences of your career, however, it's what you have been working towards. There is no system for this as everybody has different relationships with their team, bosses and superiors. My advice here is, don't burn any bridges. A good boss would support your decision and who knows, they could be a potential client for your new business venture one day!

Some food for thought...

1. Can't make the switch do a lower paid interim job with less prestige? The only thing holding you back is what other people will think of your career switch. You are concerned about the uneducated acquaintance from Instagram realising you left your corporate job to go work in an unrelated less prestigious field. You say to yourself, 'Imagine what my pals would say if I left my job as a lawyer to go and work for some random company on half the wage?" 

Don't expect to feel comfortable from the word go. When you hit the gym, you don’t look in the mirror 10 minutes later expecting a 6-pack and bulging biceps. It takes consistency to achieve that muscle. It’s the same when it comes to caring what others think about your vision, however, in this case…you are building emotional muscle. Would you rather be adored for being fake, or judged for being 100% your authentic self? 

2. You are a product of who you surround yourself by - spend more time with people who are on the same wavelength as you. We have all heard the thesis that we are a product of the 5 people we spend the most time with.

If you surround yourself by people who are not promoting or supporting your growth, you not only waste your time, but you also waste your money. Think about it, having a big night out with Amy this weekend because you both hate your jobs and want to drown your sorrows has just cost you £100. Furthermore, spending all evening going over similar ground and allowing the diffusion of more negativity in your mind isn't the journey you are now on. 

Think about it, having a big night out with Amy this weekend because you both hate your jobs and want to drown your sorrows has just cost you £100. Furthermore, spending all evening going over similar ground and allowing the diffusion of more negativity in your mind isn't the journey you are now on. 

3. Account for luxuries which you may take for granted. One of the amazing things about corporate gigs that we take for granted is the benefits we never use. You forget that on your journey to becoming a platinum selling rapper you will need to get to purchase health insurance - your corporate no longer covers that. Let's not forget the free beer trolley on a Friday, along with the critical illness cover or the pension contributions you may no longer receive. We often forget the little things - it hurts if you sprain your ankle in the gym, however, it hurts even more when you have to pay for the MRI scan out of your own pocket!!

4. Don't buy things you don't need, with money you don't have, to impress people you don't even like. Will Smith talks about this quote and i love it! Think about it like this, the more money you spend on trying to impress your buddies from Uni and show them you are still doing well....the less runway you give yourself for achieving your dreams.

Who cares if Jimmy has a new Rolex? Who cares if Gemma has the handbag you have been dreaming of for months? Going back to my point on the 'base level of happiness', we have already determined that your dreams are more important than the material things which you believe gives you status. 

In Summary...

Flying the nest from your corporate job and jumping straight into the process of pursuing your dreams can be tough. There are so many variables involved and it often isn't as easy as 1,2,3. There are so many assumptions in my above steps, however, I hope this article gives you the inspiration to develop and create your own system if the above doesn't suit you. The excuse we often tell ourself for not pursuing or calling is money. The reason why don't have enough cash to make the jump is because we aren't being our authentic self. The longer we play Keeping Up With The Joneses and the longer we let our careers determine our self-worth, the longer it takes for you to make that jump. Will you make that jump? Or will your future self kick you in the face for becoming the office dinosaur who has for the past 10 years said, '...next year will be the year I do it'.

 

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Xmas is coming...

Buying presents for your family, partner and friends can be an overwhelming process. If you are using a credit card to purchase gifts, what strategy are you using? 

3 reasons most of us use the plastic life saver: 

1. To spread the cost efficiently over a specific period of time
2. To earn rewards for our spending
3. To enjoy extra protection on the goods we have bought

What should you use?

  • 0% interest free credit cards - I am not a massive fan of funding your Xmas via plastic, as you can often find yourself paying off the debt until next Xmas...or the Xmas after that! But hey, for many of us there are limited alternatives, so I get it! The 0% interest free credit card is a fan favourite - these cards charge no interest on purchases for an initial period, which in the current market could be as long 31 months. 

The catch: Pay off the entire balance before the 0% period ends, otherwise your interest rate sky rockets and you will get charged on any remaining debt. Notably, some cards even offer a 0% balance transfer for a specified period of time. Take a look at the below cards to wet your appetite:

Sainsbury's Bank Purchase Credit Card
Halifax UK Purchase Credit Card
Post Office Matched Credit Card

Rewards you say?

  • If you don’t need to borrow money for Xmas and are sticking to your trusted debit card, this is amazing, however, you are missing out on some juicy rewards! Cashback credit cards reward you by giving you a percentage of your spend back onto your credit card. So, if you are spending £100's on gifts via your debit card, why not take a quick U-turn and use a cashback credit card to lighten the load and get an extra layer of consumer protection on your mum's new straighteners. What am I on about? Buying on credit can give you protection if your mum doesn’t like her straighteners, or if your dad's jumper doesn’t fit, compared with paying by cash or even debit card, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. 

The catch: The key is to pay back what you have borrowed at the end of the month. Many forget to do this and the interest charged demolishes any gain from the cashback. Here is one of my favourite cashback credit card at the moment. The below gives you 5% cashback and up to £100 for your first 3 months of card membership, with a £0 annual fee!!

American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card

Cash is not the only type of reward on offer, as you can even grab airmiles and vouchers with many other credit cards on the market. Always do your research and read the fine print!

WARNING: Always remember that credit applications are recorded on your credit report - it doesn't matter whether they are successful or not! My advice here is to use an eligibility calculator, as making too many applications in a short space of time can hurt your chances of getting a loan in the near future.

 

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Start dating more people...

I'm being serious, if you want to understand the concept of diversification....start dating more people!

DISCLAIMER: THIS TIP IS ONY FOR SINGLE INDIVIDUALS. MONEY SAVVY RAVI WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS...

In finance, diversification is the process of allocating your money in such a way that it reduces your exposure to any one particular investment.

Meaning....Don't put all of your eggs in one basket, otherwise you could get burned. 

Let's take Susie who has just met David. Susie is a smitten kitten and has decided to stop dating, seeing, speaking and even looking at other men because David could be....dare I say it...'the one'. By date number 3 her infatuation has hit an all time high and she has already begun looking at wedding venues during her lunch hour. However, all of a sudden.....David has gone silent. Our David has done a Harry Houdini and has disappeared into thin air. Consequentially, Susie is left heartbroken as her 'investment' has turned sour - she spent so much of her time and energy on David, that she left herself exposed in light of an emotional downturn. Imagine if Susie had Tom and Timmy waiting on the sidelines...

Don't be Susie and diversify your risk when investing your money...

Okay, fine fine fine.... i'm not promoting dating simultaneous people at once, however, you get my drift, right?

The punchline: So many people got hurt during the financial crisis because they did not spread their money across a range of investments which would react differently during times of economic stress. Diversification can save you pain and limits your exposure during times of distress... 

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Bad boy Hammond has announced his financial plans for the UK going forward into 2018.

Here are my 5 top ways the Autumn budget could affect your millennial purse strings…


1. The Millennial railcard

A new railcard for 26-30 year olds has been confirmed for 2018. The deal is 1/3rd off travel for the price of £30 a year! Here’s the catch, the discount is for MOST off-peak and advance tickets, however, it can’t be used on season tickets - which means it doesn’t provide relief to January 2018’s 3.6% price hike…eurgh….I know!

2. Electric and driverless cars

The UK will be setting out rules so that self-driving cars can be tested without a safety operator. £100 million will go towards helping people buy batter electric cards. What’s also cool here is that the government will also make sure all new homes are built with the right cables for electric car charge points - hello Tesla!

3. Mo money mo problems

This isn’t groundbreaking, however, we will have a little bit more disposable income every single month. The amount of £££ we can earn before we get a call from Tony The Taxman will rise from £11,500 to £11,850 - commencing in April 2018. This means £350 extra in tax-free cash every single year! Notably, the threshold at which you pay a higher rate of income tax will rise from £45,000 to £46,350. 

4. Booking your trip away anytime soon?

Dr. H has also announced some relief for short-haul air passengers, as duty rates will remain frozen. The long-haul rate for economy passengers shall be frozen, however, in Robin Hood style, the rates for premium economy, business and first class will increase by £16. The Telegraph have nicely coined this term the 'Lewis Hamilton tax', with private jet owners also experiencing a similar slap in the face! These changes will begin from April 2019, so chill homie…no need to panic just yet.

5. Say hello to your first home

Stamp duty will be abolished IMMEDIATELY for first-time buyers purchasing properties worth up to £300k. For Londoners, there is a bit more in it for you - The first £300k of any property UP TO a value of £500k will be exempt from stamp duty. The only cost incurred will be on the remaining £200k! Stats released by the BBC show around 95% of all first-time buyers will benefit, with around 80% actually paying ZERO stamp duty. More money left for furnishings and that flat screen tv your partner won’t let you buy for the bedroom! Am I a first-time buyer you ask? If you have owned a property or even part-owned one before…then NO YOU ARE NOT!


I think Hammond used the stamp duty trick simply to win over millennial voters. Daddy H really knows how to pluck on those heart strings! The government says young people will save £1,660 on average - this doesn’t set the world alight, whilst experts believe the move could prove counter-productive and actually increase house prices as a result - take that with a pinch of salt! 

The chancellor also announced that duty on most types of alcohol will be frozen. However, ‘cheap, high strength, low quality products’ such as white cider have not been given any sympathy!

Finally, something which hasn't been mentioned here is....the £2.8bn in emergency cash which has been made available for the NHS - notably, they can only tap into £350m of it this year. The NHS’s Simon Stevens demanded £4bn more, which goes back to what we are all thinking….is the above amount really enough? Nurses are also way overdue a pay rise, however, additional funding for this is based on outcome of further talks…so no real promise...eurrrgh!! Interestingly….not one mention of social care in his 7,704 word speech! 

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Imagine if you won the lottery? Most of us believe winning the lottery is the answer to ALL of our problems.

The story we tell ourselves over and over again is that money can turn our frown upside down...permanently! Now don't get it twisted, I'm all for making cash and achieving my own financial goals, however, I don't believe an abundance of money will create long-term happiness.  In this video I talk about something called our 'baseline level of happiness'. It's an amazing concept which can help you create more wealth in your life, simply through changing your mindset and how you view money. 

One of the key takeaways of this video is pretty simply - Buy memories, not things....

Can money increase our happiness? - YouTube
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