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Archive for April, 2009

How to live on less!!

Review! Review! Review!

A lot of businesses today are reviewing their business model to survive this downturn we are experiencing. One thing that a business can control somewhat is their costs.

Households should also adopt this approach also. On one hand you have your income (call it profit) and on the other hand you have your costs (expenses). Take one from the other and hopefully this is positive. If it is negative you are living beyond your means and you need to change immediately.

You need to cut your costs. Here are some tips to save money.

  • Complete an overall health check and then revise your budget.
  • Cut back on little luxuries until you get bank on track.
  • If you have a debit balance on your credit card, clear it. Look to switch providers and get a 0% rate for 6 months, use the six months to clear your debt. If at the end of the 6 months your debt is not cleared look at taking out a personal loan. The interest rate on a personal loan tends to be less than the interest you are paying on your credit card.
  • Make sure that you are claiming all tax allowances. Eg. Claim your allowance on refuse charges. If you are paying a pension which is not deducted at source through your wages make sure you claim the relief available on what you are paying.
  • Shop around for savings on your car insurance, your house insurance, weekly groceries etc.
  • People are switching their electricity supply from the ESB to Airtricity (www.airtricity.com) or even to Board Gas Energy (www.thebigswitch.ie) who say that they will save you a min of 10% on your electricity. Check it out.

If you can save a little each month, do so and start an emergency fund for the next rainy day.

If when you do the health check and you have excess income over household costs, make a conscious decision to make this money work harder for you. Do not assume that your bank is doing the best for you; it is always good to shop around!!

On a business front and as a result of a review we were able to save a client €17,000 on a life assurance policy that he had with his bank. Now who was the bank looking after?

Some good savings and protection ideas!!

Turn those monthly savings into worthwhile plans and investments!!

Mortgage rates have reduced significantly since last October. As a result clients have come to us to see what should be done with these savings.

For those of you who are paying a mortgage and are currently on a variable rate, you should be around €245 per month better off now than last October.*

*based on a mortgage of €200,000 over 25 years at a rate of 2.75% now and 5% last October

Here are some useful ideas to make you and your family more financially astute and protected.

· If you are married and you now have a family of your own, take out that extra bit of Life Assurance that you have put to the back of your mind. You know that it is the right thing to do.

o A dual life level term policy for €500,000 over 25 years would cost as little as €76.98 per month.* Life assurance is not expensive, living without it could be!

* based on New Ireland’s level term contract for male 35 next birthday and female 35 nb both non smokers.

· Protect your biggest asset – your income! You may have looked at this cover when taking out the mortgage but that’s all you did.

o To cover income of €400 per week it would cost €52.76 per month. * Tax relief is available against this premium.

* based on male 33 nb non smoker and on Friends First guaranteed product deferred for 26 weeks. Occupation class 2 has been used in this illustration

· Start a savings plan now to ensure that when your children decide that they want to go to college you do not need to re-mortgage to cover this cost.

o A savings plan starting with a monthly premium of €150 would amount to apx €41,600 after 15 years assuming 6% annualised growth.*

* based on Eagle Star’s Savings Plus contract

· Start your pension. You are already paying someone else’s pension through the PAYE and PRSI that you pay each week or month. Now do something about your own. Remember for every Euro you save in a pension you will receive tax relief of either 20% or 41% and PRSI relief up to 6%.

o Based on a contribution of €200 per month you could expect to have a retirement fund of circa €227,300 based on a male 35 nb retiring at age 65.*

* Figures based on Hibernian’s Standard PRSA product and 6% annualised growth.

· Start your own AVC plan to boost retirement benefits and save on the amount of tax and PRSI you are currently paying!

· Pay extra off your mortgage and extra €100 per month could mean a reduction of 4 years off the term of your loan.

We would be delighted to sit down to discuss your financial needs and circumstances to devise the best suited plans for you and your family. Please contact Ken O’Neill QFA (Qualified Financial Advisor) on 071 9159222 to make an appointment.

The Most important blog to read for you and your family!

The Importance of Life Assurance

Many people dismiss life cover as an expensive waste of money without thinking about what would actually happen if they were to die unexpectedly.

For a single person, the response is probably not a lot, but for someone in a relationship with a spouse or partner, especially with children, the consequences of losing the main income earner in a household unexpectedly are dreadful.

To help you think about whether you need life insurance, have a think about the following questions and whether you need cover or to review any existing policies:

· How would you and your family survive financially if you were suddenly unable to work due to sickness or injury?

· How would your family cope financially if you are the main income earner and died unexpectedly?

· Do you have family or children that are financially dependent on you?

· If you have a job, how much sick pay would you receive and for how long?

· If your employer offers ‘death in service’ cover, how much would they pay your family and would the money allow them to pay the bills?

· If you have life insurance, have your financial circumstances changed and do you still have enough cover?

Most people are too busy struggling to live day-to-day to worry about what might happen if their partner died and left them with a mortgage and bills but little income.

Lots of people are surprised to find that life insurance does not cost as much as they feared – especially if they are starting out with buying a house and a family in their twenties.

A life cover package to cover all situations above can quite easily be tailored for most people.

This would include:

· Mortgage insurance cover that decreases year-on-year in line with the mortgage and pays off the outstanding balance if you or your partner dies.

· Critical illness cover pays out if you suffer one of several major illnesses or if you are unable to work due to sickness or disability.

If you already have life insurance, then review your cover and make sure that what you have covers all eventualities.

If you do not have any life insurance, sit down and tot up your debts – like your mortgage, loans or credit – and try and work out how much your family would need to live comfortably each month if these debts were paid.

Then you need to work out how long they need the money for and whether to consider any other eventualities like sending a child through university.

The amount of money you may leave your partner to raise on their own could be quite staggering, especially if you have young children.

The good news is effective life cover is available to help your loved ones through these difficulties. Call Ken O’Neill QFA (qualified financial advisor) today on 071 9159222 to make an appointment to review your existing plans – worst case we might even save you some money.

Sligo Property – A site full of potential from DNG Flanagan Ford

DNG Flanagan Ford are delighted to bring this rare opportunity to the market. This spectacular half acre site enjoys wonderful views across Lough Gill. Situated only 4.5 miles ( less than 8 kms) from Sligo city centre in a very picturesque part of Sligo, this site offers an excellent unrivalled opportunity to a suitable applicant to achieve planning permission for their dream home.

The site is being sold subject to planning permission & we are recommending that those wishing to tender for this site consult with the planners prior to submitting their sealed bid. The owners have not applied for planning permission themselves on this site & there are other one off houses in the area. Clogherevagh is home to the world-renowned St Angelas College & is one of Sligos most popular locations for one off houses due to both its convenience to Sligo city centre & also the spectacular south facing views which many of the properties enjoy.

We are seeking sealed bids to be submitted to our offices no later than 5pm on Friday 24th April 2009. The winning bidder will be required to sign contracts subject to receiving full planning permission on this site within 4 weeks of their sealed bid being accepted. Contact Sole Selling Agent Shane Flanagan of DNG Flanagan Ford on 071 9159222, 087 2461062, shane@dngflanaganford.ie for further details.