Claim Denied: How A DIY Disaster Can Impact Your Insurance

You take out insurance cover to cover against an unexpected loss and if your property is damaged in some way you might decide to make a claim to cover the cost of repairs.

The big problem is that if the damage is caused by a scenario that is not covered by your insurer or your DIY disaster means you fall foul of their rules, your claim could be denied and you will be left to pick up the bill.

Here is an overview of some of the circumstances that could cause an insurance claim to be denied, including some common mishaps that could leave you out of pocket, why you need to take building codes seriously, plus a reminder about a risk to your personal safety.

Check your coverage

Although you can’t say for sure that your insurer is going to say no to a claim for damage to your property because of a DIY faux-pas that needs putting right, the type of cover you have will definitely be an influential factor.

If you haven’t paid for full accidental damage cover there is a high chance that the insurer will take the view that you are at fault and will be unlikely to consider your request for financial assistance.

Using the right tools for the job, like these, will help improve your odds of doing the job properly in the first place but you also need to have a more comprehensive level of insurance if you want a better chance of getting your insurers help to put things right.

Staying on the right side of codes and laws

If you are carrying out certain repairs or renovations to your property, especially if you are working with electrics and plumbing, it is likely that you might need to get a permit for the work being done.

Permits and local safety laws are designed to protect the homeowner and whoever uses the property from harm by having minimum standards and requirements that need to be met when the work is carried out.

If you decide to do this type of work yourself you will not only be putting yourself and others at risk if the electrical or plumbing is not up to standard, you are also likely to be facing a hefty repair bill on your own if something subsequently goes wrong.

If your insurer discovers that an installation or repair doesn’t have a permit or hasn’t be carried out by an approved qualified contractor, they are very likely to dismiss your claim in a heartbeat.

Any home improvement project or DIY repair comes with a risk attached if you are not qualified to do the work, and another issue that is also worth pointing out is that if you don’t have the right protective gear and safety training, you could be putting yourself at risk of injury.

A DIY disaster can cause you a lot of problems and if you cut corners or don’t play by the rules, you might find that your insurer won’t offer the level of financial support you hoped for when making a claim.

2018 401(k) Contribution Limit Unveiled

Death and taxes.  The two things that most say are certain in life.  Well now at least when it comes to taxes you might be able to avoid some because of a recent decision by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The IRS recently came out with the guidelines for 2018 when it comes to tax-advantaged retirement accounts.  Although none of the changes were dramatic, they made a few tweaks that will allow individuals to boost retirement savings in certain tax friendly accounts.

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The 2018 401(k) contribution limit is being pushed slightly upward to $18,500 per year.  This is a $500 increase on what it used to be.  Individuals who are 50 and over can still save an additional $6,000 meaning some can contribute as much as $24,500 into a company 401(k) plan.  While an increase in the 2018 401(k) contribution limit came about for the upcoming year, other retirement plans such as IRA’s and Roth IRA’s remain unchanged.  You are still only able to contribute $5,500 per year to both traditional or Roth IRA.

IS CONTRIBUTING TO A 401(k) A GOOD IDEA?

The short answer is absolutely!  While not all companies offer 401(k) plans for employees, a lot do.  It is highly recommend that you put in at least the minimum amount required to get the full match your company offers.  Once you have done this, see if you can contribute a little bit more and further increase your retirement savings.  At my first job, I began contributing 6% which was what I needed to do to get the entirety of my company’s match; however, I began to increase it over time.  Get a 3% raise?  Try increasing your 401(k) contribution by 2%.  This was a simple and easy method I did each time I’d receive one, and the best part was I never missed the money at all.

IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE TO CONTRIBUTE $18,500 OR $24,500 TO A 401(k)?

Yes again.  Is it hard?  Sure it can be, but is it doable?  Absolutely.  How do I know it’s possible?  Because I myself max out my retirement account for my 401(k).  I never see the money.  It’s taken directly out of my paycheck, so I never miss out on spending it.  The recent increase of the 2018 401(k) contribution limit is something that I will take advantage of.  A small percentage bump can make a lasting impact during one’s retirement.

In closing, the increase of the 2018 401(k) contribution limit won’t have much of an impact on most people.  Very few actually max out their retirement accounts.  But if you’re like myself, then you welcome the news with open arms.  While 2018 saw an increase to the 401(k) contribution limit, 2019 has a very good chance to see an increase for contribution limits to both traditional and Roth IRA’s.  Only time will tell.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

An Alternative to Stocks – CFD’s Defined

A Contract for Difference, commonly known as CFD, is among a list of very popular ways to increase returns in the financial markets. Just as the name suggests, it’s a contract executed between two parties. These two counterparties – the broker and the client, agree to pay or receive from each other the difference between the shifts in the value of an asset. How much each pays or earns is entirely dependent on the direction the price takes and the extent it moves.

CFDs and Stocks Explained

In financial terms, CFDs are usually referred to as financial markets derivatives. When the value of something is derived from something else, it becomes a derivative. In this case, CFDs are derived from the value of another financial asset such as stocks or shares. Although there are other assets such as foreign exchange rates and interest rates, a large portion of CFDs are based on stocks.

Through a CFD, you can trade an underlying asset such as stocks without really buying it. You never own the asset. However, you’ll be making either profits or losses depending on the movement of the prices. When entering into a CFD, you’ll take a position of whether or not the stock will rise or fall within a certain amount of time. If you expect the stock to rise, you’ll create the CFD with a CFD broker, in addition to a small fee, and once your prediction turns out to be correct, you earn a profit.

For many people, a CFD can be an advantage as you never own the actual stock, which brings higher costs, yet you still benefit as the security rises in value. One of the ways stockbrokers earn money is by charging commission to investors for every buy and sell order. A CFD charges commission that’s usually within .25 to 5 percent of the security purchased. These prices are usually lower than what you would pay a broker to buy the actual stock.

Why do a CFD instead of buying stocks?

Extra leverage

When buying stocks, you’ll have to pay 100% of the total value at the time of making the purchase. But when you opt for a CFD you’ll only have to deposit with the broker enough money to cover up your potential losses. This is normally a small percentage based on the value of the asset in question. It could be as low as 2%. That actually implies less capital outlay for you as an investor yet greater potential of high returns.

The ability to trade after hours

Another benefit CFDs have is the ability to trade even after the markets have closed. There are CFD brokers that allow you to establish a contract after hours to make it more convenient. To limit losses, you would set a Stop Loss price that would automatically sell the CFD if the stock plunges the following day while at work. The implementation of proper risk management functions like this will allow you to stay on top of your account should things turn sour.

Easy trading options (Long or short)

As an investor, you can profit from a declining market by capitalizing on share price declines. Since CFD is based on the movement of prices of the underlying asset and no ownership is required, selling is pretty easy and so is buying. Initially, before CFDs came along, traditional brokers were the only ones who would help you if you short a share, and they would charge extra fees above the normal brokerage. Interestingly, for short CFD positions, a CFD broker will, in fact, pay your interest.

So to sum up, CFDs can be an interesting alternative to stocks. Looking at all these advantages, one can’t help but notice the many ways an investor can reap huge and enjoy a host of financial benefits using CFDs. Enlisting the services of a CFD broker can be more cost-effective than hiring a stockbroker.

Easiest Way to Become Landlord (From a Guy Who Knows)

Passive income is a term we hear about but might not truly understand.  What is passive income?  It’s the ability to generate a source of income where one is not directly involved.  One example can be dividends from stock and bond investments, but a more common passive income is rental income.

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Becoming a landlord and generating income might seem like a big task, but it can actually be done with a relatively simple process.  In the steps that follow, I will discuss the easiest way to become a landlord.  These steps are easy because I have done it, and it wasn’t very difficult.

Easiest Way to Become a Landlord (3 Steps)

Step 1:

The first step in becoming a landlord is to own a property, and thus purchasing one.  Right after school, I moved to a brand new city I had never lived in before.  I lived with an old friend for six months before I purchased my first home.  Whenever you begin thinking about purchasing a residence, always make sure you know the area.  For example, the home I purchased was near a local college and had many long-term residents as neighbors.  To complete this step requires a little bit of research, an understanding of the area you reside, and the ability to make the purchase.

Step 2:

Live in the place you purchase.  Many people get caught up in buying a rental property and renting it out immediately.  While this may work for some people, it can be a stressful situation.  You have to make sure the house is in livable condition, you have to market the place, then you have to meet potential tenants at the place throughout the week to show them the property.  All of this adds up and makes finding a tenant a long and complicated process.  By living in the place you purchase for say a year or two, you become comfortable with the property.  You won’t have to travel to show it to potential tenants, you can create your own date the property will become available, and you give yourself time to find another living situation while you look to create income.  I lived in my house for 18 months before I began renting it out.  The best part was that it was right at the beginning of summer which meant… No yard work! If you catch yourself needing to do some work around the house and you’re on a budget, you can get great vouchers and discounts online to save on these expenses.

Step 3:

Find a good tenant and pronounce yourself “Landlord”.  Although finding a good tenant isn’t always the easiest part, you can use your best judgement and various tools in order to ensure you are getting yourself into a good situation.  I made all of my applicants run a credit report on themselves and provide me with the results.  Bad credit can sometimes mean a bad tenant.  I also required the tenant to provide an additional month’s rent to ensure payments were never behind.

While there might be many easy ways to become a landlord, for me the easiest way to become a landlord was through the process I outlined above.  I have now been a landlord going on four years and having someone else pay my mortgage feels like quite the accomplishment.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

 

Don’t Let an Accident Jeopardize Your Stability: Why Income Protection Insurance is Essential to a Family Plan

Every year, millions of Americans find themselves out of work either due to prolonged illness or injury or because their employer has ceased trading. Unfortunately, without the gift of foresight it is just not possible to predict how events may conspire against you in the future but you can take some steps to give yourself maximum protection against all eventualities.

When a principal breadwinner loses their income, it can have a devastating ripple effect on the rest of the family. If the reasons behind your inability to work are medical, there are the additional expenses to factor in to your household budget which has already lost most of its income stream. Struggling to pay for expenses in this situation can lead to additional stress and even confrontation within the family.

What is Income Protection Insurance?

Income protection insurance is also known as permanent health insurance as it is in place over the long term to protect you should you be unable to work due to illness or injury. When you have an income protection policy you will continue to receive a regular income until such times as you are able to return to work or retirement, if that time comes first.

This kind of insurance also replaces part of your income if you have to reduce your working hours due to disability and basically provides solid financial support all the way through to retirement. Most illnesses that leave you unable to work are covered in these policies, whether short or long term conditions and you can make claims as many times as you need to while you hold the policy.

Do you need Income Protection Insurance?

Whether you choose to take out income protection should not be based on whether you have dependents or not, although naturally your family are of concern if you’re unable to work. Income protection is designed to give you a blanket of protection against serious illness so that you can continue to provide for yourself if you are unable to continue working.  If prolonged illness or injury would leave you in a situation where you could not afford to pay your bills, you need to consider it as an option.

For people who are self-employed and at risk of losing considerably more than their income if they should suffer from serious illness, income protection insurance is a must. Not being able to work when you are a sole trader is a more significant problem than if you work for a business organization and there could be some delay in getting government benefits to supplement your income in these situations. Income protection means that you are already set up to continue receiving an income from the moment you are unable to work and best protects you and your family from any financial shocks.

Why is Income Protection Important to My Family?

No matter how secure you are in your job or how confident you are of your financial future, it is impossible to clearly predict. Insurance is an affordable way of protecting against high risk situations such as the possibility of losing a principal income due to serious illness. A good family plan should include adequate support for all other members should one be incapacitated in any way so that the others aren’t disadvantaged. It is definitely worth further research and getting some competitive income protection quotes online.

Stephen Strasburg Net Worth

October is finally here, and for baseball fans around the country that means one thing… PLAYOFFS.  If your MLB team is lucky enough to make the postseason, then you are likely to be glued to the TV throughout the month rooting them on.  One of the teams who did make the playoffs is the Washington Nationals.  The Nationals have seen progress over the past few season and part of it is due to the stellar pitching of Stephen Strasburg.  Stephen has spent all seven of his professional years with the Nationals and is coming off back to back 15 win seasons.  Because of his success, Stephen Strasburg net worth tops out at $25 million.

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Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg

At 29 years old, Strasburg has secured his standing as a top pitcher in the MLB.  His professional career began in 2009 when the Nationals selected the pitcher as the first overall pick in the MLB draft.  His initial four year $15.1 million contract was the highest of any rookie ever to that point.  This initial contract helped to jump start Stephen Strasburg’s net worth.  After signing a number of one year contracts with the team, Stephen was finally rewarded a long term contract with the organization.  In May of 2016, Strasburg signed a seven year contract valued at $175 million.  The contract is designed in such a way that gives Strasburg a player option beginning in the 2020 season.  It also includes a performance bonus.  The bonus is based on the number of innings he pitches during the regular season.  If he exceeds 180.0 innings pitched, he is rewarded with a $1 million bonus.

In order to justify his new contract, Stephen went out and performed quite well during the 2016 season.  He posted a 15-4 record and an ERA of 3.60.  He followed it up with another stellar performance in 2017.  For this current baseball season, he has another 15-4 overall record but has lowered his ERA to just 2.52.  Since pitchers in the National League are required to bat, Strasburg even went so far as to hit two home runs during the 2017 season.  He also was able to secure his third All-Star appearance this season representing the National League.

Stephen Strasburg net worth is due in large part to his career earnings while playing baseball professionally.  To date, he has earned over $60 million in career earnings through the 2017 season.  Strasburg is not a super flashy and well known player like his teammate Bryce Harper.  Thus, he lacks a lot of the endorsement deals that come with big name players.

Strasburg is still quite young in terms of baseball’s longevity.  We expect Stephen Strasburg’s net worth to continue to increase over the next years quite substantially.  While his net worth sits at $25 million now, it can easily double in a few years time.

 

 

How To Get the Fire Burning In Your Relationship Again

If we don’t take deliberate action, our lives usually evolve into predictable routines. While predictability is good for stability, it is not good for ensuring that the spark in your relationship keeps glowing. 
If you are currently feeling strains in your relationship, you need to shake things up as fast as possible. Here are some ways to go about it.

Make Surprise the New Normal

Surprising your partner isn’t as hard as you think. People appreciate the small things in life as long as they know that they are coming from a place of love. Your partner knowing that you were thinking of them during the day can totally change the mood of your whole relationship.
Surprises can take the form of flirtatious texts, flowers, dinner, tickets to an event, a cool dress or tie, or anything that communicates to your partner that you love and care for them.

Learn How to Manage Stress

Almost everyone feels some form of stress on a daily basis. While a relationship is a partnership, one needs to appreciate that the partnership consists of two different people. The success of the relationship, therefore, depends on what each one of you brings to the table.
You cannot bring your best to the table when you are stressed out of your mind. As far as your relationship is concerned, look out for the following symptoms of stress:
  • You become easily irritated and start getting into unwarranted arguments
  • You start to have an unhealthy view of relationships in general
  • Your ability to communicate your feelings reduces as you can’t focus
  • You spend inordinate amounts of time distracting yourself with TV or social media
If you think your stress levels are unhealthy, you can talk with your partner about the situation so you start working yourself out of the rut. As with all things, being honest will get your further than you think. If your partner is the one who is stressed, encourage them to relax and give them the support they need to work through the problems they are facing.
Ultimately, you need to communicate to one another that you are still highly committed to one another and that this is a phase that will soon pass.

Remember Why You’re Together

One of the most important things couples can ask each other, and continue to ask throughout a relationship is what makes them compatible.
This question gets at the core of why you’re together in the first place. Think about this for awhile before you bring it up, and make sure you have some good things to say about the relationship or actionable steps to take it to the next level. 
Thinking about why you’re together will remind you why you’re together. Those feelings can come rushing back, and you’ll be stronger for considering them.

Sometimes All You Need Is an Escape

A change of scenery can do a lot to relieve most of the strains you are currently feeling. Traveling to an exotic destination gives you something akin to a fresh start. You also get to escape the physical reminders of the state your relationship is in at the moment.
Travel to a destination that will allow you to engage in a lot of fun activities with your partner. The more active you can be the better. One idea is heading to the Caribbean to get a bit of adventure and beach activities. Staying at an all-inclusive resort will also free you from tedious vacation plans as most of what you need will be included.
Just keep in mind that there are different kinds of all-inclusives. You want to go to one that is set up for couples, not a family all-inclusive. There’s a huge difference between the two. One is for romance, the other is for family bonding. 

Recommit to Romance

It is easier to act your way into feeling a certain way than to feel your way into acting a certain way. It’s a confusing sentence, but read it again, and let the message sink in.
In the same vein, when you constantly engage in romantic activities with your partner, your relationship will become even more romantic and the love you share with your partner will grow even stronger.
The easiest way to change the routine you’ve been in is to start initiating touch again. Touch is very powerful in a relationship. You don’t want to be so comfortable in your relationship that you start living as roommates. Besides love, the one thing that polishes a relationship and makes it shine is romance.
Studies have revealed that couples tend to reduce the amount of touching they engage in as their relationship matures. This is not the right way to go about it. Touching frequently and passionately increases the level of attraction you have for your partner, increases libido, and makes your body release feel-good endorphins that can strengthen the feelings of love you have for your partner. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Asking for help is probably one of the hardest things to do yet it might be one of the most important things you’ll ever do. We like to fancy ourselves independent but all of us need some shoulder to lean on from time to time.
While your partner may always be there for you, they cannot meet all your emotional needs. The same is true the other way round you cannot meet all your partner’s emotional needs.
Sharing your problems with other people besides your partner such as close friends, family members or a therapist will go a long way in helping you cope with the strains in your relationship.

Andrew Wiggins Net Worth

In today’s age, professional athletes are signing contracts that keep getting bigger and bigger.  In fact, contracts for players of the National Basketball Association are the largest of them all.  Recent negotiations between the players’ union and the association has allowed contracts to reach an all time high.  Andrew Wiggins is one of the players set to benefit from the recent contract negotiations.  The first overall draft pick in 2014 by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wiggins never played a game with the Cavs, but instead was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Since arriving in Minnesota, Wiggins has proved why he was the number one overall pick.  His first contract was four years for just shy of $25 million.  Because of this initial contract, Andrew Wiggins net worth sits at $20 million.

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NBA star Andrew Wiggins

Although he is just 22 years old, Wiggins net worth is much higher than almost anyone currently in their 20’s.  Despite only having earned just $17 million through his first three seasons on the court, Andrew Wiggins net worth sits much higher due to his endorsement deal he signed as a rookie with apparel company Adidas.  It was reported that Wiggins endorsement deal with the company pays him roughly $18 million a year.  Couple that with his on court performance, and it is easy to see why they were willing to pay the young star so much.

Wiggins has recently made national headlines for his peculiar way of handling what could be the biggest basketball contract of his young career.  He recently fired his agent, and he is reportedly not jumping at the opportunity to sign a max extension with the Timerwolves which is worth $148 million for five years.  That contract would pay Wiggins nearly $30 million per season and would place him among the basketball elite.  But is Andrew Wiggins worth this massive contract?  The answer is an astounding YES.  In just three years in the league, Wiggins is averaging over 20 points per game, and last season alone he averaged over 23 points in each contest.  He is a solid free throw shooter at 76% and made adjustments to his game to reach a 36% success rate on three point tries.

It was evident that Wiggins was a special talent early on.  In 2013 he was the Gatorade National Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball USA as a senior in high school.  He ended up signing with the Kansas Jayhawks where he played just one season averaging over 17 points per game during the season.  He eventually declared for the NBA draft where he was the first overall pick.  His NBA career got off to a stellar start and he was named the NBA Rookie of the Year along with being apart of the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Despite not being in any rush to sign his contract extension, Wiggins has expressed that he would like to remain with the Timberwolves in the future.  Although only time will tell, Wiggins with or without an agent is expected to sign an extension of some kind which will pay the young star a great deal of money.  Andrew Wiggins net worth will greatly increase over the coming years as he continues to earn money from not only his new expected extension but also his endorsement deal with Adidas.

Are Precious Metals a Good Investment for you?

Precious metals are undoubtedly one of the most popular commodities to trade, not least because of the strength they add to the average investment portfolio. There are, of course, many factors to consider before investing in them, so it is worth knowing how they behave on the market and when the best time to invest is. Here are some considerations on precious metals.

Market Behaviour

Often traded through brokers like LCG, precious metals (gold, silver and platinum) exhibit unique market behaviour, and are considered a fairly steady investment. Gold is often used to hedge a portfolio against investment risk.

Given that their core value doesn’t really decrease, they are seen as the go-to commodity in times of political and economic uncertainty. This is because other, more volatile assets (like currencies) become incredibly difficult to invest in due to their unpredictability, and thus their value can often decrease dramatically.

Current Performance

It is worth noting that the behaviour of each individual precious metal is often mirrored by the other precious metals, Silver’s market behaviour, for instance, is incredibly similar to gold’s. Precious metals have, by their standards, had a fairly volatile year, with the value of gold currently standing at around $1,338/oz (as of 06/09/2017), almost exactly the same value as it was a year ago.

This is up from $1,157 at the start of the year. It is likely that tensions between the US and North Korea have contributed towards this surge in value, and it could well be the case that gold’s value decreases if this eases off. Silver’s market behaviour has been much the same over the last year, so compared to earlier in the year these metals are now very expensive.

Are They a Good Investment?

Compared to their value five years ago, precious metals are trading are a fairly low price. That being said, it seems as though they could well be on the rise again after a significant period of geopolitical turmoil, so watching the market carefully is bound to be a good idea.

Silver and platinum also have fairly widespread industrial uses, so any surge in demand for them could well see their price rise sharply.

Precious metals will always be a good investment to hedge against risk, but currently they may be seen as overvalued/too expensive by buyers. Many may be looking to sell in the short term future to take advantage of their current value.

Relocating to Singapore: How to Manage your Finances

If you choose to relocate to Singapore from the UK, you are making a popular and increasingly sensible decision. After all, this is regarded as the easiest Asian city for UK ex-pats to adapt to, while it is also a safe and family-friendly location that delivers an exceptionally high standard of living.

Mercer’s cost of living survey regularly lists Singapore as one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world, entering the top five as recently as 2015. This means that you will need to plan your finances carefully when moving to Singapore, whether you are relocating for work or as part of ambitious retirement plans.

Managing Your Finances When Relocating to Singapore

So, here are some key tips to consider when relocating to Singapore, as you look to make a seamless financial transition to living abroad:

  1. Allow Time to Accumulate Savings

Let’s start with the basics, as the cost of living and purchasing property in Singapore is noticeably high. In fact, Morgan Stanley has predicted that Singapore’s property prices could double by the year 2030, with sustained hikes forecast for 2018 and beyond.

This means that you must allow time to accumulate savings and organise your finances, and you may need expert assistance to help with this. Wealth management firms such as Tilney can fulfil this role, as they combine financial advice with investment options to help optimise your capital and build savings for the future.

  1. Understand the Intricacies of Currency Fluctuations 

While the British pound (GBP) has currently enjoyed two-week highs against the Singapore Dollar, the spectre of Brexit may cause the continued devaluation of sterling over time. This means that buying Singapore currency and translating your wealth may prove difficult, which is why you must monitor macroeconomic trends and ensure that you transfer your money at the optimum time. Similarly, you must also try to convert currency without incurring huge fees, as these can also eat into your accrued capital.

  1. Consider the Miniscule Costs of Living

 Even with savings and a pronounced understanding of finance, relocating to Singapore can still be challenging. This is because there are small details associated with day-to-day living that must be attended to, and these seemingly insignificant costs can quickly accumulate over time.

Singapore has its own, unusual form of TV licence, for example which is a generic tax applied to anyone who owns a television. This must be paid annually, so you must have a full understanding of costs before completing your move.