The Beginners Guide to Buying Gold as an Investment

Buying gold as an investment can seem like an attractive proposition to many, and for the most part, it can be very rewarding if carried out in a right way. However, you shouldn’t spend all your money on jewelry just yet, as there is more to consider than just the aesthetic quality. Despite what you may think, gold is popular for many reasons, and knowing the true value of gold can ensure that you’re making well-informed decisions when it comes to your investment.

The Value of Gold

While there is money to be made in the manufacturing of jewelry, we shouldn’t assume that this is the only value that gold offers. While there can be a lot of money to be made in the jewelry industry, those who invest in gold do so for many different reasons.

For example, there are those who make investments in gold based on their melt value, and this can be a deciding factor in many cases. The melt value is what most dealers will pay when it comes to your gold, as it can be used in many different industries. Whether it’s dentistry tools or satellites, the use of gold is as solid as ever, but because it’s rare, it will hold its value when other assets fail.

To summarize, there is no need to purchase decorative pieces if you’re merely looking to invest for financial security. Of course, those looking for something tangible may opt for decorative gold, but this is purely a personal preference.

Buying Gold Safely

Regardless of how you want to invest in gold, you need to ensure that you’re only dealing with reputable gold dealers. Due to how many unsavory dealers there can be in a competitive industry, we need to have our wits about us when it comes to making a purchase.

Those buying gold as an investment may be better suited to a Gold Individual Retirement Account. This allows you to invest in gold, without having to store the gold at your home. Evidently, this can be worrying for some, but the gold you purchase will be housed safely, as per IRS regulations.

What’s more, a custodian has to be appointed. A custodian will have insurance in place that will ensure that even if something does happen to the gold, it’s not coming out of your pocket.

Of course, this may not be the option for you if you’re looking to physically own gold, but it can be a worthwhile consideration for those looking to diversify their portfolio.

Check Your Options

It’s easy to get caught up in the world of gold investing, and it’s easy to dismiss some of the smaller details, but the truth is that these smaller details make up the bigger picture when it comes to deciding as to whether gold is a smart investment. Buying gold as an investment can come with a series of pros and cons, which is why it’s important to ensure that we’re fully aware of the options available to us.

Of course, not everyone can be an expert when investing money in gold, so it’s important that we’re able to connect with professionals. For example, if you have a current retirement plan that needs converting, you may need to check the rules of your current IRA with your employer. While many 401(k) IRAs can be transferred, many have their own set of rules. Therefore, knowing what options are available to us from the outset can put in a much better position when it comes to investing in gold.

You should also be aware that the IRS only allows for one tax-free rollover of funds each year, so it’s important that we choose the right custodian if we decide to opt for a Gold IRA.

Finding The Right Gold Dealer

Just as we need to find the right custodian, we also need to find the right kind of dealer. Just like any industry, there can be those who don’t operate in the right way. As such, we need to ensure that we’re carrying out thorough background check when it comes to making a gold purchase.

There are many gold custodians that will allow for the account holder to choose a precious metal dealer. It can be advisable to opt for dealers that have a buyback scheme in place.

Restrictions on Gold Bullion Bars and Coins

If you choose to invest in gold as part of a IRA account, then it can be worthwhile knowing the restrictions that are in place. The IRS has laid out some stringent rules when it comes to the gold you invest in. Generally, there has to be a 99.9% purity level for it to be an approved investment. However, finding the right custodian and the right gold dealer will mean that this won’t be too much of an issue.

Creating the perfect office for working from home jobs

Creating the perfect office for working from home jobs

Creating the perfect office for working from home jobsDesigning perfect commercial buildings is a business worth hundreds of millions of pounds every year – but people who do working from home jobs often think that sitting a laptop on their dining table will suffice as an office space. Being in the wrong working environment can have an impact on your motivation, mood and output, so let’s look at some features that make a perfect office – and how you can build them into your own working space.

Where should it be?

Where in the house your office is located can mean the difference between productivity and frustration – if you’ve got a family, especially with children, you’ll recognise this issue immediately! Having some privacy can be important, as can having an area that is entirely free from distractions and noises.

If possible, a separate room is perfect for shutting your work life away from the rest of the house. This also helps you switch off from work when you’re ‘out of the office’. Have you got a spare room? Or could you partition an area of your room with some carefully placed shelving? There are a number of interiors companies who design products specifically for smaller or open-plan work spaces – it can be really useful to designate one part of the room as ‘the office’.

Organisation and storage

There’s a lot of debate about what an untidy desk says about its owner – is it the sign of a tidy mind? Apparently not say Albert Einstein and Mark Zuckerberg – fans of the messy workspace, others prefer to start the day with a clear desk. You’ll know what appeals to you – there’s probably a good balance between organised and realistic, but it’s really important that you know where your stuff is when you need it.

By all means spread out, but being able to put your hands on a report without searching for 15 minutes makes a big difference to your productivity and your mood.

Think about some storage solutions that suit you – would having and inbox help you keep tabs on your post? Would a filing cabinet mean client folders can be picked out seconds after they call? Would a simple cup mean you’re never scrabbling to find a pen as someone reads out a phone number? Little frustrations add up; if trying to find things even costs you 10 minutes a day that means you’re losing around 40 hours to being disorganised each year – for a lot of people that’s a full working week! Take a second to absorb that – a full week each year on looking for reports, a stapler and sticky-tape… an organised office boosts your output.

What do you do and how do you do it?

Your office is going to include items that are specific to your role. For a lot of people that’s a desk, office chair and a computer, for others that could mean specialised drawing desks, light-boards, additional screens and much more. Whatever your job entails, it’s really important to have adequate working space around your equipment.

When you’re sitting or standing at your equipment – are you comfortable? Making sure you have a suitable chair can be the difference between 8 hours of uninterrupted work – or an hour before lower back pain kicks in. Looking at the ergonomics of everything you use is going to be good for your health and your productivity.

Light and colour

You might laugh at the idea of colour and light affecting your mood or behaviour – but in commercial property design, retail, marketing and even health, the psychology of colour and light is seriously big money. How supermarkets, restaurants and offices are lit all contribute to the behaviour people want you to display when you’re there.

How often do you get natural light in a supermarket? There’s a psychological reason for this – isolate a person from changing exterior conditions (weather, indications of time, etc) and you’re far more likely to keep them instore for longer. Light and colour is being used to extract money from your wallet – so it pays to make it work to your advantage in your home office!

  • Purples and reds stimulate the energy and creative parts of the brain – good if you’re a designer, writer or work in other creative roles.
  • Yellow tends to create feelings of optimism and happiness – but be careful not to go too bright or full-on as too much can be tied to anxiety and restlessness.
  • Pale blues and greens are a popular and unassuming office choice – but research shows that they can contribute to relaxation – actually dropping your motivation levels.

Try to let as much light into your space as possible, avoid blocking the windows with plants, blinds and pictures as that natural white-light is proven to be the best kind to promote wakefulness and energy. If artificial light is your only option, look at options that replicate that daylight spectrum – they can be a little costly but can really bolster your output.

What to avoid

While there’s a lot of great office design to aspire to, it’s sometimes far more cost effective just to eradicate those home office annoyances that distract or otherwise zap your precious time away. Do any of these look familiar?

  • A television screen that you swear doesn’t take your attention away from work
  • A home telephone line that rings – even infrequently
  • A comfy sofa that you can just have 5 minutes sit/lay down on
  • A mobile phone full of social media apps

We already know that if you’re disorganised you’re going to be spending a full working week out of your year looking for items you’ve misplaced – so let’s think about the maths of the little list we’ve just created.

  • 10 minutes of watching newsflashes, catchy adverts or interesting snippets of programs
  • 2 minutes fielding sales and PPI calls on your home phone
  • A daily 5-minute lay on the sofa
  • 10 minutes of checking social media for non-work purposes

That’s about 27 minutes each day lost to stuff that mostly unnecessarily features and distractions in your office space. Ready for a shock? That’s around 117 hours or 3 solid working weeks lost every year. If you work for yourself, that’s a lot of time you could free up with a little discipline and a quick rearrange of your space…

Putting the Credit Genie Back in the Bottle

Image result for credit card debt

The 2008 financial crisis was a disaster of epic proportions from which the global economy has still not fully recovered: growth is anaemic, wages have stagnated and good paying jobs are more scarce than ever before. But even with all those things as givens the fact is that the 2008 financial crisis did produce at least one positive result: people stopped borrowing and began paying down their debt.

This welcome trend continued more or less unabated until 2014 when personal unsecured debt levels began to rise once again. Today it seems any lessons learned from 2008 have been forgotten as consumers have bellied back up to the credit trough to gorge themselves on funny money. Personal debt in the UK has now risen to more than £1.5 trillion and the upward trend shows no signs of abating.
What’s it all About?

When one sifts through the recent statistics on personal debt in the UK perhaps the most troubling fact to emerge is that UK consumers now carry a staggering £67 billion in credit card debt. That’s more than the total GDP of Bulgaria or Panama. So why is it that so many who seemed humbled by the events of 2008 have now decided to once again embrace borrowing as a way of life? There’s no easy answer to that question but there are a couple of likely suspects we can point to.

● Record low interest rates – With interest rates at historic lows many people have simply found themselves unable to resist temptation. Most who venture into the land of 0% interest are convinced they’ll be able to muster the discipline to steer a responsible course but the fact is many lose control and wind up with balances that will take them years to pay down.

● The non-recovery, recovery – While huge financial institutions and the 1% have recovered in spectacular fashion from the Great Recession the picture for the rest has been decidedly less rosy. As mentioned above wages have stagnated or even tumbled, overall growth has been anaemic making it difficult for new businesses to find their legs and good paying jobs have continued to evaporate. Many have simply tired of waiting for things to turn around and decided to follow government’s example and borrow their way to a better future.

Whatever the reasons behind the current credit bubble however the fact is that, having dug such a formidable hole for themselves, people with massive credit card debt now need to find a way out before they drown in a sea of red ink.
6 Steps to Retire your Credit Card Debt

When you’re facing a mountain of credit card debt things can seem very dark indeed. But the situation doesn’t have to get the better of you if you’re willing to following these steps:

1. Put the cards away – Or better yet, cut them up. The first rule of problem solving is to stop doing things that make the problem worse. In the case of credit card debt that means either putting the cards away where you don’t have easy access to them or simply cutting them up and being done with it. The latter is the preferable method as it will eliminate all possibilities that you’ll give in to temptation and go on a counterproductive spending spree.

2. Take stock of your situation – Once you’ve removed temptation by stashing your cards somewhere inaccessible or cutting them up it’s time to take stock of where you stand. Gather all your credit card bills together and add up exactly how much you owe. Take note of the interest you’re paying on the various cards and which ones have the most odious rates. These will be the ones you’ll want to tackle first.

3. Reduce your expenses – In order to make real progress in paying down your debt you’ll need to free up as much money as possible to put toward repayment. Cut back on non-essentials, try to find a cheaper energy supplier, consolidate all your digital contracts into one money-saving package and eliminate those double mochaccino lattes.

4. Pay as much as you can afford – If you just make minimum payments it could take you decades to clear your credit card debt. You need to resolve to pay as much as you can afford in order to make real headway. You should also make a concerted effort to pay off the highest interest rate cards first as interest is the real killer when it comes to credit card debt. Once you have those cleared you’ll feel a noticeable sense of relief.

5. Consider a debt consolidation loan – In some cases a debt consolidation loan may be the best way forward. You’ll quickly satisfy all your credit card debt and be left with only a single monthly payment that’s typically smaller than the combined payments you were making before. The danger with the debt consolidation loan is that once your credit card balance reads “0” you may be tempted to start using it again, in which case you’ll have undermined the entire reason for taking the debt consolidation loan in the first place.

6. Stay resolute – It’s not uncommon for people to tackle the worst of their debt problem and then lose focus. They believe the dark days are behind them and go back to their hard charging ways. In short order they find themselves back where they started wondering what went wrong and convinced they’ll never be free of debt problems. This won’t happen if you see the repayment plan through to its conclusion and then work with credit counselling agencies to modify your behaviour going forward.

Credit card debt can be a vexing problem that undermines nearly every aspect of your life. But it’s not a genie that can’t be returned to the bottle. To rectify the situation you’ll need personal resolve and a logical, realistic plan of action. If you find that credit card debt has gotten the better of you take the above steps to put yourself back on the road to financial solvency.

Debt is not a dirty secret

bank, blur, business

Every week in the UK roughly 14,000 people receive a county court judgement (CCJ) because of money they owe. The average amount of UK household debt is around £13,000 – not including mortgages or student loans. But how often are these facts topic of conversation? How often do you see money worries discussed on social media – compared to the number of pictures of new purchases or holiday snaps?

It seems that for a huge number of people, debt is considered a ‘dirty secret’  – with many people opting to keep the extent of their financial worries from even their partner and closest loved ones. But many continue to ignore the problem and done seek debt help.

However, burying your head in the sand is not the best option and you must seek help to get your debt under control.

Why is this the case?

Psychologists explain that most people strive for an image that portrays them as more care free and happy than they often are, with an underlying worry that sharing ‘problems’ can lead to others considering them boring or depressing. This attitude can lead to debt problems feeling very isolating and lonely – not only do you have collection agency letters dropping through the door, but you also don’t feel you can tell anyone about it.

Recent studies suggest over 8 million people – that’s 1 in 6 UK adults, have ‘problem debt’ and almost all UK adults owe money in some capacity. Despite such large numbers of people struggling, the stereotypical image conjured up by the word ‘debt’ is often still one of a person who is irresponsible with money, disorganised or a compulsive spender.

This image is far from the truth, unforeseen life events contribute toward financial worries far more frequently than any irresponsible attitude. Is there any shame in being made redundant? Falling ill? Losing a loved one? Having mental health struggles or experiencing the breakdown of a relationship? The answer is a resounding ‘no’ – yet the debt problems that can go hand in hand with these difficulties often remain an unspoken taboo subject.

The problem with a ‘stiff upper lip’

Prince William recently spoke out about how damaging the typically British ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude can be to a person’s health – and rarely is this more apparent than in matters relating to money problems. While the phrase often paints the picture of someone who is ‘emotionally strong’ – this is very often a huge misconception, in fact, those who consider themselves ‘stiff upper lipped’ are shown to be far more likely to succumb to mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The links between debt and ill-health are profound – and the tragic truth is that a deterioration of a person’s health can often lead to more and more money worries. The UK currently has more self-employed people and individuals working on zero-hour contracts than ever before. This means there is likely to be no sick-pay for someone whose money worries lead to being unable to work. For those who are employed on standard contracts, the impact can be equally huge – work performance is shown to be one of the first things impacted when a person’s mental health becomes strained.

If unaddressed the associated health issues and imagined ‘shame’ of being in debt can lead to the use of unhealthy coping strategies. Excessive drinking, drug misuse, unaffordable gambling and other risky behaviours might feel like they can offer some short-term relief, but any of these can turn a bad situation infinitely worse. The sad truth is that for many people these options look favourable when compared to discussing their issues.

So what is the answer?

The detrimental beliefs about debt that lead to it being kept a secret often start with the person finding themselves in difficulty. Being in debt does not mean you are a failure. Debt is not an indication that you should be earning more, trying harder, being more responsible or ‘grown up’. Debt can affect all, regardless of who you are, where you live or what you do. There is no model behaviour against which you are being judged.

Honesty in matters relating to debt is tremendously helpful – and often contagious. A money problem discussed with a friend will frequently end up with a two-way discussion about their similar situation – and even if they’re not experiencing the same, it’s incredibly reassuring when they don’t run a mile. Discussion with professionals helps too, the links between money worries and mental health have long been recognised by GPs – and they can access resources for you that can be very helpful. If you do feel like you’re ashamed about your money situation – for any reason at all, it’s likely that talking to a counsellor could be helpful too – your GP will be able to refer you and all counselling services operate with the strictest confidentiality, so can be a good place to help you talk through the issues safely.

Honesty is important

Ignoring debt can be extremely damaging in vast number of ways, so talking to the companies you owe money to is essential when it comes to preserving your well-being. Honesty in these scenarios is vitally important. A sense of pride might make you inclined to play down the magnitude of your debt and associated problems to the collection agencies or companies that are chasing you – but this rarely leads to a positive outcome. Trying to work beyond that pride means you’re likely to be more realistic with any arrangements you make – and virtually all companies will consider your health when trying to find a solution.

While the stereotypes and taboos around debt aren’t going to change overnight, conversations can. The companies you owe money to do not consider you irresponsible or reckless. The medical professionals you talk to expect money problems to occur and they expect those problems to impact on your mental and physical health. There are charities and organisations created solely to help you find your way back to being able to cope. The world is far more equipped to help you with money problems than you might expect.

Debt is not a dirty secret, it’s a problem that almost everyone will encounter at some point in their life and an issue in which you do have some power to begin steps toward fixing.

Where to Seek Debt Free Advice

Struggling with so much debt can lead to a serious case of stress and anxiety and if you are in this situation, it would be best to seek for financial assistance in terms of debt advice from experts. The importance of talking to a professional financial adviser is that he or she can give you a full understanding as to how you’re going to increase your savings through management of your budget and at the same time provides you with information as to how you’re going to overcome your financial debt situation.

How can a financial adviser help you?

Of course, they do not help you in terms of giving out money, that would be not the reality of having a financial adviser. However, their opinion matters most especially when it comes to identifying the source and factors that affect your livelihood which has led you to debt. Furthermore, here are some reasons how they can assist you.

They never judge– if you think asking turning to someone who might help you solve your problem is something for you to be shy about, well think again twice. Financial advisers are trained not to judge and to understand every client that they handle. If you feel like you are being judged, perhaps the factual situation has been laid out to the table for you to understand the reason why you are in great debt. It is encouraged for every person who is in debt to consult professional assistance.

They are always happy to have you talk to them your financial adventure– hearing stories of financial success are something that you should be proud of. You can be a good testimony for your financial adviser’s other clients so that they can feel hope with their situation as well.

Find ways to manage– the good thing about having a financial adviser is that they always find a solution to help you with your debts through making plans of either short or long term goals for you to follow. The only thing that should be done is for you to have the discipline in keeping yourself from spending too much and save more of your money and soon invest at the right time.

Suggest ways– if you are losing hope of your debts to be solved, the responsibility of a financial adviser is to keep suggesting ways for you to step up your game in paying your debts. There is no better way in doing it but to pay it slowly and on time to avoid any extra charges.

The benefit that you can gain from financial advisers.

Another good reason why you definitely need a financial adviser is that they help you reach your goal. They break down all of your wants and needs and have you compare and makes you decide as to which is better for you to do. They can discuss to you a series of the timeline that you can see and envision yourself for the next five to ten years. They can explain to you how important it is to have savings and invest it at the same time for your benefit as you grow older.

Did you know?

People who are provided assistance by financial advisers are grateful after many years because almost all of the life goals are coming true and they are living with it as well. if you want to be one of those people who are financially stable and freed, perhaps having to pay off your debts and minimize yourself from getting involved with debts is a good start for you towards your financial goals to come true.