Archive for the ‘Savings Accounts’ Category

Banking in Australia and Great Britain: A Comparison

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

It’s not unusual for Aussies to shadow the UK’s developments, and in many cases, to learn lessons from them.

Firstly, there was the MPs expenses scandal, which struck the UK back in 2009. This prompted a small probe by Australia’s Daily Telegraph into the practices of Canberra MPs.

But it’s only really struck notoriety in 2012, with the report into MP Craig Thomson and the revelations about credit card misuse by a number of government departments.

There’s also the case of Australian banks. Having witnessed the collapse of Northern Rock in the UK and the considerable bailout afforded to the Royal Bank of Scotland, large Australian banks have kept revenues and profits high.

There will be few who argue against the merits of strong banks, particularly given the fate of European and American counterparts. Many of these are now under investigation for alleged manipulation of the inter-bank lending rate during the inception of the global financial crisis.

But for many, it’s hard to accept the banks’ ability to pull in record profits during a global financial crisis, when many are living on the breadline and trying to negotiate their way through a stuttering economy.

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The best way to set-up and maintain your Superannuation fund

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Superannuation is a method of financially preparing yourself for your retirement. Both yourself and your employer can contribute to it over time and this money is then invested into a variety of  appropriate investments such as shares, property, savings accounts and government bonds.

When you retire, or qualify for your superannuation due to disability or death, you will receive the money (less charges and taxes) either as regular payments made periodically, a lump sum payment, or a combination of the two.

The Superannuation Guarantee came into effect on July 1, 1992, making it compulsory for employers to contribute to an employee’s superannuation fund.

The minimum amount of the contribution is 9% of an employee’s wages. This excludes overtime, fringe benefits and leave loading.

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Bank-rupture

Friday, December 16th, 2011

It hasn’t been a particularly good year for banks across the globe.

Many are still being downgraded by credit ratings agencies. Standard & Poor’s, addressed in the last post here, upset leading European figures when it issued a threat of widespread sovereign downgrades on the eve of the European summit.

Many banks and governments alike are struggling to raise funds or to find manageable rates at which to borrow. Those that can, on the other hand, are exploiting every drop of political advantage they can muster.

Many banks are commiting various kinds of atrocities. Many are simply finding ways – even unwittingly – to frustrate their customers.

Scandal-Struck

A number of UK banks have been caught up in scandals involving the elderly. As reported on our sister blog in the UK, a succession of banks have been caught and fined for mis-selling risky investment products to vulnerable consumers. Pensioners of 83 years on average were pressured into investing six-figure sums of their inheritence into long-term risk-heavy products, often when they were not even expected to survive the investment term. Collectively, banks have faced compensation payments approaching £150 million ($233 million).

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Investment Opportunities for the Coming Decade

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

According to projections from industry analysts, three of the best investment opportunities for the next ten years may include gold, silver, and food.  These projections reflect the growing economic uncertainty becoming commonplace in many areas of the world.

Food as an Investment

All three of these investment opportunities are commodities, with food being the least specific as many different kinds of food are traded in the commodity markets.  This makes buying food futures as an investment strategy somewhat hard to implement.  Overall food price levels may rise but if, for example, sugar happens to decline due to local factors such as a particularly favourable growing season producing a bumper crop, those who invested in sugar will be left out of the general increase in food values.

Food is also a challenging investment option because its nature makes it difficult to hold directly for long-term investing.  Foodstuffs, after all, are organic products that are subject to decay.  Food investors must usually purchase investment vehicles rather than the product itself.

Precious Metals as an Investment

The situation is different with precious metals such as silver or gold.  The worldwide gold price is not subject to regional variations as food prices can be, and since precious metals do not decay, investors can purchase gold bullion and store it in a safe in their homes if they wish.  This investment strategy also has drawbacks, of course, the chief one being the possibility of theft.

One solution to the theft problem is to buy gold online.

Using this strategy, investors work with an online firm that helps them access various bullion markets around the world.  Such firms provide their clients with information about the current gold price, assist them with buying and selling as needed, and even help them store their precious metals investments in secure vaults in cities such as London, New York, and Zurich.  Clients who decide they would prefer to hold their gold directly usually have the option of withdrawing their bars at any time.

Buying gold online can also have other advantages.  Trading in coins, for example, may require investors to purchase gold in very limited quantities such as the quarter-ounce.  Investors who wish to purchase large quantities of gold may need to complete dozens of transactions, but working with an online firm enables clients to purchase any quantity of gold bullion they wish, any time they want.

With economic uncertainty increasing, investors should begin to consider which types of financial vehicles will best protect the value of their assets in the years to come.

Savings: Finding the right balance

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Is it possible to be too frugal when it comes to making savings? Its obvious that we should all think about being careful with our money, especially in the recent tough economic times. But, could it be a bad idea to fill your savings accounts too high and end up costing you in the long run while affecting your financial security?

Being wise with your money is very important, but it’s also wise to take a step back and see the bigger picture. These days, the amount of money one can earn in a savings account is low, as interest rates have continued to fall in recent times.

Despite savings accounts being able to provide high returns, they are still an important element to a stable financial lifestyle offering a safe, risk-free method of putting money aside while earning a guaranteed return.

While some people use the savings approach to build up funds in order to make a large purchase, they should also be thinking about storing cash away for unexpected emergencies. This could save you money in the long-run, as it should help you to avoid going into debt – which most of us will have already learned can cost us significantly. (more…)

The 10 Tax Commandments

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

tax_return_smallThe taxman has long had a reputation for having an endless appetite for our money, but after years of generous pickings throughout the boom times experienced over the last 10 years, his sources have been drying up.

The worst share market downturn in over 3 decades has pushed capital gains tax down, many business profits have significantly fallen, and income tax has taken a hit from the new breed of workforce that are more concerned about holding on to their jobs than getting a pay rise.

One thing remains unchanged. There are still a number of traps that can catch out people when filling out their tax return forms.

Some have only recently been introduced, while others have been catching out unsuspecting taxpayers for many years.

Here are the 10 commandments you need to be aware of when avoiding tax-traps:

1. Don’t lose interest in your income

A common mistake made by taxpayers is to inadvertently fail to declare income earned from interest paid on savings accounts.

Gone are the days when this type of error is missed, as the ATO now use sophisticated systems that can cross reference all kinds of data, making it easier to track income. (more…)