10 Smart Financial Moves You Should Make in 2018

"Financial planning is about more than just good advice or investment returns. It is about providing guidance that you can trust."

It is always beneficial to plan out and have a blueprint of your future finances ready. You certainly don't want to make a same financial blunder that you have made earlier. It's also important to plan your investments well.

The Budget 2018 was announced recently and while there is no change in personal income tax, long-term capital gains will be taxed at 10% for amount exceeding Rs. 1 Lakh, without indexing.

So, how should you plan 2018 to make it financially viable?

To make your financial year of 2018 a big HIT, here are 10 financial moves that you can take:

1.) Venture on a Term's Plan or Insurance

Life has its own course of running. You can never be aware of what is going to happen next. It is unpredictable and therefore it's important that you plan ahead.

Invest on a Term Plan, as a way to secure your family's future. Term plan or Term Insurance is a financial protection that helps your family financially in your absence. Term insurances are increasing becoming popular as they come with loads of benefits.

2.) Have a Health Insurance

Health is wealth and there is no denying that fact.

Whether you've family or you're living an independent life, it must be your priority to invest on a health plan. Accidents and ailments aren't uncommon, and the sad part is that medical treatment isn't cheap in our country.

Having a Health Insurance helps you overcome sudden medical emergencies.

3.) Invest in a Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs)

It is one of the most simple and convenient manner to invest money in mutual funds. You have the liberty to venture your money either weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Systematic Investment Plans grant you an already decided amount to be paid uniformly at regular terms. This type of investment in mutual funds is regarded as the most safe and suitable kind in the market.

4.) Buy Real Estate

After the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) in the year 2017, realty investors weren't very sure about their financial security. However, the picture is likely to change in the year 2018. It seems the government is looking for new ways to revive growth in the real estate sector.

With the Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act (RERA) in place, there is no place for false promises by real estate developers. You'll also most likely not have to deal with cheating or delay in possessions. Also, the rates are low all across the country. Owing to the good market conditions, this can be the right time to purchase a house or a commercial property. But, make sure to leverage the benefits of a home loan while doing this costly transaction. Instead of paying the complete cost in cash, use a home loan to pay a part of the total cost and save on taxes. What better time …

Beware of Six Financial Risks in China

Although it is unlikely to see system-wide financial risks in China in the near future, there are however six potential risk areas that may significantly affect the Chinese economy, if not properly addressed.

High inflation

Annualised consumer price index (CPI) released in April had reached 8.5%, which is at an uncomfortable level. There are several reasons for the rapidly rising prices in China.

RMB appreciation has only limited impact on the rising price of commodity imports. The rising food and metals prices in the world have directly contributed upward pressure to China’s CPI, and the rising energy prices globally are increasing difficulties on Chinese government’s domestic price control measures.

The ability of downstream industries to absorb price pressures from upstream materials suppliers has become minimal. Back in 2007, although the Chinese economy was also growing rapidly, the CPI could nevertheless stay around 4%. This was because there had been a capacity surplus built up in downstream industries and the competition was intense.

But due to the rising RMB and price adjustments in environmental protection, labour and land last year, profit margins in downstream industries have been suppressed. Therefore upstream price rises are now being passed onto consumers.

Price controls may be hard to maintain. The government’s price control measures can certainly be effective to keep down price hikes in the short term, but it has been proven that the “control – subsidy” mechanism may not be sustainable. Take the example of refined oil products in China. The breakeven price for Chinese petrol refiners is about US$67 per barrel, but in the first quarter of this year, international oil prices had been around $100-110. So even though there are lots of fiscal subsidies to refiners, shortage of refined oil products are still occurring in some markets.

Foreign exchange risks

Due to US dollar depreciation, US Federal Reserve’s rate cuts and People’s Bank of China (PBC)’s rate increases, PBC’s foreign currency reserve portfolio is showing widening losses arising from foreign currency (mainly US dollar) asset depreciation and hedging costs.

According PBC’s balance sheet released in February, it had equity of 21.975 billion yuan (RMB:USD = 7:1), equivalent to an equity/asset ratio of merely 0.12%. Policy makers should now prevent the PBC from assuming dual responsibilities of monetary policy and exchange rate policy, and let the government take over some of PBC’s quasi-fiscal deficit. If such deficits are left to be self-digested within the financial system, they may eventually bring risks to China’s monetary policy independence and even to PBC’s credibility.

Sharemarket volatility

The Chinese sharemarket’s price to earning ratio reached a staggering 67 times in 2007, while it has gone down nearly 50% since 2008. Such volatility may lead the following impacts on the economy.

Social wealth will be further concentrated towards a small group of people. But due to the rapid ups and downs, a lot of the paper wealth hasn’t been converted into real consumption, hence little obvious impacts on the consumer market.

The sharemarket’s capital raising capacity has been …

Financial Crisis Affects Timeshare Industry

The current global financial crisis has created a troubling situation for timeshare owners. As most sectors of the economy are feeling the squeeze, the nation’s timeshare industry is being pounded from both sides as banks cut back on lending and consumers cut back on spending.

As a result, at the same time as individuals have to deal with stagnating or falling incomes, deteriorating retirement funds, and a higher cost of living, timeshare resort companies that are feeling the pinch are passing their financial burdens on to the consumer.

Consumer Spending

Currently individuals, families and companies are severely cutting back on leisure and travel spending faster than was anticipated, reports Bloomberg.com. The October 23rd article notes “forecasts [show] that the deterioration in leisure and business travel is accelerating as corporations and consumers contend with higher food prices, declining home values, job losses and scarce credit.”

Lisa Ann Schreier, author and expert on the timeshare industry, says that people simply do not have the disposable income right now. “People are scared, “says Scheirer. “And with the credit crunch, it will be harder and harder for people to finance timeshares. I think the time-share industry for too long has thought itself recession-proof, and I don’t think so.”

The Frozen Credit Market

If the timeshare industry did at one time consider itself recession-proof then that is certainly no longer the case. The timeshare industry is strained not only because consumers are spending less but also due to the fact that this industry has largely relied on mortgage-backed securities.

David Siegel, Company President of Westgate Resorts, the largest privately held timeshare company in the world, attributes his company’s “financial squeeze” to the fact securities are no longer being bought.

In a September article in the Orlando Sentinel, Siegel explains that the timeshare companies “[keep] money flowing through lines of credit that are then paid off when [these companies] bundle and sell their mortgages as securities” says Siegel. “All of a sudden no one is buying those securities.”

Siegel’s Westgate Resorts employs more than 10,000 individuals nationwide and has had to recently shut down much of its sales and lay-off hundreds of workers.

Two other major players in the timeshare industry that are worth noting here, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and Wyndham Worldwide, have seen profits and sales fall, with Starwood’s timeshare sales falling 11 percent in the third quarter. Starwood, the third largest US lodging company, has cut employees, shut sales centers and trimmed expenses at Starwood’s Sheraton and Westin hotels.

Wyndham Worldwide has laid off hundreds of employees, ranging from marketing directors, to managers, to financial analysts.

All of this has prompted the timeshare industry to ask the government to step in.

As reported in an October 29th Orlando Sentinel article entitled, “Time-share industry seeks relief,” American Resort Development Association (ARDA), a timeshare trade group, is asking the federal government to step in and guarantee time-share mortgages in exchange for an insurance fee.

Howard Nusbaum, CEO of ARDA, warned that the timeshare …

Financial Assistances For Pregnant Women

It is an utmost necessity for pregnant women to eat right and stay healthy for the better development of their babies. However, lack of funds may create adversities in maintaining a good health during the pregnancy phase of the women from low-income or no-income households. This is because of the soaring costs associated with the medical treatment and food. However, pregnant women need not to worry anymore as the federal government organizes various grant programs for them to help with food, health care, baby supplies and many more. If you are pregnant and have difficulties arranging necessary funds, some financial assistance from grants for pregnant women can help you to the great extent.

During your pregnancy, you can benefit from the financial assistance through grants such as Medicaid, CHIP, and WIC.

Medicaid is the U. S Department of Health and Human Services funded health insurance program that enables mothers to access to the low-cost health insurance facilities. Healthcare facilities for children can also be available from this program. However, this insurance facility is provided only to financially unstable pregnant women.

Medicaid enables you to receive prenatal and postnatal care to keep you and your baby in a good condition. Under this program, you can exercise the benefit for 60 days postpartum. Besides, with Medicaid health insurance, you can ensure frequent checkups at the doctor’s clinic and free medicines. Contact your local action community agency to know more about the eligibility criteria for Medicaid.

Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP offers financial assistance with a diagnosis of diseases, routine checkups, X-rays, medicines, dental care and not to mention- mental care for the children up to five years. Hence, it is a great scope for you to seek help from these heath grant programs to pay for medical care for you and your baby.

Whereas the nutritional health of pregnant women and children is concerned, Women, Infant, and Children, or WIC aims at offering financial assistance with nutritional food. By accomplishing your nutritional needs, WIC ensures that you deliver a healthy baby. WIC offers postnatal facilities for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. If infants or children are found to be at health risk due to nutritional deficiency, WIC lends its support to improve their health. You can seek support from this grant program too. To know your eligibility, the local grant-making agencies authorized by the federal government can provide you with the necessary information.

Source Article

How to Get Financial Aid for College Education for Single Mothers

Single mothers and mothers in the US can provide their family and children with a better future by securing a higher paid job. Well, this is possible only with the right kind of degree in hand earned at colleges. However, the road to success through education is quite tough as the costs associated with the higher studies at colleges are quite high, forcing many single mothers in the US to drop their higher studies in midway. High expenses apart, the additional crises of debt burden are there too, making college education an out of reach substance for single moms and mothers. Yet, there is a hope as the Obama administration has revamped grant programs for women, especially for single mothers or moms. This initiative has been taken towards empowering women and single mothers in the US so as to find them a better opportunity and make their lives better, leaving past the adversities behind.

The Obama Single Mother Grant is one of the best ways to help with college bills to avoid financial crises. Single mothers or mothers from low-income or no-income households can receive up to $ 5,000 as an educational benefit through the Federal Pell Grant program, also known as the Single Mother Grant. The US Department of Education monitors the entire program and pays out the financial assistance for higher studies for mothers through state-run organizations, participating colleges, action community agencies, charitable organizations and non-profit organizations. Always remember that female participants can easily receive free financial assistance through Obama approved government grant compared to male participants.

Considering Pell Grant, it is a need-based program; hence, it always aims at favoring the needs of single mothers. The federal Pell Grant offers you a great opportunity to escape the higher repayment rates of loans. Besides, it does not have to be repaid like loans. Earlier known as Basic Education Opportunity Grants (BEOGs), Pell Grant offers around $ 5,500 to the eligible single mothers for college tuition fees, as well as study materials and housing expenses.

How to Apply for the Federal Pell Grant

Remember, you are not entitled to receiving the Pell Grant for more than one college you want to pursue your higher studies. In order to receive the financial assistance, it is essential to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or (FAFSA). A proper application process is not complete without the filing of FAFSA. Once the FAFSA is filed, your financial needs are evaluated based on the information provided on the FAFSA. After the FAFSA gets processed, you are likely to receive a Student Aid Report, containing your eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant.

If you are interested, you can contact your state agency to apply for the Pell Grant or visit https://fafsa.ed.gov/options.htm to apply online. Though it is a time-consuming process, benefits for college education earned through Pell grant is matchless.

Source Article

Greece, Cultural History and the Financial System

Historical Background

Greece has always had a thriving underground economy. The long history of human civilization there and even the geography of the island nation has created long-standing traditions and deep kin relationships that bypass official governmental channels, which leads to a significant percentage of the economic activity happening outside of the purview of the political powers. This is the way many Greeks have lived for hundreds of generations.

It is important to understand this point. The Greek people are no less hardworking than the French or the English, and if the underground economy is included, the per capita economic production of Greece is not that far off of France or Italy (at least until recently when the EU started choking their economy to death). The truth of the matter is Greece never really joined the rest of Europe in reforming and modernizing its economy in the post-war years.

The whys and wherefores of the situation are complex cultural questions, but it boils down to political will… they didn’t want to and they never had to (until now). The overall effect of a huge underground economy is, of course, that a lot of economic activity occurs (money changes hands) without the government taking its share (as no one involved pays any taxes, fee and so forth). The other overall effect is a general cultural belief that it is OK to cheat the system… I mean my neighbor and my brother are making a lot of money and not paying any taxes, so why should I pay mine and just barely get by… ? And, of course, this attitude about the system comes from the top and spreads from parent to child by cultural transmission… and on one level can even be justified by the fact that the politico-economic system is largely “rigged” with politicians and civil servants almost all making very comfortable salaries.

When you couple this socioeconomic situation with two or three generations of self-serving, inept and increasingly bureaucratic political leadership, and you throw in a major international financial crisis and hard-headed creditors with a different cultural perspective who demand you now play by their rules if you want to stay in the EU, then you have created the “Perfect Storm” that is Greece today.

In fairness to the Greeks, it should be mentioned that they are certainly not the only society in the world (or in Southern Europe for that matter) where underground economies have historically flourished and still exist today. Italy, Spain, Portugal, Albania and Serbia (non-exhaustive list) all have large black markets of various sorts, and therefore a great deal of economic activity occurs in the unofficial economy.

Ramifications of a Greek Debt Default

The issue can be reduced to whether the Greek government should accept the austere terms from the EU for yet another major bailout of their debt, or simply default and start over from scratch. But viewing the situation as a simple dichotomy ignores the elephant in the room… that is, what happens …

Tips for Single Mothers in Financial Distress

Solitary moms are able to obtain cash via a variety of sources. Fortunately, there are a big variety of ways single mothers can get monetary help, whether it’s via the federal government or their local college in scholarship money.

The easiest way to get money if you’re a single mom is by using a simple method. This method is what I call the “lowest hanging fruit” method. By picking the most affordable, simplest fruit to reach, you’re utilizing an efficiency principle. By expending less resources, you’re obtaining the same desired result. When a single mother is presented with different ways of getting financial aid, then she should choose the easiest ones first.

Three of the easiest ways are asking family for cash, accumulating money owed for you, and chopping back again on investing. First, single moms need to ask their folks for some dough. Chances are, your parents have the means and are just waiting for you to inquire for their help. Parents reside for their children and are usually very prepared to assist them out – particularly with regards to cash. If asking parents isn’t an option, then move to your closest relatives. Your grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins you are close with should be more than willing to help their fellow family member out. If you absolutely don’t think anyone in your family can or will help out – you can move on to other sources. Asking your children’s father is another great way to get financial assistance. You’re giving the father of your kids a chance to assist them. By helping you out, they are helping your children out.. You can especially get money if he has a job, and he isn’t currently paying child support. Most situations will side with the mother and take money straight out of his paycheck to help you and the children out. If the father is jobless – you can seek out governmental assistance. Many states have available programs to help single mothers out, especially when the father can’t. Don’t let that money sit unclaimed. That cash is owed for you and your children and it makes perfect sense to go after it. Also, ask his family for help too.

My final recommendation of getting financial aid is just by cutting back. Find things that you don’t need or can easily live without. Keep your children in mind when making a list. One way would be to cut back again your child care expenses. Have friends or family take care of them for you and be grateful. If they want compensation, tell them you will pay them back when you’re back on your feet. Most friends and family will abide. Also, no cable tv or internet at home – these can be bummed off of friends or Starbucks at any time. If you place your mind to it, you can discover a great deal of things you can otherwise get for totally free. As a single mother, any financial advantage can …

Locating Unclaimed Abandoned Property and Financial Assets in Israel Finding & Locating Real Estate

In Israel, thousands of assets totaling approximately 15 billion Israeli Shekels currently remain unclaimed. These unclaimed assets include land, developed real estate, bank accounts, stocks and bonds.

“Abandoned property” is defined in section 1 of the Law as an asset in respect of which no one is entitled and able to be treated as owners, or an asset whose owner is unknown.

Naturally, the need for claiming, finding such property, assets, lands by their rightful heirs arises. The process of locating lost, abandoned or unclaimed assets in Israel requires, among other things, a very competent, diligent Israeli attorney with depth understanding as well as a proper investigation to trace those lands & assets. How to find and locating a lost or abandoned property in Israel? This article discusses this matter.

The first step is to gather any relevant data including family tree and or any ID number in order to start the due diligence and genealogical evidence to track the property, estate in the Israeli Land Registry Offices “The Tabu”, Minhal or Hevra Meshakenet. We will learn the name of the current or historic landowner as well as his Israeli ID number or American/any passport. The information held by the Israeli TABU is considered highly credible and sensitive, and it is part of the Israeli land database.

Second step is to check: 1) managing the abandoned assets for the benefit of the private owner/s and 2) releasing the assets to those entitled to them after getting a Israeli probate court order, or where beneficiaries can not be located, transfer the property to the State of Israel until the right heirs will be found.

We handle various types of abandoned assets in Israel, including real estate, lands, personal property, funds and bank accounts. By law, an “abandoned property” in Israel is defined as an asset in which its owner or manager cannot be found or is unknown, and can be released only by a probate process and a court order that will determine the right heirs, and now owners of the Israeli land or any financial asset in Israel.

The Israeli government concludes its management of the property in one of three main actions. Firstly, it can release the asset to the person who is the lawful owner again by a Israeli probate court order. Alternatively, it can transfer the asset to the State of Israel. Thirdly and lastly it can transfer the asset to The Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets, if appropriate.

We will discuss in detail the first aforementioned action – negotiation with The TABU over unclaimed property. In this case, the person claiming a right to the property must prove to the satisfaction of the Israeli Administrator General that he is the legal owner of the asset. In this process, the Israeli Administrator General will act very carefully to ensure that it has received sufficient information regarding the applicant’s rights and a probate court order that proofs the person are the legal heir. Then, …

The Effects Of The Financial Crisis

The financial crisis is an ugly situation that no sane person would want to experience because it comes with very drastic results that can reduce wealth and standard of living. Unfortunately, recession is sometimes unavoidable. Unavoidable cases come as a result of bad government policies, unemployment, and unfavorable economic conditions. The good news is that human beings can find solutions to any problem they face, so when there is hyperinflation, it's still very possible to survive.

In the past, top countries in the world have witnessed several economic recessions. Their downfall also affects other countries, especially those that depend on them for the supply of goods and services. Just recently in 2008, America faced a similar situation, though the country is already making efforts to recover from it. If they don't employ the correct procedures, it is possible that they may witness the recession again. European countries are not exempted from this as countries such as Spain and Portugal are experiencing unfavorable economic situations. Greece is almost unable to pay its debts and Italy's story is also frustrating. If the right steps are not taken soon, these problems may even become worse. Hence, the EU and American government are considering various bail-out plans and strategies for reforming their economies.

One of the indicators of recession is hyperinflation. Hyperinflation is a situation where the prices of goods and services rise to unreasonable levels. The situation is usually caused by currency debasement. This happens because currency's value depreciates and salary earners find it more difficult to buy products since they have risen higher in price. In most cases, people doing business usually cope better than salary earners because they can increase the prices of their goods and services. In fact, those in the middle class face more trouble because most of their earnings come from salaries and since their salaries are not high, they are unable to get what they want during hyperinflation. Another problem that the middle class may face is that their savings will depreciate in value by the time they make a withdrawal. Interest rates on deposits are low at this time so people who have been saving in the bank for years will lose a lot of money.

Unfortunately, economic recession lasts several years and government strategies to effect reformation can take years before the results are seen. The government may also face a challenge from the population unable to believe in their policies even when sounding great. Some governments still make things worse by implementing the wrong policies. For instance, printing fiat currency in high amounts will make the economy worse because this can cause inflation.

When inflation is caused by too much money in the hands of people, printing more notes is simply a bad idea. Instead, a better strategy would be to reduce the money in people hands by implementing reasonable programs. More so, the government can increase interest rates so that people will be encouraged to do business which in turn can cause economic …

Financial Assistance SOS

One of the most worrying aspects of applying to college is working out how you are going to be able to pay for your studies. Check out our guide below to see the options that may be available to you.

Need-Based Aid
Need-based aid is money awarded based on the ability of you and your family to pay for college. To apply for most need-based aid, you need to first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA is the determining factor controlling all federal aid programs, such as student loans and grants. Many other forms of financial aid for students, including college scholarships and private initiatives, will also use FAFSA information as a factor in determining who is eligible for their financial aid programs.

Like Merit aid, scholarships are another type of financial aid that you won't have to worry about paying back! The government, colleges, public institutions, private companies and religious groups are all possible sources of scholarships. Most are awarded based on specific criteria, such as your academic performance, extracurricular activities, community involvement, ethnic heritage or religious affiliation. Some scholarships are also need-based. No matter what the requirements, applications for scholarships are always hotly contested, so apply early! A small batch of students with 4.0 GPAs and high test scores may win a disproportionate number of scholarships.

Another great way to fund your way through college, grants are in essence money for nothing financial aid. The government aims many grants at students who would otherwise struggle to pay college fees, and these may be offered at state level, or through federally sponsored programs like the Pell Grant. They may be tailored to students who excel in an area of ​​academic study, or be linked to the course or career that you choose to study for. Some colleges offer their own grants to students, while private groups or companies fund others. Be sure to check whether the grant you aim for has strings attached – you may find that there are certain qualifying requirements connected to your program of study or your future career.

Merit Aid
Merit aid is usually awarded as a scholarship, in recognition of your personal achievements in a specific area of ​​study, sports, the arts or community activity. The great thing about merit scholarships is that you do not need to pay back the money, and may be offered on a renewable basis for several years. Another advantage is that merit-based scholarships are not competitive in its nature – as long as you meet the specified requirements, you are eligible to receive this form of financial aid.

Student Loans
As with a normal bank loan, you will be charged interest on student loans for college courses. The good news is, institutions that offer student loans are limited to charging a capped rate of interest, so they work out to be cheaper than other types of loan. Another big advantage is that you will not usually be required to start …