More Brits Intend To Go Abroad Despite Crisis

More Brits Intend To Go Abroad Despite Crisis

As the current climate draws in colder days and nights, more Brits are in search for a getaway holiday despite the current economic crisis.

According to new research by Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance, 28 per cent of Brits are still planning to book a holiday by the end of February 2009 with an approximate amount of ?881.83 spent on a ticket per person.

Manager Sam Marrs of Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance, said: “It’s really encouraging to see that people are still planning to get away despite the credit crunch, which just shows the importance of a holiday to the British public.

However, as a bid to save money, not all holidaymakers are intending to purchase adequate travel insurance for their trip.

Say yes to travel insurance to save money

“When booking a break though, it’s imperative that people don’t see travel insurance as merely an add-on – they need to ensure that they have comprehensive cover so that if the worst does happen, they will be looked after properly and not out of pocket,” added Marrs.

Research from Esure insurance had revealed that one out of five skiers who went on skiing trips this year had not been protected with travel insurance.

According to figures from the study, nearly 400,000 Brits are in jeopardy of facing large costs for medical expenses as a consequence of not being insured.

Five per cent of skiers wrongly believe that their European Health Insurance card can be a replacement for travel insurance.

Yet the card only covers medical costs and does not cover the cost of getting to hospital as does travel insurance.

The insurer had warned that evacuation costs via helicopter alone can reach up to 1,500 while repatriation can cost up to 4000 to 8000.

Mike Pickard, head of travel insurance at Esure, said: “No matter what your level of competency on the slopes, accidents do happen and huge medical bills can easily rack up.

It’s crucial to ensure you’re fully covered with quality insurance that includes specific winter sports cover.”

Winter sports cover

Winter sports cover is additional travel insurance for skiers, snow-boarders and for others who take part in winter sports.

The special travel insurance can be bought separately and provides extra cover for those taking part in dangerous activities.

Esure had advised holidaymakers not to solely rely upon standard travel insurance as this will not cover winter sports unless stated otherwise.

Obtaining travel insurance should now become simpler as firms offering travel insurance are under tough rules to stop insurers ‘misleading’ customers after research from Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance found that customers are ‘mislead’ on travel insurance from travel agents.

Insurance made easier

Yet under the new FSA rules, customers will now be given the ?best advice? for insurance and ensure that it meets their requirements as travel agents may no longer be able to make commission from selling inadequate travel insurance products for customers.

Marrs said: “Our research shows that up to as many as 8.1 million people could have bought insurance from travel agents over the past 12 months and the new regulation will provide consumers with valuable much needed protection.”

Never Too Late To Start

Never Too Late To Start

Have you put off planning for your retirement? One thing is for sure, you aren’t alone. Many people don’t plan for their retirement when they should, a lot of time it is because they think they don’t have the spare cash to put back for something as far away as retirement.

If you have put off saving for retirement, there is one thing you should know and that is that it is never too late to start, The earlier you start the easier it will be on you and you will more than likely be able to grow a larger nest egg. But if you haven’t started yet, then there is still time and the sooner you start, the better.

If you are starting your retirement plan late then you should probably avoid high risk investments since you won’t have years to make it up if you lose a bundle of money. Stick with the more conservative types of investments which carry the smallest risk.

The first think you need to do is determine a budget of how much you will need to live on each month or year when you are retired. This will help you to establish a goal for your savings. Budget in all your living expenses as well as emergency funds and your entertainment expenses since you will probably want to travel or take up a new hobby after you retire.

If you think you can’t manage to save enough for retirement right now you might want to go through your budget and see where you can make some cuts. Doing without some things right now and funneling that money into your retirement savings can pay off for you down the road. You might even consider taking a light part time job so you can invest your income from it into your retirement plan.

It may make things a little tight for the present time, but when you retire you will be thankful you saved and have a nest egg built up earning interest income for you to live off of.

Even if you only have a few years left until you retire, you can still start saving money. If it all seems impossible you may want to consult with a financial planner who can help you come up with a goal and a way to work it into your current budget. That way when you retire you will be able to enjoy life and not have to worry with financial problems that could have been avoided if you had started a retirement savings account.

Business Insurance – Who Should I Tell If I Move Premises

Business Insurance - Who Should I Tell If I Move Premises

After the unprecedented hard times of the past two years, we are staring to see the feint glimmer of growth throughout the UK. Small snippets of news, like JCB deciding to hire an additional 200 staff to cope with growing demand is welcome.

In the commercial insurance world, we are seeing growth signs in two ways. Firstly, we are seeing for the first time in 18 months a big increase in new business enquiries. This is not simply existing companies looking to compare business insurance, but brand new ventures starting from scratch and they have been few and far between recently.

Secondly, we are seeing existing businesses looking to expand and as a result they are moving to new premises. Having moved ourselves a few times in the past 10 years, we know that this is not an easy process. There is a list as long as your arm of things you need to think about, do and keep a close eye on.

One point you must consider is in relation to your business insurance. Your policy terms and price are based on many different factors, but the three main ones are. What you do, where you are and what values you need to insure for.

Commercial insurance companies have spent years and years building up detailed statistics on the likelihood of break-ins, fires, floods, storms, subsidence etc depending on where you trade from. So, it is natural that if you move premises you need to notify your insurers.

If you are sensible you will have a business insurance broker that acts as the conduit between you and the ultimate insurer. As soon as you have a rough idea of the date you will more and the full address of the premises you’re going to then you should give them a call to let them know.

The best thing to do is to ask them if there is any increase in premium or charges. If you are going to a higher risk area then an insurer may charge and additional premium. If you feel this is unreasonable, then is the perfect time to look around for a different insurance policy. And if the broker tries to charge you an “administration fee” for making the change then you should definitely walk away. The broker should do this service for nothing, you would be amazed at how many think they can charge you ‘50 to make a simple change.

In most cases, you will get revised documents issued an d be asked to complete a simple “change of address” questionnaire. This will ask about construction, security, past flooding etc for the new address. Assuming all the questions are answered OK and your sums insured do not increase then that is really all you need to do. Compared to the other legal and local authority notifications you may have to go through, getting your business insurance changed is relatively easy.

Buy To Let Investing In A Tougher Market

Buy To Let Investing In A Tougher Market

With property gloom consistently hitting the headlines on a continuous basis, it can be difficult to distinguish the true benefits of buy to let investing – especially the many longer term rewards. Property investors who are able to properly analyse the situation, all know that the current climate is a great time to buy income producing investment properties at distressed prices – possibly the best chance you‘ll get for another 15 years! Despite reports of plunging prices and markets in chaos, experts say it is an excellent time to invest in bricks and mortar.

Buy to let investors are categorized into two types. First are those whose main concerns are income and cash flow. This group typically looks for property where the rental profits can cover the mortgage expenses and provide a small profit on top. The investors belonging to this category use the profits they gain to save up for future rate increases, to cover unexpected expenses and to finance future investments.

The second type is the speculative or short-term investors. Generally less experienced, they have purchased properties with the hopes of reaping profits from price increases. These speculators are usually lured by the ‘easy money‘ claims made by property clubs. A lot of these investors want to earn profits from owning properties even before they are constructed. The strategy worked for some but it was disastrous for others. At present – with the market experiencing stabilisation of property prices – the prospects look brighter for long-term investors.

In times when prices were increasing sharply, yields (or the rental income against the value of the property) were going downhill. But now that property values are evening out there has been a growth in yields. With the tenant demand seeing a significant jump, landlords can now push their rents up. This increase in demand comes from people who don’t have the means to purchase a property, or those who are waiting for price declines before they make the decision to buy.

Experts have the following buy to let advice for investors looking to invest in bricks and mortar in a harsh market.

  1. Make sure that the rental yields exceed expenses and bills, can cover vacant periods between tenancies, and provide room for rate increases.
  2. If you get a bargain property that needs some tidying up, bear in mind that if it needs a major overhaul you will be compelled to pay the mortgage while you have the repairs done before you can let the property.
  3. Check the area for rental property demand and determine your potential tenants. Research the place, its rental values, growth in property prices and the type of people that flock to the place.

Evaluate additional expenses. Take into consideration factors like maintenance costs and purchase of equipments for the property. Make sure your budget has room for such expenses. Determine if there‘s a need for you to employ a letting agent. An agent may cost you 10% of the rental fee but it‘s often useful having them around especially if you are not located nearby.

Asset Management Solutions: For Better Investment Solutions

Asset Management Solutions: For Better Investment Solutions

We live in a financial world, full of investment options, where each financial step matters in the long run, where financial decisions are important and where financial expertise is necessary. If you are a high net-worth individual then it is essential that you take a good care of your assets like money, mortgages, property, etc. We can use the term money management here which can be done through stocks, bonds and cash equivalents. You can also choose an asset management solutions company for the same.

An asset management solutions company aims to add value in your business by exploiting market inefficiencies in the areas of relative value, credit, interest rate and currency management. These sources of added value are combined to construct correct investment strategies that meet your return and risk objectives. You can opt for using derivatives that would allow you to separate sources of risk and return, and construct funded or unfunded investment strategies. You can have dedicated portfolio managers and analysts with a particular emphasis on relative value and credit, including high yield and emerging debt.

Portfolio management is one more area which needs an asset management solutions company. The portfolio managers blend individual investment decisions into a fully diversified local, global or specialist portfolio with attractive risk-return characteristics. You can get tailored investment portfolios capturing best investment ideas. These companies also endeavour to invest the pooled funds of retail investors in securities and they offer diversification, liquidity and professional management service.

Hence an asset management services company are better options than individual investors. They provide advisory services for various issues like property, asset management and restructuring to corporations, institutions, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, governments and individuals. They are very helpful in managing your assets. Nowadays you can learn about them and measure them according to your parameters on the Internet also. Choose one and live a peaceful life.

New Eu Member States To Join The Eurozone – A Move For Good Or Ill?

New Eu Member States To Join The Eurozone - A Move For Good Or Ill?

In May 2004, the European Union welcomed ten new member states into its fold. Now, almost three years later, four of these states (Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia & Malta) are getting ready to adopt the Euro as their currency from January 1st 2008. But what effect will this have, not only on the local economies, but also the increasing number of expatriates owning properties or living in these countries?

Please note that Slovenia has already joined the Eurozone on January 1st 2007, whereas preparations in the remaining new member states are in various states of advancement.

Taking Cyprus as an example, we take a short look at how the adoption of the Euro as the Republic‘s national currency is likely to affect the country as a whole.

Aside from taking the main leap of becoming a fully fledged member of the European Union on May 1st 2004, Cyprus took its first step on the road to the Euro by joining the ERM II (Exchange Rate Mechanism 2) in May 2005. Since this time, the nation‘s economy has been geared towards meeting the economic criteria for joining the Eurozone, a goal initially set for January 1st 2007, but later adjusted and finalised for January 1st 2008.

Although the Cyprus Pound currently fluctuates against the Euro, exchange rates are due to be ‘locked‘ in August of 2007 in final preparation for the adoption of the new currency. Barring an ‘overlap period‘ of one month, the Euro will then become the only legal tender in Cyprus, with banks being obliged to exchange coins at par until 2009 and notes until the year 2017. The balances of any bank accounts held in the Republic will be automatically converted on January 1st 2007. No cheques written in Cyprus Pounds may be used after this date.

What about prices of goods and services?

One thing which residents of Cyprus, and indeed any other country joining the Eurozone, need to be aware of is specific price inflation, also known as ‘rounding up‘, a phenomenon seen in other countries joining the currency. Another, rather more specific to the Republic of Cyprus, is the anticipated devaluation of its currency in the run-up to the Euro’s adoption. Although devaluation was dismissed out of hand in a statement by the Central Bank‘s Governor on February 13th 2007, there are continuing concerns about the Cyprus Pound‘s stability during coming months. Should this become an issue, overseas foreign property owners in the Republic will see something of a drop in local real estate values compared to their ‘home currenciesv prior to the sharp rises predicted during 2008.

It should be noted that it will still be possible to hold Cypriot bank accounts in Pounds Sterling after the Euro’s adoption in January 2008, although these will of course continue to fluctuate against the local currency as before.

How will interest rates be affected?

The fact that Cypriot interest rates are substantially lower than their UK equivalents has long acted as an attraction for British homebuyers in the Republic. This trend is likely to continue unabated, since Euro interest rates are even lower than current Cypriot rates.

What about other effects?

The move into the Euro’s fold will of course offer a greater amount of stability to local economies, since the risk of exchange rate fluctuations will effectively be eliminated compared to the rest of the European Economic Community and greatly reduced when compared to the rest of the world. Furthermore, it will of course be far easier to gauge relative prices in comparison to other member states in the Eurozone. It is generally anticipated that the Euro’s adoption will result in greater European investment, not only in Cyprus, but other member states also.

But, as they say: ‘The show’s not over until the fat lady sings’. Although the countdown to the Euro’s adoption is ticking away to itself, there are of course still a number of final hurdles to be overcome which may well result in a subtle variation between current projections and the finished article in each country. We shall have to wait until January 1st 2008 to see.

One thing seems certain however; 2007 should prove an outstanding year for foreign investments, not only in Cyprus, but Estonia, Latvia & Malta too.

Profitable and Sustainable Investments in West Africa

Profitable and Sustainable Investments in West Africa

The investors are seeking safe investment opportunities in West Africa, which offers opportunities of investment in rainforests and agricultural land. West Africa has abundant natural resources, and ecosystem is known for Niger Delta and tropical forests. West Africa owns more than 50% of the resources of the region, which includes the water reserves and the water basins.

West Africa is emerging out of political and economical instability. The region is considered complex in terms of religion, beliefs, dialects and linguistic divide. It is famous for the availability of huge natural resources in the form of human resources, power (gas and oil) and mineral resources. Despite the presence of such natural resources the region had a low rate of growth and development. The policies of the community, its culture and historical factors have been creating barriers to foreign direct investments.

The barrier to investments in West Africa is

There are numerous economic benefits of the management of resources such as –

In the previous decades many countries in the West Africa identified the need to promote investments to ensure food security and to promote development, which was based on support from foreign agencies. The poor management of agricultural land in West Africa had been a major reason for the poor production of food grains. Due to poor supply of food grains, the rate of food grains also increased in West Africa.

The global demand for agriculture related investments have increased due to the rise in commodity price, which was temporarily eased in 2009. The global population is increasing and the living standard is also improved as the people are earning more. But the production of food grains is not adequate to fulfil the demand. People need food grains to ensure food security and to prevent food crisis. This led to the promotion of support for investment in agricultural land and initiated programs, which were designed to support investments from foreign countries.