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Parents are Now Using Loans and Credit Cards to Pay Childcare Costs

Parents are Now Using Loans and Credit Cards to Pay Childcare Costs

Parents in the UK, specifically Northern Ireland are spending more than £6,000 per child, per year in nursery fees today. The latest statistics show that childcare costs for children under five years stand at £117 and parents are being forced to work less or take loans to be able to cope with childcare costs. More than half of all Northern Ireland parents say they rely on other family members and grandparents to help them with childcare issues.

What’s more is the £6,000 annual childcare cost per child, which represents approximately 25% of the standard salary of a Northern Ireland worker, can increase drastically to more than £8,000 for many parents per part-time place. According to a recent Belfast Telegraph interview involving two mothers, Alison Bingham from Belfast and Jennifer Burns from Glengormley, exorbitant childcare costs have made it impossible for the two mothers to consider having more children considering they now spend approximately £10,000 and £15,500 each, respectively. Alison and Jennifer have two children each.

Killick & Co. Survey

The most recent Killick & Co. annual childcare cost survey showed that more than 42% of mothers surveyed in Northern Ireland indicated a significant rise in childcare costs over the last two years. The Killick & Co. Survey also showed that 50% of those polled had reduced their work-hours by a day every week in the past 5 years due to childcare costs and a further 25% have cut down working hours by two days every week.

Besides affecting working hours, hefty childcare fees (which now take up to 33% of the total household income) are influencing most parents’ position on having more children. According to Svenja Keller, Wealth Planing head at Killik and Co., the findings show how people’s lifestyles have been forced to change because of family. For instance, women are being forced to work less than men.

Also, more Northern Ireland parents (over 61%) now rely on extended family members to assist with childcare. According to Keller, grandparents now bare the biggest burden of helping with childcare tasks as parents cope with childcare costs and work-life balance. Data from the survey shows that Northern Ireland childcare costs stand at £6,084 annually, per child compared to £5,044 and £5,772 in Scotland and Wales respectively.

Aoife Hamilton, the Employers For Childcare Policy & Information manager agrees with Keller’s sentiments that childcare costs have become burden on families. According to Hamilton, the childcare bill has surpassed the rent, mortgage, food, and energy bill, a trend which is shocking and needs immediate attention especially when 25% of parents are turning to credit cards, borrowing from friends and family or even taking out payday loans to cater for childcare expenses.

According to Hamilton, the effect isn’t just financial. Employers For Childcare research shows that childcare costs are influencing working patterns causing many parents to leave work and limit their career opportunities which is, in turn, contributing to stress and the overall well-being of many families.

Employers For Childcare has a family benefit advice service for working parents (Free helpline: 0800 028 3008) who want to get work or those keen on maximising their income/managing childcare costs. In 2017, the benefit advice service conducted 6,542 personalised calculations.

Case study one: East Belfast Couple: 40-year old Alison Bingham and 38-year old Engineer husband

The couple has two children, Anna aged 4.5 years and Hayley aged 2.5 years.

Alison and Richard earn a combined £75,000 per year and spend £9,984 on childcare. According to Alison, the couple uses both formal and informal childcare services. Hayley attends formal childcare 3-full days a week while Anna is there three times every week on part time basis. Their grandparents help out 2 days every week. Alison and her husband can’t afford to cut back working days so they have to foot the childcare bill. Things are however better, according to Alison since the total childcare cost last year was £13,500 given both children were in nursery three days a week. Besides cost, the constant drop-offs and pick-ups are stressful. Having more children is not an option.

Case study two: Glengormley couple; Health service admin Jennifer Burns, 39 years and civil servant husband Christopher 35 years

The couple has two children, Alex aged 5 years and Jake aged 2. The couple has an annual combined salary of £38,000. £15,500 goes to yearly childcare costs. Alex is in nursery 5 days every week (part-time) while Jake is there 5 days a week full-time. According to Jennifer, the couple gets tax credits which cater for approximately 52% of their total childcare costs but the remaining £600 that must be paid every month is higher than the couple’s mortgage.

According to the couple, working part-time isn’t an option. If it were not for tax credits, Jennifer admits she would be forced to work part-time. She agonises having to pay ninety pounds more than she earns per month so that someone else can look after her children when she is at work. Having more children is also unthinkable for this couple considering the increasing childcare costs and the fact that Jennifer hasn’t had a pay hike in 8 years.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Brave: What is it? Is it The Safest & Fastest Web Browser Today? Everything You Need to Know

Brave: What is it? Is it The Safest & Fastest Web Browser Today? Everything You Need to Know

Brief history: Brave.com

Brave.com is arguably the safest, fastest and newest web browser available today. The browser has several developers the most notable being Brendan Eich, a renowned American technologist who happens to be the creator of JavaScript and co-founder of the Mozilla Corporation, Mozilla project, and Mozilla foundation. Brendan Eich is the Co-founder & CEO of Brave Software, the software company that developed Brave. Brave Software was founded on 28th May 2015 by Brendan and Brian Bondy.

Background: How did Brave come to be?

Eich initially announced Brave on 20th January 2016. The browser aimed to offer a safer and better web browser experience. Eich wanted to provide an alternative to the typical system of providing free content to web users supported by ad revenue generated by publishers and content creators on the internet. Eich saw an underlying threat arising from the growing conflict between internet users and advertisers i.e. advertisers have increasingly enjoyed incentives to collect as well as store detailed personal information about internet users for them to create more effective ads yet internet users have become increasingly averse to the collection/storage of their personal information as well as their activities online.

Brave claims to remove intrusive internet ads and block website trackers. The browser also claims to boost online privacy by restricting data sharing with advertising customers. These claims have been supported overwhelmingly by tech product review sites like CNet and TechWorld earning the browser the title of the best secure browser available today. There have also been a few sceptics such as technology News Company Ars Technica which doesn’t find Brave’s advertising policy favourable.

Publisher contributions

Brave publishers are rewarded via a system known as Brave payments. Brave uses this system to compensate for ad blocking/substitution. The system allows users to set a budget they are willing to donate (to the sites they visit). Brave then calculates a % assigned to each site via an algorithm and publishers receive a transfer in cryptocurrency if they choose to join the system. Ars Technica has been very critical of this policy although publishers are at will to participate and users make critical decisions on ad revenue.

Operating system/release information

The browser supports all the major operating systems i.e., Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and macOS. Brave is written in three programming languages namely; C, C++, and JavaScript. Brave’s stable release on Windows, Linux, and macOS took place on 13th January 2018. The iOS and Android stable release took place on 13th and 14th December respectively.

Funding

Brave Software raised money from private investors, angel investors and leading venture capital companies. The most notable funding came from Pantera Capital, Propel Venture Partners, Foundation Capital, Digital Currency Group and FF Angel. Initial seed money amounted to $7 million ($2.5m from private investors and $4.5m from angel investors and leading venture capital firms).

Brave’s mission

Brave is branded as a web browser with users’ interests at heart. According to the founders, the web browser is on a brave mission to fix the internet by giving internet users a; safer, better and faster browsing experience, something which has been missing for decades.

Brave also offers a new and unique way of supporting content creators via an attention-based rewards ecosystem. Brave is also on a mission to change how people think about the internet. The browser is open source and built by tech professionals who are privacy-focused and performance-oriented.

Top benefits of using brave web browser

There are several incentives for switching to Brave; They include;

• Block ads and trackers: You have the power to block ads and trackers which have made it impossible to browse safely through the web. Brave protects your privacy online.

• Browse faster: Brave is 2-8 times faster than regular browsers on mobile, two times faster than regular browsers on desktop. Brave is able to offer faster speeds because of blocking ads/trackers.

• Save money: Brave promises as $23 per month saving in data charges incurred downloading ads and trackers.

• Save time: Brave’s speeds are bound to save the average internet users hundreds of hours of precious time every year. The browser goes as far as tracking the time users save which is approximately 5 seconds loading time per page on both desktop and mobile.

• Avoid infections: Brave blocks ads/trackers which reduces your chances of getting malware, spyware and ransomware attacks. Brave also has HTTPS upgrades which translate to more encrypted connections.

Brave is worth a try given the current security and privacy concerns online. In 2016 alone, malware, spyware and ransomware infections increased by a record 132%. Brave promises to deal with this problem and many others, once and for all. What’s more is the browser is by Brendan Eich a renowned technologist who also happens to be behind Mozilla, one of the most popular web browsers in use today.

If you use credit cards online, apply for loans online such as payday loans or perform other sensitive transactions online, you need the safest web browser you can get.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Risk Management Basics for Successful Investing

Risk Management Basics for Successful Investing

Introduction to risk management

Risk management is important on a business and individual level. You need to assess the risks of getting into certain investments for you to be able to choose the best investments. Risk management can be defined as the process of reducing risk. The process begins with identifying possible risks before evaluating and using available resources to monitor as well as minimise those risks.

A risk arises from uncertainty. Accidents, natural disasters, death and similar eventualities are good examples of risks. Risk management is concerned with identifying dire risks and using appropriate tools to deal with those risks. A risk prioritization process is used to identify those risks capable of causing great loss or have a higher probability of occurrence. The likelihood of an occurrence and impact of risk are the two most important factors in risk management. For instance, extensive risk management is required when the impact of risk and likelihood of occurrence is high. The opposite is true. It’s also crucial to note that risk management is an ongoing process that starts with assessment then proceeds with evaluation, management and measurement of risk before repeating the process again.

Risk source

As the name suggests, risk source is simply, the source of a risk which can either be internal or external. External risk sources are sources beyond our control. Internal risk sources are risk sources which can be controlled or managed to a certain extent. A perfect example of an external risk source is bad weather or natural calamities. We don’t have any control over such risks. Risks such as fire are internal in nature since we have a certain level of control. For instance, you can fireproof your home or business to reduce losses in case of a fire. Once you identify possible risks in any given scenario, it is time to assess those risks to identify the likelihood of occurrence followed by a risk management plan and implementation characterised by security controls/mechanisms for controlling risk.

It is worth noting that there are risks that may be present but hard to identify. A good example is a perpetual inefficiency in a company’s production process that accumulates over time translating to operational risk. Managing risk for successful investingYou must invest to gain financial independence. However, it is impossible to eliminate investment risk. You can use some investment strategies to manage investment risk which stops many people from investing like they should.

There are two main types of investment risks namely systemic risks which are risks affecting the economy and non-systemic risks which are risks affecting a company or small part of an economy. Below are important strategies to consider when managing risk.

1. Prudent asset allocation

You should include different asset classes in your investment portfolio to protect yourself against risks affecting particular asset classes. Prudent asset allocation also increases your probability of getting satisfactory returns even if one or more asset classes /investments don’t yield any returns or drops in value. Ideally, you are supposed to invest in many different asset classes, i.e. bonds, stocks, real estate, etc. as opposed to concentrating on one asset class.

2. Diversification

Diversification is similar in some ways to prudent asset allocation. The main difference is you can diversify in one asset class. For instance, instead of buying one company stock, you can buy many stocks in different categories to reduce overexposure. A perfect example would be dividing up your money and buying energy stocks, agriculture stocks, technology stocks instead of buying one stock with the same amount of money.

3. Hedging

You can also hedge to reduce investment risks. Hedging involves buying a security for the sole purpose of offsetting potential losses arising from other investments. Taking insurance is a form of hedging. It is, however, worth noting that this risk management strategy adds to the overall cost of investing which can erode returns. Hedging is also speculative in nature so it’s essential to use this strategy with caution. Ideally, you need to do thorough research to use this risk management strategy effectively.

4. Rebalancing

This is another risk management strategy ideal when you are already investing. Rebalancing involves periodically selling investments that take up a significant portion of your portfolio. As mentioned above, risk management is an ongoing process. If you assess your investments over time and realise you are overexposed in a certain asset class, it is prudent to rebalance, i.e., sell off a portion of such investments and invest in underperforming assets. Rebalancing is about selling high and buying low. In a nutshell, investing is risky. Luckily there are ways to manage risk which involve understanding the source and nature of risk and taking the necessary steps to manage or reduce those risks.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

4 Shocking Truths about Paying For Financial Advice

4 Shocking Truths about Paying For Financial Advice

Before you spend your hard-earned money on anything, especially financial advice, it’s important to understand what you are getting in return. It’s tough trying to invest or make informed financial decisions on your own. Some people don’t have enough knowledge. Others lack the time and passion. That’s where financial advisors come in handy. However, you must know some truths before you pay for financial advice. Here are four shocking truths about paying for financial advice.

1. There is serious conflict of interest

Most people don’t know this, but there are massive conflict of interest issues in the financial advice industry. The reason behind this is simple. Financial advisors receive financial incentives for recommending certain financial products and services. For this reason, the recommendations you receive may not necessarily be the best for you. The conflict of interest factor is huge in the financial advice industry since you (the client) are trying to make money off your money and financial advisors are trying to do the same. Furthermore, you are more attractive (as a client) if you have a higher net worth (more money to invest).However, this shouldn’t be mistaken to mean that all financial advisors care about themselves more than their clients. Some advisors want to see you get the best returns. Unfortunately, most will give you advice based on the amount of commission/s they will earn from you. It is therefore important to understand what’s in it for an advisor before paying and acting on advice. For instance, you should find out if your preferred financial advisor has any affiliations with the financial products/services. In a nutshell, you must be certain you won’t receive biased advice because your advisor will earn a commission or other perks, directly or indirectly.

2. Financial professionals can never substitute personal financial education

Many people who seek financial advice are guilty of relying too much on the advice they get. This shouldn’t be the case. You need to have a basic understanding of what your advisor is doing/telling you to do with your money. Educating yourself constantly also allows you to ask tough questions. You are in a better position to compare returns, analyse risk, identify conflict of interest issues, question advice, etc. if you have basic knowledge and you are open to learning. Unscrupulous financial advisors love clients who have no knowledge or interest in learning about investments. Your chances of getting advice to buy a financial product or service you don’t need are very high if your financial advisor notices you don’t know anything or know very little about investing and you aren’t interested in learning. Financial advisors work best if you are equipped with basic financial knowledge and a genuine learning interest so you still need to learn even if you are paying for financial advice.

3. Most financial advisors fail at helping their clients

This is also shocking but true. The fact is; the people who help you the most and make a lasting difference in your life are those who genuinely care about you. We’ve already talked about conflict of interest above, so it’s easy to determine if most financial advisors really care about their clients. What’s more is; financial advice is just a small part of the equation. Most financial advisors fail because their help stops after giving advice yet many factors come into play after a person has received financial advice. For instance, you need to act which is rather obvious but commonly overlooked. Many financial advisors give their clients direction but fail to give them the passion to act and other important tools like goals. However, let’s not forget the fact that financial advisors aren’t obligated to follow up. Furthermore, they don’t gain much by doing this unless they are working with high net worth individuals. Now you know why high net worth individuals tend to get the best financial advisory services.

4. You don’t need to pay for financial advice

Since you still need to know about personal finance and be open to learning even if you have a financial advisor, do you need to pay for advice? Well, No! You don’t have to pay for financial advice. You can learn everything yourself and be able to make informed financial decisions. The internet is packed with free and useful financial information and resources. Don’t get me wrong though. A financial advisor will save you a lot of time you would have otherwise spent learning about investing, analysing opportunities, etc. Nevertheless, you must be financially literate to become rich!

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Blockchain Technology and Why It Is Here to Stay

Blockchain Technology and Why It Is Here to Stay

Beginner guide to blockchain

Blockchain can be described as an incorruptible digital ledger or record of transactions programmed to record financial transactions as well as everything of value. The brainchild behind this technology is bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto. Blockchain, however, goes beyond bitcoin or any cryptocurrency for that matter. Blockchain technology has become transformational because of the mere fact that it allows digital information to be distributed as opposed to being copied. Cryptocurrencies are not the only invention using blockchain today which makes it important to understand the basics of the technology. Like the internet, you just need to understand the basics of blockchain to use it/see its value.

Let’s get started.

Blockchain as a distributed database

Blockchain technology works like a distributed database which regularly updates itself, i.e., like a spreadsheet which duplicates itself multiple times across a network and updates itself frequently. Google docs is a great example of blockchain technology where you can update a document you have shared with many people simultaneously. The blockchain database isn’t stored in one location which simply means that records are truly public and easy to verify. Information held on the database is shared and continuously reconciled which offers obvious benefits. For instance, there is no specific center of information that can be corrupt or hacked. The data is also accessible to everyone online.

Before Google docs, people used to send word documents or spreadsheets to one another via mail to make revisions. The problem with this scenario is the back and forth transferring of documents as well as the difficulty in tracking changes. Blockchain has solved this problem introducing two major benefits. First and foremost, blockchain can’t be controlled by one single person or entity. Blockchain also eliminates risks associated with having a single point of failure since blocks of information are identical across the network. Blockchain robustness has been tested and proven. Since the invention of Bitcoin back in 2009, the Bitcoin blockchain has remained operational without any significant disruption.

Blockchain technology properties:

Transparent and incorruptible

The blockchain network has been built to check itself every ten minutes automatically. The network conducts a self-audit reconciling all transactions happening in 10-minute intervals. Every group of transactions occurring in this interval is known as a block. This makes blockchain unmatched in regards to transparency since data is embedded as a whole in the network and it is public. Also, data can’t be corrupted. In theory, the blockchain network can be corrupt by overriding the entire network using a high amount of computing power. In practice, this is impossible. Attempting to take control of a blockchain system such as the Bitcoin blockchain would destroy the value of Bitcoins removing any incentive for such an undertaking. Blockchain technology has solved fundamental problems like manipulation. Fiat currencies are subject to manipulation from central banks and governments. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which utilise blockchain can’t be manipulated by individuals or entities. This is what makes cryptocurrencies so attractive. Many people today have little trust in large corporations and entities because they have betrayed people’s trust in the past.

Decentralisation

Blockchain is decentralised by design. Whatever happens in a blockchain network is a function of the entire network. Blockchain creates a new way of verifying transactions which could render transactional aspects of conventional commerce unnecessary. Stock market trades could soon be in blockchain making them available to all. Blockchain could also be implemented in public record keeping such as land registries. Decentralisation has become a reality and blockchain leading the way.

Enhanced security

By storing data in multiple locations, blockchain has eliminated risks associated with holding data centrally. Blockchain networks don’t have centralised vulnerable points which computer hackers can target. Since internet security is a huge problem today, the world is expected to turn to blockchain technology for solutions. We already have usernames and passwords for protecting our identity as well as assets online. Blockchain uses encryption technology. In cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, for instance, users have public keys which are randomly generated numbers acting as user addresses on the blockchain. You also need a private key which works like a password to get access and send Bitcoins. Blockchain technology utilises private keys to offer access/use of digital assets. However, the private key must be kept safe preferably offline for safekeeping.

Other advantages of blockchain technology

Besides enhancing security and enhancing transparency, blockchain is also cheaper compared to traditional accounting systems. The technology has eliminated the need for middlemen such as banks resulting in lower fees in the case of cryptocurrencies. Blockchain has also reduced transaction time as well as transactional errors. In a nutshell, blockchain technology may be relatively new and complex; however, the technology is here to stay and be applied on all areas that require decentralisation and related benefits.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Christmas Fashion Tips on a Budget

Christmas Fashion Tips on a Budget

It’s that period of the year when you need to celebrate and look great. However, there is this misconception that staying fashionable is costly. Far from it! You don’t have to buy the latest designer clothes and shoes this Christmas to look and feel great. A £200 designer skirt can look the same as a £20 skirt minus the tag with a few tweaks. You should focus on value for money as opposed to brand names if you are keen on staying fashionable on a budget.

Here are some affordable creative holiday fashion tips to consider.

1. Take advantage of festive season offers

This is a great shopping tip to consider anytime let alone during festivities. There is, however, an abundance of offers during Christmas compared to any other time of the year. For this reason, you shouldn’t settle for regular prices especially when you are buying clothes, shoes and fashion accessories. You can save as much as 50% or more by taking time to find the best fashion offers around you.

2. Avoid expensive department stores

You should also consider shopping in thrift, resale or consignment shops for great fashion at unbelievable low prices. This tip applies if you don’t mind second-hand fashion. Expensive department stores have almost the same kind of fashion. The main difference is the price. The quality is usually the same. Also, you are bound to get a more fulfilling shopping experience since you will be ”digging” for treasure.

3. Consider tailored fashion

You can turn cheap clothes into great outfits by getting everything tailored. A £20 skirt can look better than a £200 skirt after quick stitching. Most cheap clothes look great provided they fit perfectly so, it will be worth taking them to a tailor before you wear. It’s also worth noting that simpler garments/clothes are easier and more affordable to tailor.

4. Consider DIY fashion

You can also apply your creativity to create your own fashion pieces. This holiday fashion tip is great when you have time and a creative flair. There are very many DIY instructional fashion videos online to draw inspiration from. It is possible to make great and unique fashionable outfits from scratch at a very low cost. You can make anything really from trendy t-shirts to pants and accessories like caps, hats and beanies. You can also make fashionable upgrades with simple tweaks like replacing buttons. Consider replacing plastic buttons on cheap fashion with something richer like metal, pearl or bone. You can shop for buttons online on eBay. You can also ”harvest” buttons from old clothes. Simple tweaks can upgrade cheap clothes into fashion statements without costing you anything.

5. Stick to basics

Consider this Christmas fashion tip when you are in doubts. It’s usually cheaper and better to update basic looks than try completely new pieces you aren’t sure about. Avoid new trends. They tend to be pricey and may fail to stand the test of time. Instead, stick to the basics. Spice up winter white, black and nude pieces with the new accessories. You can pair a black blazer with black pumps and big drip down earrings when wearing nude. You can play around with complementary colors and still look great with basic fashion. You can invest in a few staples if you have multiple holiday events to attend (many reasons to dress up). It is easy and affordable to change your look when you have timeless fashion pieces like a little black dress that goes with everything. You’ll just need to add different accessories or change hairstyles to get a completely different look.

6. Shop online

The internet is the best place to get deals today. The internet also offers better avenues for comparison ensuring you get the best price possible. You can visit comparison sites as well as use coupon codes to get great discounts. Before you buy anything from any online store, check if the store is offering coupon codes. It is also important to buy directly. The internet also has middlemen so make sure you are buying from the main retailer or authorized dealers. It is possible to look great this festive season without spending much. Fashion is usually expensive when bought on impulse. Take your time and find great offers. Stick to the internet for the best deals and consider being your own fashion designer. You can also tweak old pieces to get a completely new and trendy look and when in doubts, stick to the basics. You can never go wrong with classic/timeless fashion pieces and neutral colors. Avoid borrowing to stay fashionable. Short term loans like payday loans should be used for emergency needs only.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Christmas Gifting Tips 2017

Christmas Gifting Tips 2017

It’s that time of the year again. Christmas is several days away which means plenty of time with family, that well-deserved holiday and gifts of course. Gifting is fun, however it can be a costly affair if you don’t makes some considerations. It can also be daunting trying to figure out what you should get your loved ones. If you are clueless this time around on where you should start, what you should do/buy, here are some holiday gifting tips to consider.

1. Gift by observation – This Christmas gifting tip comes in handy when you don’t know what you should get your loved ones but you want something meaningful. You can get a lot of hints by observing your loved ones interests, what they are saying, current situation in life etc. For instance, household goods are great gifts for someone who just moved into a new house. This tip is powerful because it makes you understand the circumstances of the person you plan to gift. Considering people don’t usually ask for what they want or know what they really need, you are in a position to discover what would make them happy or what would make their lives easier.

2. Consider experiences over tangible gifts – Most people give their loved ones tangible gifts for Christmas. You can consider gifting an experience instead if you can’t think of a gift you haven’t given. For instance, you can pay for an experience they haven’t experienced like skydiving or deep-sea diving. Experiences are more memorable than tangible gifts because they last forever. Clothes and shoes will become old and forgotten. Experiences will last a lifetime especially when they are being experienced for the first time. Your kid will remember their first horse race forever but may have a hard time remembering their 11th horse race.

3. Consider DIY gifts – This tip is handy when you don’t want to spend too much and you want to offer a very personal/unique gift. DIY gifts are simply gifts you can make yourself. It could be anything really from artwork to a scarf. You can even write/perform a song/poem. DIY gifts are great because you include a bit of yourself. DIY gift ideas are also limitless. You can fuse your interests and those of your loved one together to come up with a gift they will cherish.

4. Check wish lists/social media – You can also use technology to get gift ideas for your loved one. If you are still finding it hard selecting a gift for your loved one, check their wish list on online stores like Amazon. This tip applies mostly if you share a computer or you can get access to their online store accounts. You may have to be a bit innovative to implement this tip i.e., do some stalking, check social media posts for clues. They will be surprised and delighted you bought them precisely what they wanted. Checking wish lists is a great way to gift someone exactly what they want without asking them and ruining the surprise.

5. Gift for a cause – This tip is great if you are planning to gift a minimalist, someone who seems to have ”everything” or someone who appears to desire nothing. We all have that one family member or friend who never seems to be impressed by gifts. You can consider a gift that touches on their interests i.e. a cause or charity they care about. You can check their line of work or hobbies for ideas. It would be great gifting them and giving back at the same time.

6. Ask – Sometimes you just need to ask to know the kind of gift you should buy. You can do so indirectly so it’s not too obvious. You can also ask outright if you are gifting someone who is a bit choosy. Some people don’t mind being asked what kinds of gifts they want. If you are dealing with such a person, ask by all means so that you can get them something they will cherish. In a nutshell, meaningful gifts are the best kinds of gifts.

As long as you follow the above tips, you shouldn’t have a problem gifting your loved ones this coming holiday. You don’t have to settle for typical gifts, waste precious time or spend a fortune in the process. Observe, think outside the box, make your own gifts, look for clues on social media and ask if you have to.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.

Bitcoin Sets a New High £14,262 ($19,000). Is It Too Late to Buy?

Bitcoin Sets a New High £14,262 ($19,000). Is It Too Late to Buy?

Bitcoin has set a new high, again. One Bitcoin will set you back £14,262 or $19,000 as of 16th December 2017 representing a 7% price increase in a day. This puts the total market capitalization of Bitcoin at £238 billion ($318 billion). Cryptocurrencies are now controlling over £420 billion according to the latest statistics. Following the latest statistics, Bitcoins Year to Date return is approximately 20 times.

Bitcoin which is the world’s most popular and valuable cryptocurrency has increased in value by over 30% in the past seven days alone. Back in 2009 when the cryptocurrency was created, one Bitcoin cost less than a pound which leads us to a critical question; is it too late to buy Bitcoin? Is the current run sustainable? We’ve gone through the trouble of doing some in-depth research and compiling options from leaders in the cryptocurrency space.

Here’s what you need to know.

Insider sentiments – According to Early Investing Co-founder and cryptocurrency expert Adam Sharp, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a whole are yet to reach their full potential. Snapchat’s first investor Jeremy Liew also shares similar sentiments. Liew has even been on record stating that the price of one Bitcoin could reach $500,000 realistically in a recent interview with Business Insider. Liew and Sharp attribute their views to Bitcoin’s surge in global adoption.

Bitcoin is officially a global currency with Asian countries leading the way on adoption. The latest statistics show that Asian countries like Japan and South Korea account for 75% of Bitcoin’s trading volume currently. This is clear given most Bitcoin buys are taking place using the Korean Won and Japanese Yen. Bitcoin is also growing in popularity in emerging countries and troubled economies. Bitcoin is preferred over traditional currency because it is impossible to manipulate. The currency isn’t controlled by entities like central banks and governments which can print more money or introduce fiscal and monetary policies resulting in inflation or deflation.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in extension solve a fundamental problem that has affected regular currency for decades. This is among the underlying reasons why experts like Adam Sharp feel the currency hasn’t scratched the surface yet. However, it is important to understand that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general, have shortfalls such as volatility. For instance, Bitcoin has registered more than a 10% drop in a single day in the past. Cryptocurrencies are at the mercy of news to a larger extent when compared to traditional currency. This can result in significant losses when you buy cryptocurrencies for speculative purposes. This simply means that the current rally could stop and reverse at any moment. The rally could also continue upwards given fiat currencies are still the most widely used form of currency today. According to Adam Sharp, Bitcoin offers a great opportunity in the future. However, new and alternative coins (altcoins) offer greater opportunities.

Are altcoins a better alternative?

Instead of focusing on Bitcoin, Sharp sees greater opportunities investing in altcoins or IPOs for new coins (Initial Coin Offers or ICOs). The creator of Bitcoin opened up the cryptocurrencies code allowing the creation of other coins. Currently, there are 1300+ cryptocurrencies today some of which are better than Bitcoin is some ways. Ripple, for instance, has a higher potential (in terms of settling global transactions). This is according to its developers. Some cryptocurrencies are also offering faster transaction times than Bitcoin making them preferable means of payment. Although Bitcoin already has an outright advantage (it enjoys approximately 50% of the entire cryptocurrency market share), new, cheaper coins promise higher gains. According to Sharp, investors stand to gain the best returns by participating in initial coin offers. With ICOs, investors don’t need to invest as much to enjoy unmatched returns. Sharp believes there are better returns buying into new cryptocurrencies just before they are launched or immediately after. There are however shortfalls to ICOs since cryptocurrencies are being launched every day most of which aren’t great. Furthermore, it is a new and challenging experience trying to figure out if a new cryptocurrency is worth it. ICO investors focus on the people behind the cryptocurrency as well as what is different about the new cryptocurrency. Unlike participating in IPOs for stocks, there is very little to work with when analysing ICOs. Nevertheless, investing in the right ICO offer enormous returns given the low initial price of such offers. In a nutshell, there’s nothing wrong with buying Bitcoin now, even later as many cryptocurrency experts have predicted the price of one Bitcoin may reach and surpass $500,000. However, you stand to enjoy higher returns buying newer cheaper and more promising coins.

Is the Company Director of Swift Money Limited.
He oversees all day to day operations of the company and actively participates in providing information regarding the payday/short term loan industry.