Archive for September 2009

Spain Property ever more Appealing

September 29, 2009

British sun seekers – now is the time to pounce on the second home on the Costa del Sol!!  It may never have seemed possible to actually get your hands on a place in Spain, let alone on the coast but when you hear that house prices there are around 40 – yes fourty – per cent lower than in 2007, it sounds as though now would be a good time to get in touch with an overseas mortgage broker! 

But wait – before you reach for the chequebook, make sure you are in it for the right (or most profitable) reasons.  For anyone who is interested in pure investment and quick returns is not best served…why?  The answer is simple: the demand in houses is not yet outnumbered by availability, so at the moment it is more about being able to get your hands on amazing deals in great locations – the returns are likely to come over a longer period of time. 

Therefore, this latest appealing prospect is more for those who want a second home for glorious summer holidays – not for buy-to-let investors after a quick profit!


New investment ideas – worth it or steer clear?

September 28, 2009

It seems as though money advice-givers and analysts are trying to find ever-increasing ways to invest.  In the current economic climate – the UK struggling out of recession, with a government headed for an uncertain future – economists are exploring investment opportunities. 

 Some have become less popular, others are growing again.  For instance, Brits are returning to the Spain and France property market like bees to the honey.  Corporate investors are eyeing up the commercial property market again – a sector which suffered a fall since its heyday in 2007. 

 Smalltime investors are also seeking out new ways to grow their money – and aside from gold, which in its various forms is still gaining in strenghth, there are other places said to be worth a look.  The Times includes memorabilia, wine and coins in its list of good places to explore. 

 But surely these take just as much effort, time, research and knowledge as any type of investment?  Sure, we all know what a bottle of wine looks like, but can we tell a real investment from a dud?  It may be easier to grasp in concept than a complicated investment fund, but the losses can be just as great.  The same goes for collectables – this is an area which is dominated by experts and there are just as many false ‘growth’ opportunities as there would be in any financial tool. 

 It may sound like fun, but before plunging in it could be worthwhile really doing the homework.  Just as you would with CFDs, financial spread betting, forex trading, funds, or share dealing.

Is Gold a “Safe” Bet?

September 10, 2009

Is gold worth getting excited about?  This debate seems to continue on and Tuesday’s $1,000-an-ounce mark seems to have stoked the fire once more.  Is it a safe bet when currencies weaken?  The price of gold has historically been linked with the US dollar.  Dollar goes down, gold goes up – so goes the pattern.  But relying on gold as a safe bet could still be a risky strategy – after all, it is no secret that the price of currencies fluctuate constantly and often wildly so. 

Another ‘pro gold’ argument reasons that it could be the way to go if inflation kicks in.  This is a fear sweeping Britain as the Government’s quantitative easing programme continues.  However, many economists say that the risk is exaggerated by doom mongers.

The value of gold has risen by 20 per cent within the last year and there are plenty of investors keen to get involved.  But perhaps it is wise to bear in mind that gold, while being a worthy tool, may not be a ‘sure-fire’ way to gain big returns.  Always weigh up the risks!

Joe Public and the Recession aftermath

September 9, 2009

The Lehman collapse may feel like it happened about a month ago but in actual fact it has been almost a year since the world teetered on the financial crisis cliff!

Luckily, we have emerged from the worst and can now look back over the last year of credit crunch gloom, recession, job cuts, job losses, less money in the pocket, rejected credit applications, inflation alerts, deflation alerts, budget nightmares, current account deficits, debt debt debt…

Well – perhaps it will be a while before we really feel that we are out of the danger zone.  While governments and banks cope with the direct aftermath, we at home are also dealing with the after-effects of a financial disaster zone.  After all, millions of us are now out of work and it will take some time before jobs start becoming more available again!  Add to that the fact that debts are piling up and there is less money to cover the basic weekly household costs – clearly there is still work to be done!

For the truly desperate, there are still ways to access money.  Payday loans, logbook loans and bad credit loans are all products specifically aimed at people who may have a low income or have problems with credit.  They are great for covering emergency costs but anyone considering one of these products should thing carefully before delving in.  After all, a loan is a loan which means you will need to pay it back – with interest.

Gold goes Up!

September 8, 2009

Gold has reached a cool $1,000 an ounce – its highest level in six months.  Good news or bad?

Well, here’s the problem.  Some analysts are saying that the higher price means good news, that investors are showing signs of growing confidence.  Growing confidence means a better investor climate – which in turn means the recession must be easing up yet more.  However…

On the other hand are the analysts who say that gold is always relied on as a safe haven especially during periods of inflation.  Therefore, the fact that gold investors are on the up means that they are shying away from other areas.  This means that in fact confidence is pretty weak.

So once again, we are left feeling slightly confused – just what is the state of the UK recession climate?  When will we be in the clear?  And how do investors really feel?

Brits paying off debts at record speed

September 2, 2009

Oh dear.  It isn’t quite going according to plan for the Bank of England and the Government.  OK, so they reduced the base interest rate to record lows and hoped that the average Brit would make the most of new much lower mortgage repayments to go out and spend.  Unfortunately, Joe Average is deciding to use the cheaper payments to get rid of his debts. 

In July, for the first time since records began in 1993, consumer debts have fallen and new lending has gone down.

The fact that the borrowers are trying to get rid of their debts should be a good thing, shouldn’t it?  After all, the UK has become notorious for its spending habits, its lack of debt control.  Now that it is trying to gain ground and become more sensible, it is only being blamed for putting the economy’s fragile recovery at risk!

Personal loans, credit cards and other loan products are still available but being treated with new caution.

Seems you can’t win!

Investment Do’s and Don’ts…

September 1, 2009

Banks haven’t exactly been adored in the press since the world’s economy tumbled.  While a recovery seems to be on the cards for many developed nations (albeit a tentative one), banks are not in the clear just yet.  Mistrust and suspicion still surrounds many financial institutions and it may take some work for many UK high street banks and building societies to build up their reputations again.

The latest blow to these institutions is a growing number of people who claim they were mis-sold investment products by their local bank.  Approached by a bank representative, these people were allegedly sold so-called ‘guaranteed’ funds, bonds and other products which were apparently designed to increase returns for the customer.  Now, people say that in fact the products did the exact opposite, and are suffering the consequences of wasted capital.

What can we do about it?  Well, to start with you could always turn down bank investment offers until you are sure about what is involved.  Talk to a third party – a qualified financial adviser who will give you unbiased advice – and make sure you know what you are getting involved in.  If a fund or similar product sounds complicated or you simply do not understand it – then avoid it. 

If you really are keen to invest – and investment can be a worthwhile, exciting and rewarding experience – it might be better to research products, evaluate how much you can afford to put into investment and then approach an expert broker yourself.  Unlike regular banks, specialist services (such as forex brokers) can offer a tailor-made service and provide plentiful training tools and advice.