University Students Face Tight Financial Situation

With the new university term in full flow, both students and parents alike are being reminded of the financial anxieties higher education can bring.

In research carried out by Abbey, nearly a third (330,000) of students are due to start the academic year without any form of insurance to protect their possessions. Out of these respondents, an estimated 154,000 people have either not taken the time to think about getting cover or do not see their belongings as being worth enough money to warrant such a purchase. Meanwhile, 99,000 did give insurance consideration but stated that they had forgotten or ended up using the money originally intended to make such a purchase to buy something else, while some 77,000 claim to be unable to afford cover.

However, with the typical student taking 3,300 pounds worth of belongings with them to university, those without insurance may find financial pressures upon them rising if they are forced to meet the full costs of replacing items should they become a victim of theft. As a result, this could cause them to struggle in meeting demands on other areas of their finances, such as credit cards and loans. Meanwhile, the study showed that a tenth of students are taking goods valued at more than 5,000 pounds.

Prasad Shastri, head of insurance marketing for the financial services firm, stated that although the cost of higher education can put pressure on consumers’ spending, which may extend to other areas of their money management such as personal loans in later life, by not getting insurance they could be left open to greater financial risk.

He said: “Even though finances can be tight while at university, with a potential total value of belongings in excess of 3,000 pounds, students should not be viewing insurance as an optional extra, but as a necessity. Over 60,000 students believe the value of their belongings does not justify buying insurance, but we find many people are shocked with how much their belongings are actually worth. For the one in five students (19 per cent) who are hoping to rely on their parents’ policy for protection, we would also advise that they double-check this as they may not actually be covered.”

The most popular item to be found in a student’s room is a computer, with 95 per cent of students owning such an object. Books came second in the poll as they are in 92 per cent of respondents’ rooms. Meanwhile, TVs and stereos account for 61 and 53 per cent respectively, with musical equipment making up 27 per cent.

In related news, it has recently been suggested that those attending university for the first time should be offered guidance on how to manage their finances effectively. Last month, a spokesperson from the National Union of Students reported that as they are now living away from home and have access to forms of borrowing such as credit cards and loans, young adults should be taught the importance of creating a budget, how best to pay off their bills and other demands on their finances. And as a result of doing so consumers may be able to develop a responsible attitude towards their money management, which could mean they are in a more capable position to make payments on secured loans and mortgages in later life.

Britain’s Financial Position Has Strengthened Substantially

Britons may be in a better position to make repayments on loans and other forms of borrowing as new figures reveal that household wealth has increased dramatically during the last decade.

In a study released by Halifax, the net capital held by British consumers – after deducting any outstanding debt balances – stood at 6,336 billion pounds as of the end of last year. This is a growth of some 127 per cent from the 2,795 billion pounds recorded at the end of 1996. Overall, the total value of household assets increased by 4,343 billion pounds during the ten-year period to 7,627 billion pounds. Meanwhile, typical earnings and retail prices have surged by 52 and 30 per cent respectively.

And although household debt was shown to have risen from 489 billion pounds to 1,292 billion pounds during the period (growth of some 803 billion pounds), consumers could be more able to service demands for payments on secured loans and other forms of borrowing, as asset growth has more than quadrupled debt levels.

Overall, the drive in household wealth was attributed to the increasing value of property over the past decade as equity in residential homes accounted for a total of 2,702 billion pounds last year – a rise of 244 per cent from figures recorded in 1996. The news comes as net financial assets, which are made up of the value of financial holdings minus the value of outstanding consumer credit loans, surged from the 2,009 billion pounds noted in 1996 to 3,634 billion pounds in 2006.

Meanwhile, total savings in schemes such as bank and building society accounts, pensions and company shares are predicted to surpass the 4,000 billion pounds mark by the end of this year – a figure which is more than triple the amount of the nation’s household debt. The financial services firm also indicated that deposit-based savings make up about a quarter of British households’ total financial wealth.

Commenting on the figures, Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax Financial Services, said: “The financial position of households in total has strengthened substantially over the past decade. Whilst much has been said about the rise in debt, it is important to note that the value of households’ assets has risen at a faster pace. Housing has played an important part in increasing wealth, but there has also been a significant rise in the value of investments in financial assets in the last ten years.”

As a result of rising property prices, homeowners could well discover that they have more equity against which they are able to borrow. In August, Sue Anderson, head of member and external relations from the Council of Mortgage Lenders, reported that a rising number of consumers are looking to remortgage property as a means of debt consolidation, in which they are able to replace expensive unsecured debts with a more competitively-priced secured loan. However, Ms Anderson advised that those considering such a form of secured loans should ensure that they are always in a position to make repayments, something which could well be applied to anyone looking to apply for a loan.

How Could Your Hobby be the Key to Financial Success?

Virtually everyone has the knowledge they need to make a fortune. Everyone has an interest, hobby or has knowledge about a particular subject. It could be anything, and I really mean anything! From gardening to model planes, childcare, from dog training to sports, everyone has knowledge that someone else wants. The problem is that most people have no idea how much their knowledge is worth because information online is worth much more today.

The internet has become a force to be reckoned with. This monster of mass consumerism is ever increasing and does not seem to be slowing down. U.S. consumers spent $748 million on online content (information) during the first half of 2003, representing a 23 per cent increase over the same period in 2002. With the rate that the internet is growing, just imagine what the figures look like today.

Last year, Jupiter Research forecast that paid-content web revenues will grow four-fold by 2006, from $1.4 billion to $5.8 billion. The crazy thing is – many people are only just waking up to this reality. Gone are the days when all websites offer their data free of charge, now the hottest information is reserved for those who pay!

So if you have a hobby or interest you are the perfect candidate and I have two words for you – subscription website.

So what exactly is a subscription website? Well, it is a site that charges members a fee to enter the site and view the specialist content. And what do they all have in common? They are bringing in a steady, recurring cash flow for their owners, month after month, from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars with an endless array of topics. Having a successful paid membership site is one of the best ways to make money online. A thriving subscription site can give you the steady income of a chief executive …. but without the work or stress levels!

For example if you had just 200 people paying you just $20 a month, you would have a steady cash flow of $4000 / month, month after month, rain or shine. Many people achieve this in the first month or two that their site is up and running. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Many people have member only websites that produce 5 -10 times that amount of money! Choose the right topic and this could happen in your first 2-3 months. Let’s be honest; a steady cash flow is the key to financial security which is why the website is so superior to any other form of online product; it can mean a regular monthly income and best of all, no 9 to 5!

A subscription website is a combination of doing what you enjoy and sharing that knowledge with those who will truly appreciate it. The best subscription websites are run by those who have a passion for the subject matter they are supplying. This is the most critical decision you’ll have to make. Choose the right topic and you’ll have people rushing to give you money to enter your site, you will have no problem up-dating the site with new information, and in turn the site will remain fresh and exciting.

Find a topic that you are passionate about, and the odds are that enough other people are also passionate about the topic to make it a successful membership site. Since you are going to be spending time and effort building and maintaining your membership site, doesn’t it make sense to choose a topic that you enjoy?

But why would people want to pay for information when you can find pretty much anything at all on the net without any cost at all? It’s simple, the search for the info you require can be long and tedious. People are really paying for convenience, they want up to date information and they want it now. They also want the information to be comprehensive and original, they want to know that they can come to the site and that a particular topic will be covered thoroughly, they will genuinely learn more about the topic they have an interest in.
So why haven’t more sites jumped onto the paid-content bandwagon? A big reason has been the popular misconception that consumers won’t pay for content on the web. And where did this erroneous concept originate? From badly conducted research studies done by marketers and the media in recent years. Practically all of these surveys asked people who currently receive information and services on the web for free if they would pay for these services. Naturally, they gave the same response that anyone with any sense would give, which is: “I don’t want to pay for something that I currently get for free.” What a surprise!

The market is ripe and ready for those who catch on to this momentous idea.

Exceptionally high perceived value is the ultimate key. The paid online content offered must be so useful that users will be thrilled to gain access to it, will say “Wow!” when they do, and will experience instant value for money the very first time that they use it.

The best part is still to come! A subscription website can be run from home and once set up it pretty much runs itself. Software is available to run almost every element of your site automatically and membership software programs can reduce your workload by 75% – that can only be good news!

This funnel shows how the reader goes from browsing free content to being
a paid subscriber. When a prospect enters a website’s funnel of free content,
they discover that to reach the most valuable content, they must cross the
barrier to becoming a paid member.

The process works so well because the customer has already become involved in the process of narrowing down the information that he wants, selecting something that’s progressively closer to his desired information until, just before it’s in his grasp, he discovers that –of course– he has to become a paid member.

Topic ideas for a Subscription Website:

Newsletter Topics. If you already publish a successful newsletter, you are most likely a perfect candidate for a Membership Website. Placing your newsletter content, archives, and resources online in a ‘subscribers only’ website usually enhances the perceived value of your print newsletter to both current and potential subscribers.

Career Advancement. Perhaps the most frequent topic for successful subscription websites is career development. This includes sites that provide advice, tips, how-to’s, resource libraries, etc., about specific business skills or professions such as management, marketing, business start-up, financial services opening up a huge range of business opportunities. Successful career advancement sites usually focus on a very specific niche topics related to earning a living or bettering one’s career or business skills.

Personality based insider tips. A number of successful subscription websites are built around a well-known or respected person who provides subscribers with personal insights, tips, advice, information and opinions. In most cases, the person behind these sites has built a firm reputation and developed a following of people wanting access to the information this expert provides.

Downloadable Product Library. One of the more interesting subscription website models is based entirely on providing subscribers with a large library of downloadable products, usually computer programs, scripts, PDF files, audios, videos, tutorials or other materials that can be delivered digitally.

Hobbies / Leisure Activities or Collectors Sites. Concentrating on a particular and specific hobby or interest can be an excellent way to tap into a niche market. For example if your area of expertise is Carp Fishing this would be an excellent idea for a membership site, because it is a targeted market subject that will attract people with that specific interest, whereas the subject of fishing would be a massive area of expertise to cover in detail.

These are just a few ideas, truthfully, the possibilities are endless…

The Building Blocks of Financial Translation

The ever-increasing process of globalisation continues to put companies under pressure to communicate financial information in numerous languages. Whether it’s annual and shareholders reports or corporate contracts, all documents require translation of the utmost accuracy. The consequences of errors can be dire; issues with investors, clients or suppliers may arise, or strict financial regulations that differ from country to country could potentially be violated leading to costly legal troubles.

Finance is a complex industry that people spend years studying heard to break into, so it’s no surprise that financial translation is a highly specialised field. As well as there obviously being mind-boggling financial jargon in need of careful linguistic handling, translators must also know their way in and around cash flow statements, balance sheets, and audited account reports among other documents. They have to use their understanding of the culture surrounding the target language to ensure translations are localised to suit the financial sector in their native country, with words and phrases that could even be considered offensive in some cultures being avoided.

Looking away from the linguistic side of things and focusing more on the financial translation service itself, time and confidentiality are two factors that always play a major role in satisfying the needs of financial translation clients. Translation companies providing these services all have efficient project managements systems to allow them to keep up with the fast-paced world of finance, delivering assignments in quick time to corporate clients. The fastest turnaround times on offer usually include rushed turnaround times and/or delivery within 24 hours. Confidentiality is equally important because many documents can’t be published until approved by the Financial Services Authority, meaning a leak of information beforehand could prove disastrous and have long-lasting effects. State-of-the-art IT security tools often play a part in guaranteeing maximum security, and confidentiality agreements are put to translators to sign by the service provider in question.

No two clients are ever the same, making it likely that they will usually return to the same financial service to have the aforementioned aspects delivered on a consistent basis. Some companies specialise solely in financial translation, although it’s more likely that a business will hire a company or agency that operates in all areas of translation. Those in the corporate world can rest assured that there are a great many service providers out there who understand that having the finest details of financial documents understood in any language is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Becoming A High Qualified Financial Planner

For you to become a high qualified financial planner you must earn yourself a CFP Certification. The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification is the designation awarded to those professionals who were able to complete the formal CFP course program and successfully pass the CFP Certification Exam.

The CFP certification is a post graduate certification that is earned by those individuals who want to further their career, broaden their knowledge, refine their skills, apply for a higher or different job position, get a better salary compensation and most of all keep up with the standards of the financial services industry. This certification is what you need in order to boost up and strengthen your credibility and expertise in the financial services industry.

With the CFP certification you will be able to set a good impression to your potential clients and employers because this would imply that you were able to earn the highest level of professionalism, competency and ethical practices that are vital in order for you to practice your career independently and at the same time as a member of the financial services industry. Therefore, becoming a CFP will surely make you a high qualified one.

The CFP certification is definitely your key to a more successful career in the financial services industry. For you to become a CFP it is important that you meet all the requirements that are set by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). You must meet their educational qualifications wherein you must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher from any form of discipline as long as it is from an accredited college or university. Aside from that you must also complete the formal CFP course program that will require you to take special course subjects that are vital in financial services.

These are the subjects that you have to take:

Fundamentals in financial planning

Insurance planning

Income tax planning

Investment planning

Estate planning

Employee benefits planning

Retirement planning

Case study in financial planning

On top of the educational requirements you must also comply with the three years work experience as a financial planner, or an assistant to one or any career related in the financial services industry. After completing the said requirements you must then submit to a full background check for the CFP Board to know if you have any legal issues. And lastly, you must adhere closely to the Code of Ethics set by the CFP Board.

By earning a Certified Financial Planner Certification you will be able to establish a strong and solid career in the financial services industry. This will surely make you a more marketable and profitable financial professional. That only proves how much becoming a Certified Financial Planner Professional can change your career for the better.

A Guide to Marketing in the Financial Services

As the UK continues gradually onward towards economic stability, the notion of trust is increasingly being seen as the key to reforming the finance industry. Consequently, the way in which banks and building societies market and promote themselves as being trustworthy institutions is something that is likely to be debated by those within the industry, as well as government MPs and the public, consistently over the next year.

It is unsurprising then that many financial services courses are offering modules which specialise in marketing, and deal with the specific concerns of the promotion of organisations within this unique and competitive industry. So what does marketing in this area entail?

One of the most intriguing and challenging aspect of marketing for banks and other finance institutions is the diversity of consumers who use such services, simply put nearly everyone in the UK depends on the financial services in some shape or form – and may do in many different spheres such as business and individually. Therefore, when developing new strategies much time will likely be devoted to the differing types of customers therein – and how certain institutions are striving to appeal to such a huge range of people.

Following this study of potential customers, a portion of focus will also be dedicated to the notion of customer loyalty – a major factor within efficient bank management, and something which has recently proven quite difficult for many financial institutions to maintain throughout the financial crisis. Ensuring that customers continue trusting your institution, services and produce is one of the key aspects of being a marketer in this sector.

Perhaps one of the most significant aspects of financial services marketing is the way in which it varies within differing media channels, and how they change themselves. For example, notions of in-branch marketing will differ significantly to digital online marketing – and with the continuing rise of internet banking, such issues are more and more important to banks, customers and marketers respectively.

Marketing within the financial services industry is a unique and challenging. And with changing technologies, and post-crunch opinions of how banks should treat their customers, those who find themselves in such a role will have big responsibilities in an ultimately rewarding sector.

Study Financial Services