Equity Mix Remains Top Choice For Pension Investments

Prudential has reported that more than one in three people retiring within the next 10 years say they would prefer their pension to be invested partly in the stock market and the remainder in other types of investments, according to new research*.

Equity Mix

The nationwide study shows that consumer confidence in the stock market continues despite recent market and economic upheavals.

Prudential asked 1002 men aged 55 to 64 and women aged 50 to 59 who have a pension how they would want their pension fund invested if they could choose:

– 35% said partly in the stock market and the remainder in other investments (40% men, 29% women)
– 29% said only in cash or very low-risk investments (29% men, 30% women)
– 22% said they did not know (18% men, 28% women)

Since the FTSE 100 index of leading shares hit a five-year low of 3530 in the week of 2nd March this year, it has climbed back up. Currently the FTSE is at 4615 w/c 27 July 2009, compared to 4413 w/c 26 July 2008 so is 202 points higher than this time five years ago.**

Andy Brown, Prudential’s director of investment funds, said: “Despite immense volatility in the stock market over the past year or so, there is still evidence of consumer confidence in equities to deliver a promising return for pension investments over the long-term.

“What is certain as well is that many people have been spooked by the recent economic maelstrom and, unsurprisingly, would prefer their pension to be in cash or lower risk investments as they near retirement.

“We’ve seen a marked increase in the numbers of people looking for a home for their money which they can trust, knowing that it has a solid capital base and a long-standing history which will stand it in good stead for the future.

“I think investors can feel confident in stock market opportunities if they are given a decent choice in how they access real assets such as the equity market. Investors can really capitalise on the markets if they can access funds across a number of asset classes and sectors from a range of different investment managers allowing diversification across assets and manager styles.”

* Survey conducted by Research Plus among 1,002 UK males aged 55-64 and UK females aged 50-59 between 23 and 30 April 2009 using an online methodology
** Source: Yahoo finance FTSE 100 charts – correct as at date of issue: 27th July 2009

About Prudential:
“Prudential” is a trading name of The Prudential Assurance Company Limited, which is registered in England and Wales. This name is also used by other companies within the Prudential Group, which between them provide a range of financial products including life assurance, savings and investment products, such as a bond investment and pensions, including advice on company pensions.

Registered Office at Laurence Pountney Hill, London EC4R 0HH. Registered number 15454. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

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National Savings And Investments, The Government-Backed Savings And Investments Provider, Today Announced Its Annual Results For The Year To 31 March 2009 And For The First Quarter Of 2009-10

Highlights for the financial year for year ending 31 March 2009 included net financing of £12.5 billion – against a revised November 2008 forecast of £11 billion (within a range of £2 billion either side) – due to unsolicited savings deposits following the ‘flight to safety’ which began in mid-September last year and making sales of £8.5 billion through premium bonds – an increase of almost £2 billion from the previous year.

The ‘flight to safety’ is now over and NS&I is operating in a more challenging savings environment; however, the focus remains on balancing the interests of savers, the taxpayer and supporting stability in the wider financial services marketplace by maintaining an appropriate competitive position

Jane Platt, NS&I’s chief executive, said: “The global financial crisis, which began last September, meant that demand for our products increased dramatically despite us cancelling all discretionary marketing and led to us delivering £12.5 billion of net financing last year. I’m proud of the way the teams at our operations centres responded to this challenge and helped to ensure we remained open for business and maintained our high customer service standards, in spite of the unsolicited inflows of money.

“As the Bank of England base rate continued to fall rapidly and financial markets remained unusually volatile, we agreed with HM Treasury that NS&I’s Value Add target for 2008-09 would be temporarily suspended and no target set for the coming year. Our decision-making is now driven by the need to maintain a balance between offering a fair rate to our customers, delivering cost-effective finance to Government, and the need to support stability across the wider financial services marketplace by maintaining an appropriate competitive position.”

NS&I’s Annual Report and Accounts 2008-09 were presented to the House of Commons on 15 July 2009, pursuant to section 7 of the Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000.

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with almost 27 million customers and over £94 billion invested. It is best known for premium bonds, but also offers inflation-beating savings accounts, guaranteed equity bonds and guaranteed growth bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security, because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

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The British Public, Which Has Been So Severely Hit By The Economic Recession And The Crumbling Sterling Exchange Rate, Is Turning To Campervans And Motorhomes As Both A Cheap And Fun Alternative To The Foreign Holidays They Would Normally Have

The old VW Campervan, so beloved of hippies in the 1960s, is making a big comeback. The British public, which has been so severely hit by the economic recession and the crumbling sterling exchange rate, is turning to campervans and motorhomes as both a cheap and fun alternative to the foreign holidays they would normally have.

Holidays abroad are becoming increasingly expensive. The pound has lost a third of its value overseas in the last year, and Spain, which is probably one of the most popular destinations for holidaying Brits, has suffered inflation running at 14% for the last few years and is now more expensive to visit than Blackpool or Southend.

A spokesman for Staveley Head, one of the UK’s leading motorhome insurance providers, said “This time of year is always a busy period for campervan insurance enquiries, but this year we are experiencing an unprecedented number both on the internet and by telephone. People are finding it more financially viable to buy a used campervan or motorhome and have several holidays touring the UK than to spend the same amount of money on one big continental blow-out. And it’s not just the bottom end of the market that’s active. More and more people are buying the larger American style motorhomes which offer virtually all the facilities you can find in a hotel.”

Another advantage of the motorhome is that it easily accommodates the spontaneous holiday or long weekend that everyone wants when the British sun decides to shine. No last minute planning needed with a campervan , no airport delays or travellers cheques needed – just get in it and drive. How many people sleeping under canvas and wallowing in the mud at the Glastonbury Festival wished for a campervan.

The Staveley Head spokesman went on to say “It isn’t only motorhome insurance where we are seeing a substantial increase in activity. Caravans, both statics and tourers, appear to be increasingly popular this year. And the volume of caravan insurance policies we have issued in recent weeks is far exceeds the same period last year.”

Staveley Head is one of the country’s leading motorhome insurance brokers and will give you all the advice and assistance you need regarding this matter, including a very competitive campervan insurance quote, if you log onto their website at http://www.staveleyhead.co.uk You can also compare caravan insurance quotes and even take out motorhome insurance online.

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Sunwest Trust Is Now Offering Their Latest Product – The Individual 401k, Aka I401k

Sunwest Trust, Inc. announces the launch of the Individual 401k or i401k. “The i401k gives self-employed business owners the same tax benefits that large corporations have enjoyed for years,” says Terry White, CEO of Sunwest Trust, Inc. as well as White adds, “a number of additional benefits not offered by the traditional self directed IRA.”

Individual 401k

With an i401k, business owners may be eligible to contribute far greater amounts to their 401ks than they could with any other type of retirement plan. In addition, the i401k is much simpler to administer than a typical 401k plan.

Another advantage to the i401k is the Roth contributions that you are eligible to make. You can designate some or all of your deferrals as Roth contributions. Roth contributions are after-tax dollars, so those contributions will grow tax-free.

Unlike self directed IRA, you may take loans from your i401k.

Also, the i401k has lower administrative costs than most retirement options for a small business owner. Unlike a self directed IRA, with the i401k you do not need to have a self directed IRA custodian for your i401k. You may act as trustee for your own plan.

White does note, “that the i401k is not for every small business owner and that there are restrictions and guidelines someone must follow in order to be eligible.” White recommends, those who seek to invest using the i401k, “consult a tax professional to make sure that they are making their contributions correctly and to help them fill out the form 5500-EZ when their i401k accumulates over $250,000.00.”

To be eligible to have an i401k, you must be a self-employed business owner with no full-time employees other than your spouse. Whites also states, “investors need to make sure to check with their tax professional to find out the limitations and amounts that can be borrowed from the i401k plan.”

White adds, “The timing of the i401k could not be better for business owners as well as the company. Despite the tough economy, Sunwest Trust continues to grow. By adding new products and providing the same great customer service their clients have come to expect, Sunwest Trust is well on their way to another record setting year. The company has already seen 16 percent growth from this time last year and there are no signs of slowing down anytime in the near future.”

One explanation for the sudden growth over the last two years has been the volatility of the stock market. When the stock market hits uncertain times, many investors would rather not gamble their future on Wall Street and investors look for more stable investment opportunities. Self-directed IRAs and 401ks allow savvy investors the opportunity to find the investment that best fits their investment needs, risk tolerance and retirement goals, whatever it may be.

White adds, “not all investments are ideal and whenever you make an investment there is always inherent risk involved. Each investor should acquire competent legal counsel and commit to completing the proper due diligence prior to shifting their retirement dollars into an alternative investment.” He adds, “just as it is not your local bank’s responsibility to validate the veracity of an investment, neither is it the IRA custodian’s job to validate the authenticity of the investments you make with your IRA/401k dollars. The last thing you want to do is gamble away your hard earned retirement savings blindly without verifying the genuineness of the investments your are making.”

About Sunwest Trust, Inc.

Sunwest Trust is an independently owned private company that offers self directed IRA custodian, escrow and now Individual 401k services. The company offers a huge range of financial services providing post retirement benefits, private mortgages, real estate contacts and other related fields for its clients. FDIC insured banks back the self directed IRA funds of their clients. For more information on the activities of the company, please visit http://www.SunwestTrust.com.

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Trading Floor To Open Up Trading Information For Forex And Equities

Saxo Bank, the online trading and investment specialist, is addressing the problem of market information overload with its TradeMaker module to complement its trading platforms, as well as a new Trading floor website.

Trading Floor

The information barriers of the past that limited trading to professional traders with a Bloomberg or a Reuter’s screen have long gone. The quantity of trading information and Forex news available to all types of traders on a home or business PC has increased to such an extent that now it is possible to trade not only stocks, but also Forex and more exotic instruments such as Futures and CFDs.

But while speed is vital when making trading decisions, speed without solid strategic insight won’t bring any advantages. The main problem is that as the cost of information has fallen, the volume has increased accordingly. Trying to find a way through this jungle of FX crosses, quotes and trades is sometimes a challenge even for the most experienced trader.

TradeMaker is a real-time trading idea generator that is part of Saxo Bank’s award winning trading platforms. It provides ten daily intra-day trading ideas on major currency crosses and CFDs including intuitive charts and interface, as well as one click pre-populated trade tickets or the ability to tailor the idea to personal trading strategies.

“Using the information and services provided by TradeMaker, we hope to be encouraging those traders that are looking to enter the market but need more direction,” said Patrick Mortensen, Global Head of Partner Marketing at Saxo Bank.

“We have already received feedback that tells us users actually feel more secure in their trading decisions, as TradeMaker enables them to better identify and manage the risks involved in the market,” said Patrick Mortensen.

The advent of the electronic trading platform has brought an end to the ‘open outcry’ of busy, noisy trading floors. As traders have retreated behind desks and screens, the shouting, signaling and pulling faces have disappeared. And with it has gone some of the human interaction that helped inform the markets.

Trading Floor is an attempt by Saxo Bank to bring some of that noise back by getting the markets rubbing shoulders, dealing – and shouting. Trading Floor provides up to date, forex news and market place analysis.

The aim of the new Tradingfloor site is to bring market participants together through the web site. Saxo Bank provides the web site and the expertise of its strategists and analysts and those of its partners.

The Daily Trading Stance is the mainstay of Tradingfloor’s daily offering. It is the position that Saxo bank’s own strategists distribute to traders with a rundown of the main themes of the day in FX, equities, futures, and FX options.

The commentary is prepared by Saxo Bank’s Chief Economist David Karsbøl and Saxo Bank’s Equity Strategist Christian Tegllund Blaabjerg, with additional advice from Forex expert John hardy, who was named as one of the most influential people in Forex in 2008. Commodities expertise is provided by Ole S Hansen and Alan Plaughmann. Tradingfloor.com also has its own YouTube Trading Floor channel which is updated daily with the day’s trading information and delivered by David or Christian.

The speed of trading has picked up tremendously in recent years with the use of automated and semi-automated systems. But the systems are only as good as the information they receive. The key to success in online trading is to find reliable sources of solid tradable information.

About Trading Floor:
Trading Floor is run by Saxo Bank – a global investment bank specialising in online trading and investment across the international financial markets. Trading Floor provides up to date forex news and market place analysis.

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Personalized Photo Checks Available F r o m Carousel Checks

Consumers are looking for variety when they are considering check designs, and the plain styles offered by financial institutions are no longer the only option available to them. Carousel Checks has stepped forward to meet their customers’ needs by offering a number of styles and colors to reflect their taste. They are no longer limited to a single color or basic patterns when ordering this necessary item.

For the ultimate in personalization, Carousel Checks offers its customers the opportunity to choose a custom photo for their checks. They may want to use an image that reflects a favorite hobby, their pet, or any other image they want to share when paying bills and other expenses.

Along with the option of using a custom photo on checks f r o m Carousel, consumers have the option of choosing f r o m a large selection of ready-to-use themes. Patriotic U.S. customers would be interested in the American Pride collection. F r o m the Lincoln Memorial to POW/MIA and the bald eagle for a Soaring Over America theme, the customer’s choice can reflect their love of country.

Hobbies and careers are popular choices when it comes to images for personalized checks, and Carousel offers several online check options that reflect these themes. Firefighter, farmer, and soldier images are available for people who work in these types of jobs. The hobby themes available for online checks f r o m Carousel include baseball, bowling, golf, fishing, football, and snowmobiling.

Not all the images offered by Carousel Checks are ones that are more likely to appeal to male customers. The flower and nature themes offered by the company include garden birdhouses, butterflies, and funky modern designs. Food is another popular theme, and the images in this collection run the gamut f r o m wine and cheese to fresh raspberries and candy items.

The company also offers an inspirational line of checks with positive messages that will give the customer and the person receiving the check a boost to their day. Religious and mystic themes are also available, and are not limited to Christian images only. Customers can also choose to add a Yin-Yang or wisdom symbol to their checks.

Personalized checks are not limited to individual consumers. Business customers can choose to add their company logo to the checks they order f r o m Carousel Checks. This type of advertising ties in well with other ones that companies use regularly, such as adding a logo to letterhead, company envelopes, and account forms.

Why buy checks online f r o m Carousel Checks? Company spokesperson Andy Crim has the answer: “We don’t charge our customers more for reorders. We want our customers to stay with us for life, not just a single order.” With the variety of styles available, Carousel is doing all they can to create long-term relationships with its customers.

Carousel Checks is a company that provides custom online checks to consumers. Customers can choose f r o m a variety of styles for their personal or business needs. Available image types include animals/wildlife, career, food, flowers, religious, and sports themes. Business customers can order payroll, accounts payable, or multi-purpose checks. Carousel Checks also carries computer Checks and coordinating address labels for their customers’ needs.

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Britain’s Disposable Expenditure On The Up For First Time Since Credit Crunch

Spending on non essential products and services is on the increase after a hesitant start to consumer spending in 2009. Research conducted by Kublax, an online money management service, reveals that discretionary spending is on the up.

Kublax - money mangement platform

Products and services, such as shoes and gifts, are usually the first areas of spending to be cut down on in hard economic times. The fact that a lot of these spending areas are showing signs of recovery is good news for the economy, as it indicates that consumers are regaining confidence. This circulates money through the economy, creating a multiplier effect, rather than leaving it stagnant in savings accounts.

Kublax took a sample of 1000 adult users and studied their specific spending habits through their finance software, from everyday living to luxury purposes. The report found a massive increase in spending in the second quarter when compared to the first quarter of 2009.

The ‘Kublax Spending Index’ revealed holiday expenditure increased by a staggering 117% in the second quarter, rising from an average spend of £511 in the first quarter to an average spend of £1107.

Other spending categories with notable increase in the second quarter include:

• 62% increase on spending on children
• 28% increase on gifts and flowers
• 12% increase on clothing

These statistics indicate a more positive economic outlook for the summer period. Tom Symonds, CEO of Kublax comments, “The correlation between the arrival of summer and an increase in monthly outgoings may also be due to a seasonal change in attitude; as the weather brightens, so too does the mood of the British public as they unwind and treat themselves more.”

The results of the ‘Kublax Spending Index’ also correlated with other industry surveys of the same period, which found decreases in spending on eating out. Kublax found 42% decrease on coffees/sandwiches/snacks, and an 11% decrease in restaurants/dining spending.

Although launched in May 2009, the site has been in beta testing phase from September 2008 and collected the data from January 2009 to June 2009.

Kublax is a money management platform through which users are able to simplify their finances. The finance software works by pulling together all building society, bank and credit card accounts into one easy access location. Once all information has been compiled, users are able to budget and manage their finances more effectively than by viewing different statements from multiple banks. Kublax automatically categorizes spending and produces diagrams and charts illustrating how you are spending your money. Comparisons to user averages as well as an effective alert and reminder systems provides a sense of financial benchmarking and real time money management that is innovate, extremely useful, and is likely to save people money and reduce stress.

With set up taking a matter of minutes, Kublax is perfectly placed to help the online generation, who hold on average two current accounts and two credit cards, deal with their ever more complex finances.

To find out more about Kublax’s online finance software, or to read more about spending habits in the UK, visit http://www.kublax.com.

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Molly Is The New Face Of M&S Pet Insurance

A beagle from South Wales is to become the new face of M&S Pet Insurance after winning a national competition to find a cat or dog with true star quality to feature in a future marketing campaign.

To enter the competition, which ran from April until the start of June, M&S pet insurance customers were asked to simply submit a photo and a few words about why their cat or dog is a star. Following the huge response to the competition and after some close deliberation by the judges, five-month-old Molly, who lives with The Mainwaring family in Blackwood, Gwent, was named the M&S Pet Star contest top-dog.

This means that Molly will now have a professional photo shoot and be featured in promotional material for a forthcoming M&S Pet Insurance campaign. The Mainwaring family will receive £100 worth of M&S vouchers. Sian Mainwaring said: “Molly is very mischievous and certainly has a mind of her own but we forgive her anything – most of the time. She means so much to us and it is wonderful that she will now be the face of M&S Pet Insurance.”

Amanda Newman, M&S Head of Marketing, said: “The huge response to the competition illustrates the fact that we are a nation of cat and dog lovers. It was wonderful to spend time looking through all the photos and reading why the cats and dogs mean so much to their owners.”

About M&S Money
M&S Money (the trading name of Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc. The company is now a top ten credit card provider and the second largest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers a range of insurance cover, including travel insurance, home insurance, car insurance, loans, savings and investment products.

In November 2004, Marks & Spencer sold M&S Money to HSBC. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 9,500 offices in 86 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$2,527 billion at 31 December 2008, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations. HSBC is marketed worldwide as ‘the world’s local bank’.

M&S Money has an executive committee comprising an equal number of representatives from HSBC and Marks & Spencer.

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Barclaycard Launches Waterslide iPhone Game

Barclaycard has launched a free iPhone game to coincide with its acclaimed Waterslide advertising campaign. The game, called Waterslide Extreme, is a first for the financial services industry and reinforces Barclaycard’s commitment to embracing new ways of connecting with current and potential customers.

The Waterslide Extreme game, developed by fishlabs and Dare for Barclaycard, has nine levels with the objective to steer a character down an increasingly difficult waterslide in the quickest time whilst collecting points and avoiding objects along the way. Visitors to an Apple Store or ITunes can download the application for free from mid July.

Paul Troy, Head of Advertising and Sponsorship at Barclaycard, said: “The launch of the iPhone ‘Waterslide Extreme’ game is a first in financial services. The Waterslide ad has engaged millions online and this game gives consumers the opportunity to go on the Waterslide themselves.”

CEO & Co-Founder Michael Schade, from fishlabs said: “We expect the game to be a great success from the feedback we received from the customer testing. It is great to work with a client such as Barclaycard that wants to do something different and fun and we are delighted with what we have produced.”

The concept for the mobile game is taken from Barclaycard’s latest advertising campaign that demonstrates the ease of contactless payment.

Barclaycard continue their innovation drive by being one of the first brands to use Sky’s new green button technology, providing consumers with behind the scenes footage of how the TV ad was made. An animated introductory spot to the 40″ Waterslide advert has also been created in partnership with Sky to invite viewers to engage via their green button.

About Barclaycard
Barclaycard, part of Barclays Global and Retail Commercial Banking division, is a leading global payment business which helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and accept payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit when needed.

The company is one of the pioneers of new forms of credit card payments and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting edge forms of payment for the future. It also issues credit and charge cards to corporate customers and the UK Government. Barclaycard partners with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.

In addition to the UK, Barclaycard operates in the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle and Far East.

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The Children’s Mutual Reveals Child Trust Funds Top 4.4 Million

The Children’s Mutual has highlighted that the latest figures issued by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) show the continuing revolution in children’s savings and demonstrates parents’ commitment to their children’s futures in the current environment. The quarterly Child Trust Fund (CTF) statistics released by HMRC have revealed that 4.4 million children under seven in the UK now have a Child Trust Fund.

David White, Chief Executive of the Child Trust Fund provider, The Children’s Mutual said: “These latest figures show that the Child Trust Fund generation is growing steadily and, unlike any generation before them, in 11 years’ time the first CTF recipients will reach adulthood with greater financial knowledge and an important financial headstart. The average amount saved each month by our CTF customers is £24. Over 18 years, these savings could produce a fund of around £9,750*, a significant financial help for young adults who may want to attend university or put down a deposit on their first home.

Recent research by The Children’s Mutual found that despite the recession parents still feel that saving for their children and giving them the best future they can is very important. In the last year The Children’s Mutual has seen a considerable rise in the number of CTFs being opened and a 16% increase on 2007, with record months for the number of parents with newborns opening CTF’s online in May and June.

David continued, “It is now more important than ever during these challenging economic times, that parents take the time to choose where to open a CTF and start saving towards their child’s future. And now that parents no longer have to hand over a CTF voucher when opening a CTF, it’s even easier and faster for them to set up their child’s account.”

Had a product similar to the CTF existed 18 years ago and family and friends saved£100 a month in a shares-based plan for a child over that time, that youngster could now have the benefit of a fund worth £37,400**.”

* Projected values quoted based on investing £24 a month (plus £250 government vouchers at birth and age 7) for 18 years in a stakeholder CTF account. 7% per annum assumed investment return, with charges of 1.5% of the CTF account value each year. Projected values cannot be guaranteed as shares can go up or down. Final payout could be more or less than this.

** The assumed maturity figure is based on a hypothetical calculation, tracking the real performance of shares over 18 years, from 1991 to 2009. They include £250 invested at the child’s birth and at age seven and 1.5% charges, as with the Stakeholder CTF today. This assumes investment in the FTSE All-Share index over that period including reinvestment of the dividend yield. The figures also include lifestyling. Amount Received as at end May 2009

About The Children’s Mutual – Home of the Child Trust Fund
The Children’s Mutual’s mission is to help parents, grandparents, family and friends fulfil their hopes for today’s children. The Children’s Mutual is the only UK company that specialises in long term savings for children and is now the choice of 1 in 4 parents for their child’s Child Trust Fund, with more than 650,000 accounts.

The Children’s Mutual has won the The Moneyfacts Award for Best Child Trust Fund Provider every year since its 2006 launch.

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Auto Insurance Quotes Impacted by US Point System for Driving

While many drivers have had their licenses suspended thanks to their state’s driving point system, they might be unfamiliar with how it works and how it impacts car insurance.

Auto Insurance Quotes

Established to hinder the amount of dangerous drivers on the road and to enforce traffic laws, the point system provides DMV’s with an extra set of eyes on the road. Depending on the way the state implements the system, points are added or taken away from your driving record. Although the accumulation of points can either be positive or negative, depending on the state, the goal is the same: decrease the number of dangerous drivers on the road.

Having your license suspended, however, isn’t the only negative outcome of possessing multiple infractions on your driving record.

According to the InsuranceAgent.com article, ‘ The U.S. Point System: How it Affects Your Driving Record and Car Insurance,’ “The more infractions (and therefore, the more points) you have on your driving record, the more risky you are to insure. As such, insurers will offer you higher car insurance quotes and rates.”

If you are worried about your car insurance increasing, but aren’t familiar with your driving record, InsuranceAgents.com says there are steps you can take to ensure you avoid any future infractions. To learn about your state’s point system’s rules and regulations, contact your local DMV and your local police department. They can provide you with the most up-to-date information about the state’s point system.

“They can give you more specifics on the point system that affects you,” according to the article. “You can use that information to know where you stand as a driver in your state and whether or not you need to get proactive and work toward a better driving record.”

Once a driver understands their state’s point system, it makes it easier for them to follow traffic laws. If your driving record is clean, it will be much easier for you to find affordable auto insurance. If you’re currently in need of affordable auto insurance, compare quotes online. With a little patience, you’ll be able to find the most convenient coverage for you.

For more information, visit InsuranceAgents.com.

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CML Reported An Increase In Mortgages For Home Purchase In May, Up 4% From The Previous Month

Fixed rate mortgages accounted for 74% of all loans in the month, the highest share since August 2007.

Fixed rate mortgages

Encouragingly the CML predicted that lenders might become slightly more relaxed in the coming months following the introduction of some higher loan–to–value mortgages recently. This is backed up by the Bank of England’s recent Credit Conditions survey where lenders reported that they intend to increase lending at higher loan-to value ratios. This bodes well for first time buyers looking to get on the housing ladder.

This will be welcome news for parents who are still acting as an important source of help for young first time buyers. 80% of first time buyers under 30 are still getting help with a deposit from parents to enable them to get a mortgage.

Potential borrowers looking to get onto the housing ladder can see the range of leading deals at London & Country best buys and use a range of calculators to see how much they can borrow and what stamp duty will cost on potential properties at L&C Mortgage Calculators For more information and no-fee advice, borrowers can call free on 0800 373300 or request a call back.

London and Country Mortgages Ltd is the country’s leading whole of market no-fee mortgage broker and submitted over £4bn of mortgages to over 70 lenders in 2008. For more information visit our website London & Country Mortgages.

L&C is a Climate Neutral company and for the last seven years has invested in climate friendly projects and tree-planting to help offset its emissions and those of its customers.

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Nationwide Has Hit The Headlines With News That It Can Offer Homebuyers A Mortgage Of As High As 125% Of The Property Value

This initially sounds like a return to the lending practices of the “pre-crunch years” and the now infamous Northern Rock Together mortgage. Whilst the Together 125% deal actually served some borrowers pretty well it has become synonymous with the carefree credit conditions of 2007.


However when you look closely at the Nationwide proposition it is a world away from replicating the Northern Rock product. It is designed to help existing borrowers that need to move home but now find themselves in negative equity, as their property value has fallen to the extent that it is less than the outstanding mortgage.

Nationwide allows all existing customers moving home to borrow as much as 95% of the property value albeit at higher interest rates. In this scenario the borrower still needs to put in at least a 5% deposit but they can also borrow an amount to cover the negative equity, although this is charged at an even higher rate.

The reality is that this initiative will only have any relevance to a small niche of borrowers that really need to move, perhaps to relocate for a new job or to accommodate an expanding family. However it will at least provide an option to those that have a genuine need to move.

Borrowers looking to find out how much their current property is worth can use London & Country Mortgages house price calculator. They can then calculate their loan to value ratio (LTV) by dividing the current balance of their mortgage by the current value of their home. If this is over 100% they will have negative equity.

London and Country Mortgages Ltd is the country’s leading whole of market no-fee mortgage broker and submitted over £4bn of mortgages to over 70 lenders in 2008. For more information visit our website London & Country Mortgages

L&C is a Climate Neutral company and for the last seven years has invested in climate friendly projects and tree-planting to help offset its emissions and those of its customers.

L&C has won numerous awards including:

Best Mortgage IFA/Adviser of the Year – Money Marketing, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008
Best Technology Adviser – Money Marketing 2007
Best Mortgage Broker outside London – Mortgage Strategy, 2004 and 2005
Best National Broker – Mortgage Introducer 2005, 2006 and 2007
Best Overall Broker – Mortgage Introducer 2005
Overall broker of the year – Pink Home Loans, 2006 and 2007
Top 100 company in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 for 2004 and 2005
Business of the Year – The Bath Business Awards 2005
Growth Strategy of the Year – National Business Awards (Wales and West) 2008
Business Leader (Broker) – British Mortgage Awards – 2008
Online Mortgage IFA of the Year – Financial Adviser – 2008

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Mortgage Protection Insurance Helps Prevent Foreclosure

The loss of one’s primary source of income almost always creates a domino effect that results in difficulty paying even your most menial of bills, let alone your most important bill: the mortgage.

However, losing your job isn’t the end of the world. There are always ways to make ends meet and mortgage protection insurance is available to prevent your home from being foreclosed on. According to an article recently published on InsuranceAgents.com you should speak to your homeowners insurance agent today about job loss protection.

“With an added job-loss rider, mortgage protection will help pay your mortgage payments in the event that you lose your job and can also cover your mortgage if you are otherwise unable to continue the payments on your own,” according to the InsuranceAgents.com article.

It is important for those interested in purchasing mortgage protection insurance to understand what factors go into the amount they are being charged for coverage. Those deciding factors include your employability, the cost of your mortgage payments, and the current state of the economy. The job market has a significant deciding factor on your mortgage protection premium. The higher the risk that you may lose your job, the more your mortgage protection insurance may cost.

With the economy in shambles and job security a term of the past, mortgage protection insurance is now more important than ever. Most policies come with job-loss coverage included but others require you add a job-loss rider. Visit InsuranceAgents.com to get set up with a home insurance agent in your area and ask them if mortgage protection insurance is right for you.

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New Fixed Rate Direct Two Year Bonds By NS&I

NS&I is to launch a new 2-year issue of both its Guaranteed Growth Bonds and Guaranteed Income Bonds. The new 2-year Bonds will only be available direct (via phone or online) from NS&I and will pay an interest rate of 3.75% per annum and 3.65% respectively.

Fixed Rate Direct Two Year Bonds

Customers can invest between £500 and £1 million in total in the fixed rate bonds, with guaranteed rates of interest. The Guaranteed Income Bond offers customers the opportunity to receive their interest as a monthly income, while with the Guaranteed Growth Bond customers will receive their interest at the end of the 2-year term.

The Bonds come with the 100% capital guarantee which NS&I can offer because all of its savings and investments are backed by HM Treasury.

The new Bonds, which are available online and through NS&I’s award winning UK based call centres, are part of NS&I’s strategy to encourage customers to buy and manage their savings with NS&I directly. This enables NS&I to offer a more attractive interest rate to customers.

Peter Cornish, Director of Customer Offer at NS&I, said: “Our Guaranteed Income Bonds and Guaranteed Growth Bonds offer customers a simple and straightforward saving opportunity.

“Money saved in our Guaranteed Income Bonds or our Guaranteed Growth Bonds will earn a competitive and guaranteed rate of interest for the next two years. It is a simple offer and easy to take up, either online at nsandi.com or through our UK based call centres.”

Dr Robin Keyte, Chartered Financial Planner and Director of Towers at Taunton Ltd, which specialises in fee-based financial planning and socially responsible investments, commented on the new issues from NS&I: “NS&I’s Guaranteed Growth Bonds and Guaranteed Income Bonds are an effective way for customers to earn a fixed rate of interest on their investment, either as monthly income or as a lump sum at the end of the term. Like all NS&I investments, they also have the added benefit of a 100% capital guarantee, which is something many people will value highly in the current environment.”

About NS&I
NS&I is one of the UK’s largest financial providers with almost 27 million customers and over £94 billion invested. It is best known for Premium Bonds, but also offers Inflation-Beating Savings, Guaranteed Equity Bonds and Children’s Bonus Bonds in its range. All products offer 100% security because NS&I is backed by HM Treasury.

NS&I products are available over the telephone, internet, post and by standing order. They are also available through a network of Post Office branches. Customers can also pick up brochures for NS&I Premium Bonds, Inflation-Beating Savings and Income Bonds at retailer WHSmith in 400 of its High Street stores and 155 of its travel stores.

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In A Down Economy, Consumers Look For All Possible Ways To Cut Costs. InsuranceAgents.com Suggests Looking Online For Insurance Quotes

Looking Online For Insurance Quotes

You can preserve your energy doing things you like doing as opposed to doing things you have to do. Finding competitive insurance quotes usually falling in the latter category.

According to InsuranceAgents.com, locating the lowest possible insurance quotes is not only easy and free but takes very little energy and can be done without ever having to leave the house.

“Not many people these days have dozens of hours to spend driving to insurance companies’ offices, consulting with insurance agents face-to-face and doing background research on each carrier,” according to the InsuranceAgents.com article.“But with online insurance quotes, you can let the quotes come to you and simply relax with all that time you saved.”

The way InsuranceAgents.com works benefits you, the potential customer. Once you enter your information and it is received by insurance companies and agents, a bidding war ensues with your business being the goal these agents have their sights set on. This means you have the upper hand, you are in the pilot’s seat, and you can compare and contrast each of their offers to find the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Also, if there is one thing everyone can agree on it is that you can never save enough money. Feel free to ask the agents competing for your business what savings or discounts they can offer or you are eligible for. You will be surprised to find how much money you will save in the end.

“[Y]ou can be sure they’ll be some of the lowest quotes around, because the agents are trying to get your business,” according to InsuranceAgents.com. “Then you can compare multiple online insurance quotes and policies, and find the coverage you need for the price you want. Also, the search is free!”

Nobody likes their free-time being consumed with the search for insurance quotes, so let InsuranceAgents.com do the work for you. It’s simple, fast, and free.

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Best Buy Mortgages Are Available Under 3% Fixed For 2 Years And Under 5% Fixed For 5 Years

A number of factors have contributed to this. Firstly, it’s widely recognised that we are at or near the bottom of the interest rate cycle. Base rate could only fall by another 0.5% at most and in the May meeting of the Bank of England, base rate was held for the second month in a row. Consumers are looking to secure a fixed rate deal whilst rates are at their lowest. Best Buy Mortgages are available under 3% fixed for 2 years and under 5% fixed for 5 years. These fixed rate mortgage deals compare favourably with historical rates linked to lenders’ standard variable rates (SVR).

Best Buy Mortgages

Secondly there is widespread concern that when rates start to rise, they will rise sharply and so monthly repayments on mortgages linked to Bank of England Base Rate or a lender’s SVR will increase significantly over a short period of time. Securing a good fixed rate deal now will mitigate that risk.

Thirdly there is limited availability of mortgages for those with relatively small deposits (15% of house value or less) and so consumers in this situation are grabbing fixed rate mortgages whilst they still can.

Finally, as house prices have fallen, consumers have found that the value of their mortgage relative to the value of their home has increased. As the best fixed rate mortgage deals are available below 75% loan to value (ltv) it is sensible for consumers to fix their mortgage rate in case their property value falls further and the best mortgage deals are no longer available to them.

Potential borrowers wanting to secure a fixed rate mortgage deal can see the range of leading deals currently available at www.lcplc.co.uk/bestbuys. For more information and no-fee advice, borrowers can call free on 0800 373300 or request a call back.

London and Country Mortgages Ltd is the country’s leading whole of market no-fee mortgage broker and submitted over £4bn of mortgages to over 70 lenders in 2008. For more information visit our website London & Country Mortgages. L&C is a Climate Neutral company and for the last seven years has invested in climate friendly projects and tree-planting to help offset its emissions and those of its customers.

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Does Shopping for Insurance Quotes Hurt Your Credit Score?

With the economy slumping and people relying on credit more than ever, the last thing anyone wants to do is limit their access to credit by damaging their credit score. When you apply for insurance quotes these days most companies will pull your credit to judge what premium they will be charging you. The idea of inquiries showing up on your credit sounds like a very negative thing, but according to a recent article on InsuranceAgents.com, it’s actually no big deal.


Applying for insurance quotes does not negatively affect your credit score. There is no reason to not shop around for a better rate on your insurance, especially in tough economic times like these when every penny counts.

The insurance company may be pulling your credit, but it’s important to know the difference between what’s called a “hard pull” and a “soft pull”. According to the article, “When it comes to credit checks, there are two types of inquiries: ‘hard pulls’ and ‘soft pulls’. A hard pull refers to credit inquiries for acquiring credit, like from a credit card company or a lender. A soft pull is an inquiry that will review your credit score, much like an agent would to determine an insurance quote. … [T]he insurance company’s name will be listed on your report, but the inquiry will not lower your credit score.”

Though insurance quotes won’t affect your credit, it’s important to understand that your credit does affect your insurance quotes. The InsuranceAgents.com article continues, “While shopping for insurance quotes may not lower your credit score, it is important to know that a good credit score can lower your insurance quotes! Insurance companies and agents that see a potential client with a high credit score will consider you a low-risk client … They will then be able to offer you more affordable insurance quotes. Good credit saves you money in many different arenas of your life, including insurance.”

The best thing you can do if you have good or bad credit is to shop around for insurance quotes. Using services like InsuranceAgents.com you can compare up to five insurance quotes at a time and find the lowest rate.

For more information, visit InsuranceAgents.com.

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Divorce Survival Kit Released as Ultimate Divorce Resource

The Divorce Survival Kit has just been released as the ultimate comprehensive resource for people experiencing divorce. The Divorce Survival Kit was developed by Carol Ann Wilson, one of the nation’s foremost experts on divorce and finances. The Divorce Survival Kit consists of a four (4) CD audio set and complete workbook filled with examples, forms and checklists. The product took over a year to complete, and it represents a great wealth of Carol Ann’s vast knowledge and experience. The Kit contains everything you need to know if you are going through a divorce and are concerned with how to survive financially.

The topics covered in the Divorce Survival Kit include:

  • Marital vs. Separate Property: Learn the truth about marital and separate property and how to keep what is yours. Don’t surrender it if you don’t have to!
  • Alimony/Maintenance: Find out if you are likely to receive alimony and how much. If you have to pay alimony, understand how to best protect yourself and minimize your losses.
  • Health Insurance: Did you know you could become uninsurable after your divorce? Protect yourself and your children.
  • Child Support: Learn what you need to know about the Child Contingency Rule that could save you from owing the IRS thousands of dollars.
  • Asset Division: Don’t ruin your financial future by failing to consider hidden assets and tax consequences. Discover the best ways to divide all your assets.
  • Dividing Retirement Accounts: This is often the biggest asset in the marriage. Avoid some common mistakes and make the most of this valuable asset.
  • Settlement Alternatives: Courtroom battles can be costly and expensive, but there are alternatives. Mediation, arbitration and collaborative divorce are explained.

Carol Ann Wilson, a Certified Financial Divorce Practitioner, is the founder of the profession of divorce financial planning. She has been working with divorcing clients and their attorneys for over 20 years.

Carol Ann’s dedication to helping couples financially survive their divorce has driven her to continuously develop more ways to help them. In addition to the Divorce Survival Kit, Wilson has authored many books and articles on divorce, has served as an expert witness in court for over 120 divorce cases, has developed software for professionals used in determining financial results in divorce settlements, and has trained thousands of divorce financial planners around the country how to work with divorcing clients to achieve fair and equitable divorce settlements.

Currently, Wilson is the president of the Financial Divorce Association, located in Longmont, Colorado, and an owner of the Academy of Financial Divorce Practitioners in Chicago. Her expertise, as the founder of the profession, is highly sought-after, and Wilson continues to consult with divorcing clients today.

“The Divorce Survival Kit is going to help a lot of people,” Carol Ann says. “I am excited to be able to offer all of my knowledge and experience in one complete package, that is affordable to anyone. I like to say that you get my 24 years of experience for less than the cost of 30 minutes with an attorney.”

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