Thursday, December 18, 2014

Will - 7 Reasons to keep it up-to-date

Will - 7 Reasons to keep it up-to-date
Do not think that when you have drawn up your will you have taken care of your estate. Your financial status, the people around you change and so are your wishes. Here are the 7 reasons that you need to update your will from time to time:

1.Marital status: You were single when the will was written and now you are married. So the will is no longer valid. The same rule applies to divorce and remarrying.

2.Additional members to your family: When you have promoted yourself to fatherhood, you have to reallocate your wealth accordingly.

3.A member of your family or your beneficiary passes away. It is necessary to update your will as well.

4.Substantial changes of your wealth: You have acquired more wealth and so you have to redistribute your wealth accordingly.

5.Your executor: He has died, moved away or is no longer a suitable candidate anymore.

6.Your appointed guardian: He may not be around or is no longer suitable to look after the interest of your minor children.

7.Your wishes change with the time: Situation changes and so are your wishes. You previous will may not reflect your current wishes.

The simplest and effective way to update your will is to write a new will to supersede the previous one. This article is also to remind myself to take at look at my will.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Easy and Effective Way to Update Your Will

Have you ever taken a good look at your will? How long ago it was written? More likely than not, most of the items mentioned in your will are no longer relevant or applicable. It is time for you to rewrite your will to replace the previous one. Here is the way to go about it:

 1. Appoint your executor and trustee: It is prudent to appoint a reliable and trusted executor and trustee. My executor and trustee is Amanah Raya Berhad. It is a public trust company established under the Public Trust Corporation Act 1995. It has branches all over Malaysia.

 2. Provide a list all your assets with supporting documents and the persons to be distributed to for each item:

a. Immovable assets: land and buildings
b. Movable assets: motor vehicles, savings accounts,current accounts, share trading accounts, wealth management accounts, insurance policies, PayPal account, AdSense account, websites which attract passive income, retirement accounts such as your Employee Provident Fund in Malaysia.

3. Appoint a guardian and a substitute guardian (optional) for your minor children: Most likely it is your spouse. 

4. Check the draft: A draft is sent to you by email. Go through the draft carefully and identify errors to be corrected.

 5. Execute: When the draft is accepted, you will be asked to sign the will at their office. A duplicate copy of the will be given to you for your safe keeping while the original copy is kept at their head office.

 6. Items not covered: Do not worry about items not mention in the will or assets subsequently acquire, because there is a clause stating that: I further direct all my residuary estate whatsoever and wheresoever situate, movable or immovable over which I may have any power of testamentary disposition and not specifically mentioned under this will to be distributed to….

 I have recently rewritten a new will free of charge because I am a customer of Amanah Raya Berhad. It is a good move to update your will to show your care and concern for your love one


Thursday, December 11, 2014

You and Your Will

You and your Will

A will is a person's last instructions for his property to be distributed according to his wishes plus other instructions to be carried out. The person who makes the will is a testator.

Why do you need a will?

1. Look after your assets and your family: A will will allow you to take care of your family and your assets in future the way you want it to be.

2. It's lawful to make a will: You are exercising your right to write a will. By doing so you are able to appoint an executor of your choice to handle your affairs after death. You can also engage a guardian of your choice for your children who are still below the full legal age.

3. Fewer hassles: With a will you can be sure that your assets will be distributed smoothly and quickly.

4. Flexibility and control: While you are alive you are in control of your assets. You can dispose off part of it or sell all of them or draw up a new will to replace the previous one. The will is only effective upon your death.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Half of Americans Wished They’d Started Retirement Savings Sooner

Half of Americans Wished They’d Started Retirement Savings Sooner
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Half of all working Americans want a retirement-savings do-over as they fall short of their goals.
TIAA-CREF's Ready to Retire surveyreveals that and a lot more that once again points to a retirement savings landscape where millions of Americans believe they won't have enough cash to live on in retirement and wish they’d emphasized "financial readiness" capacity during their saving years.
The report says 52% of Americans approaching retirement say "they wish they had started saving for the future sooner" and that many worry about not having enough money to cover their monthly expenses (45%), while others are anxious about how health care costs (35%) or inflation (32%) could deplete their retirement savings.
As usual with surveys on Americans and their retirement savings, there's a disconnect in what savers say they need to accomplish and what they actually accomplish. For example, 45% of survey respondents age 55-64 say "financial readiness is the most important factor in determining when they will retire," but only 35% say they saved in an IRA or met with a financial advisor.

Regret about what could have been also dominate the survey. "Many respondents say they wish they had made smarter financial decisions earlier in their career, including saving more of their paycheck (47%) and investing their savings more aggressively (34%)," the report says. As a result, TIIA-CREF reports that 68% of Americans near retirement say they are "not prepared" financially and another 42% say they will have to keep working in retirement and 39% must "limit" what they spend.
"This research reinforces that preparing for retirement shouldn't become a sprint to the finish, but rather a long-distance pursuit that requires careful planning throughout an adult's life," says Teresa Hassara, an executive vice president at TIAA-CREF.
The survey results should act as a prod to better saving habits. "This will help prevent those nearing retirement from feeling like they have to play catch-up near the end of their careers," Hassara says. "Developing and acting on a carefully constructed plan can help individuals at any age build a financially secure future."
The news isn't all negative for low savers. Hassara says many older workers can make up a lot of ground if they act right away. "If Americans find that their retirement savings aren't adequate to meet their expectations about retirement life, it's never too late to make adjustments," she says. "In fact, if a 55-year-old starts to max out his or her employer-sponsored retirement plan contribution next year and continues to do so for the next 10 years, those savings could grow to about $325,000."


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Are You Using the Right Credit card?

Credit cards

With Christmas approaching it's time to check your credit card, whether you want to cut interest payments or earn rewards

The build-up to Christmas has begun and with it the spending on everything from presents to decorations to food. Many of us use credit cards at this time of year, either to spread the cost or so we can build up cashback or rewards from all our festive spending. But are we using the right cards?
Research from Sainsbury's Bank has found that 15 per cent of us put large purchases on standard credit cards but don't clear the balance straight away. With standard credit cards charging an average of 18.9 per cent APR those shoppers will pay an extra £268.36 repaying £2,000 over 18 months compared with if they had paid with a 0 per cent credit card.
That isn't the only time people get it wrong with plastic. Many of us have a bog-standard credit card that we use regularly and repay the balance in full each month. That is great as you aren't paying any interest and you are building up a good credit history, but if you switched to a cashback or reward credit card you could benefit materially from your good credit habits.
Here are the best credit cards to use in the build up to Christmas.
To spread the cost of Christmas
If you need to buy a few things and know you won't be able to pay off your card at the end of the month then go for a 0 per cent purchase credit card. These cards allow you to spend money that you can then pay off over a long period without incurring any interest.
The best offer currently available is from Halifax. Its Purchase Credit Card offers 0 per cent for 20 months. Just don't continue to use the card after that point unless you can pay the balance off in full: the interest rate jumps to 18.9 per cent APR.
To earn rewards on festive spending
For those who pay off their credit card balance in full each month then interest rates aren't an issue. Instead you should be looking at what you can earn from your spending.
If you'd like to earn airmiles then you may want Lloyds Bank Premier Avios Rewards Credit Card. You'll earn up to 1.5 Avios points for every pound you spend and if you spend £12,000 a year you'll get a free companion ticket – meaning you can take someone with you on a trip at no extra cost (except their taxes and charges). According to this adds up to rewards worth £642 over three years, if you spend £1,600 a month on the card.
Just be aware that rewards points can be devalued at any time by the company issuing them and air miles can be tricky to spend as competition for rewards seats on flights can be fierce.
Bank some cashback
A better option is to go for a cashback credit card where you earn cold hard cash that can't be devalued, and which you can spend on anything you like.
The best of the bunch at the moment is the American Express Platinum Cashback card. It pays 5 per cent for the first three months – perfect for Christmas – then the rate falls to 1.25 per cent. The card has an annual fee of £25, but if you spend £1,000 a month on the card you'll easily earn that back – estimate you'd earn £493 over three years.
Avoid charity credit cards
At this time of year many of us like to help out charities while buying things for ourselves. There are numerous great ways to do this but a charitable credit card isn't one of them. The amount of money the charity receives is usually pitiful. Typically just 0.25 per cent of your spending goes to charity – that is 25p per £100 you spend.
If you want a charity to benefit from your credit card spending take out a cashback card instead and donate what you earn. · 

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Monday, December 1, 2014

10 Vital Tips to Manage Your Personal Finance

Personal finance

This article is specially written for young graduates who have just secured their first posting. In life we have more needs and wants than our limited income. It is essential to budget and avoid overspending. Overspending means getting into debt and more problems.

  1. Keep record: For a start, find out your current financial situation. Are you in debt? Congratulate yourself if you are debt-free. If not, your top priority is to get rid of your debt as soon as possible.  Discovering your own net worth, finding out your earning potential and checking your spending pattern are your first step towards personal financial management.

  1. Plan ahead: The next step is to design a budget. If you are in debt, incorporate debt settlement into your monthly budget. The main aim is to clear your debt as soon as possible. The longer you delay, the more interest is added and the more you  have to pay  The second thing is that your monthly expenses should not exceed your income (with debt repayment included)or else you will be adding new debt every month and there will no end in sight to settle fully your debt

  1. Follow the plan: Now that you have your monthly budget, you have to stick to it faithfully in order to achieve your goal of debt settlement.

  1. Save: As soon as you are debt-free you have to use the same amount of money or even more ( you will get pay increments and bonuses anyway)to save for several specific purposes:

    • Down payment for your first car
    • Down payment for your first house
    • Emergency fund
    • Investment

  1. Plan for retirement and children’s education early: The earlier you set aside an amount the less you will need to budget because  compound interest will work wonder for you in the long term

  1. Avoid wants: Don’t do impulsive spending over and above your budget. If you want something save for it and buy in cash. Exercise your self-control and willpower.

  1. Avoid credit: Use debit card or prepaid card instead of credit card to get the hang of using plastic cards. Just remember credit cards are for convenience and not for the purchase of things on credit. Credit means debt and debt means bankruptcy.

  1. Major purchases: A car and your own home are major purchases in life. In most cases you need financing to get them. However, when you have already put aside an amount for these purposes ,  it will be easier on your monthly budget  The bigger down payment you can make means  the less you will need to borrow and the less interest you will need to service and the less you will need to pay for your monthly installments. It also means a shorter period to settle the loan. 

  1. Manage your debt: By now you must have incorporated your monthly payments for your car and house into your monthly budget. If it is not within your budget you will have to give up one or the other. Go for it only when you have saved for a bigger down payment for the item you cannot afford. Pay your monthly installments promptly to build a good credit record. When you need a loan in future your credit worthiness will work in your favor.

  1. More income streams and fewer expenses: The aim of personal finance is financial freedom. The prudent way is to identify more incomes streams and especially passive income because you don’t have to work for it. At the same time you will have to spend wisely within your means.

Managing personal finance is a balancing act. When you spend more you will have less to save and when you allocate more in one area you will have less in other areas.

Whatever you do spend less than what you have earned.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

10 Ways to Get Extra Cash

One Dollar

Where do you get extra cash when you have exhausted your emergency fund?
Look into your own sources of fund before you get outside help:

  1. Children’s savings accounts: Here is good source of fund that you can tap into quickly with no hassle.

  1. Your fixed deposit: Here is yet another source of quick cash but you have to sacrifice your interest income for premature withdrawal.

  1. Cash value of your insurance policies: You don't have to surrender a policy, but you just get a loan against the cash value. You can get your cash in just a few days. You can also redeem your investment-linked insurance policy just like you liquidate your unit trust. There is no need to make repayment

  1. Sell your investment: Dispose off part of your shares or your unit trust holding to meet your cash requirements

  1. Pawn your valuables: Another quick way to get cash is to pawn your gold rings, gold chains, gold coins or other valuables but don't let your friends or relatives spot you at the pawn shop.

  1. Cash advice from your company: You can get your salary advance without interest easily from the place where you work.

  1. Credit card advance : You will definitely incur substantial interest but it is a quick source of cash and is better than getting the money from Ah Long or loan shark

  1. Borrow from your friends and relatives: You have to be thick-skinned and it may not look good for you financially but what to do when you need the cash. Perhaps you can be kind enough to repay the loan with an extra amount to make your lenders happy.

  1. Personal loan or a secured loan from the bank: It may not be as fast as you think but it is a way to secure the needed sum. You may not require collateral for a personal loan but you can secure an overdraft facility with your own house.

  1. Loan shark: This is the last resort. If you can, avoid it. If you must borrow, make very sure that you pay back promptly or the debt will be snowballed into a sum beyond your means to settle and that is the beginning of your nightmare.

One good thing about getting a loan from financial institutions is that you can establish your credit worthiness by making timely repayments. You are better than someone with no credit history

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