Five Financial Tips for Christmas Savings

  1. Set up a Christmas Savings Account

Setting up a Christmas savings account could be the best thing you ever do! Treat your Christmas savings the same way you would treat an electricity bill etc. Set out monthly targets where you fully commit to saving the same amount each month. In order to do this effectively you must be realistic! Keep within what is manageable for you and start off small with the aim of increasing a little bit every time. Save those small, annoying pennies! Buy a savings jar that you literally have to break to open and save, save, save! You’d be surprised at how it all adds up over time.

  1. Get presents early

Ideally you should start buying presents on the 1st of November right after Halloween as this will allow you to relax and enjoy the month of December. This will reduce some of the pressure and stress Christmas can cause and will enable you to spend more time choosing and selecting the perfect presents. Buying presents every month from September to Christmas is cost effective, productive and an efficient use of time. Make sure you make a list of the names of the people you are buying gifts for and how much you plan on spending on each person. This will help keep you keep a clear and focused aim and will reduce the chances of you overspending.

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What we can expect from the Budget with €800m in play? Article Published by the Irish Examiner

On October 9, Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe will allocate a budget package of €3.4bn.

However, as things stand with €2.6bn of that already having been committed to various expenditure measures, it leaves just €800m for allocation.

Whilst the minister has previously stressed that the upcoming budget will put a little into everyone’s pockets, with suggestions this might be to the tune of around €300 per person on average, the chances of spending increases and tax cuts in Budget 2019 will be limited because of the previously agreed budget commitments.

So what can we expect and is this what we want?

From an earnings point of view, it seems that whilst the income tax rates will be kept the same, the bands may be increased, with suggestions from some quarters that they may be raised to as much as €37,000 for a single person and €46,000 for a couple, or single earning family.

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Article by Nick Charalambous Published by the Irish Examiner

If you have €10k-€100k to Invest what should you do with it?

As a Financial Advisor, I generally sense the state of the economy in terms of confidence and prosperity by the number of clients looking to invest monies.  Noticeably this has risen over the past few months and generally, the main enquiries we come across are those looking to invest up to a six-figure sum.  Whilst I appreciate many of you reading this may not have these monies available, it is all relative to the fact that whether it is €1,000 or €1 Million you may have to invest.  Deposit rates are negligible, if you haven’t looked at them recently, check AN Post’s 3-year deposit paying 1% in total.  That is €100 on €10,000 over that period.  Whilst everyone should have an emergency fund in a bank account (generally about 3 month’s pay) to fall back on, it is not really a suitable home for the vast majority of savers in Ireland for larger amounts.  The exception to this is if you need the money within a very short period, that is less than two to three years or if you are elderly or cannot tolerate any risk to the capital whatsoever.

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Tips for managing your money like the incredibly wealthy – A.K.A Bill Gates

Bill Gates is one of the world’s richest people, earning about €328 per second.

By the time you read this article, he will have earned about €200,000.

We know how he made his money, as Microsoft is a huge corporation.

You might be thinking that Mr Gates can afford to be wasteful with his money and dry himself with €50 notes, but the opposite is true.

He actually gives away almost all of his income to charity. He has donated €30bn since 1994.

Nonetheless, he remains one of the richest people in the world because he, or more precisely his money manager Michael Larson, manages the wealth extremely well.

We ordinary mortals can follow a few of his strategies.

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How to Help our Children to be Financially Savvy – Published by the Irish Examiner

Financial planning is crucial, especially when talking about our children’s future, writes Nick Charalambous, Managing Director of Alpha Wealth.

Many parents avoid discussing money with their children as they feel they are either too young or immature to understand it.

Parents have a responsibility to educate their children on how to be financially savvy and how to save and spend wisely.

Having spent my first 23 years in London, my financial education may have differed from those in Ireland. In the UK, there are government incentives that assist children when they might require funds.

One is a tax efficient savings plan, called a Junior ISA, and another is a pension for newborns, in which a relative — typically a parent or grandparent — can pay into a pension for a child from birth.

Here in Ireland, many remember the Irish government’s SSIA scheme, a five-year savings plan with a 25% top-up contribution from the Government. This scheme operated around 2001/2 to 2006/7 and was money for jam.

It is estimated that it costs €584 a year to send a child to primary school, and €1,236 a year for secondary school. Third level education costs range between €20,000 and €40,000 per child on average.

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You don’t have to have a Crystal Ball

Like the weather we have had particularly in since May I felt it appropriate to talk about things that we cannot control.    As a Financial Advisor, we talk to clients about effecting plans to ensure that they can afford the things they want/need when they need them.  For example: –

  • Saving for Retirement so at 60 you don’t have to work
  • Saving for your kids to go to 3rd level education
  • Saving for a Mortgage.

There are a lot of things to save for, so start saving!  Easier said than done you might be thinking but imagine if you received €10,000 in 5 years what would you do with it?

This €10,000 could be used for any of the above and would only require you to save about €160 p.m.* (which is not much more than the children’s allowance for 1 child every month).

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Give your child a lifetime of financial security

Did you know……

It is estimated that it costs €584 a year to send a child to primary school, €1,236 a year for secondary school & if you levy third level education costs ranging between €20,000-€40,000 per child on average this is a significant amount of money!

If you have a lot of children, you may have to fund some of the third level education costs by working or going into debt.

This can be avoided if you start a savings account sooner rather than later.

Navigating the Shark invested Insurance Industry

Irish consumers face what can be very expensive decisions on many types of Insurances on a frequent basis.  Some of these insurances we are compelled to buy, such as car insurance, mortgage protection and house insurance.  Whilst there are other types of insurances we choose to buy, such as health, illness cover and gadget insurance.  Paying too much or getting inadequate cover can eat up a lot of the household budget and to add to this the Insurance industry in Ireland, unfortunately, is gaining a reputation for not putting consumers first.  The fact that many consumers do not necessarily fully understand what certain insurances are for and may feel pressurised into buying these by advisors praying on their fear exacerbates the problem.  So to start with insurances we are obliged to buy.

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5 Ways to Help Save You Money

Negotiate your home & car insurance bills.

Many people including myself have WAY too much insurance! I pay €15 a month for insurance on my iPhone in the event that it breaks or is lost or stolen. Recently, I was barely able to see my phone through all the cracks and instead of using my insurance and sending my phone away to be fixed for free, I decided to bring it to the nearest phone repair shop and ended up paying €50! Why did I do this? Well, because I didn’t really have the time or patience to wait around for my phone to be ready. Realistically I could save up to €180 a year if I didn’t have phone insurance, but the question is do I really want to risk it?

By shopping around, and re-evaluating the different types of insurances you have, you may be surprised at the amount of money you could potentially save. It may also be worthwhile to simply call your insurance companies and ask for a discount. However, I would personally suggest arranging to speak to a financial advisor for a free financial review in order to gain an understanding of how to manage your personal finances.

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Proud Sponsors of Cork Simon Community

Alpha Wealth is a proud sponsor of The Cork Simon Community.

We are passionate about helping others and believe that everyone deserves a second chance for a better life.

We are delighted to help the Cork Simon Community by providing them with Room Sponsorship.

The people at Cork Simon Community will now be able to feel a sense of safety and security, receive one-to-one care from a professional and have a quiet place to sleep at night.

3 Factors the Millennial Generation Needs to Understand About Money in 2018

  1. Others will be more than happy to spend your money

Speaking as a Millennial, I know all too well that there is no Hallmark card to convey “Best of luck when you move away, but this going away party & night out in another county is too rich for my budget”, because it feels tremendously rude to turn down such invites. The early twenties to early thirties seems like a never-ending cycle of birthday parties, going away parties, bridal showers, hen nights, stag nights, baby showers, weddings, boozy brunches, liquid lunches and so on, but all these ‘must go to’ events take a serious toll on your bank account.

So what’s the secret? Other people are more than happy to spend your hard earned money for you!

It may happen to be your brother or sister or even your best friend’s big day that will only happen once in your lifetime, but unfortunately, it’s a day that will happen over and over again. Being part of weddings and going away parties can become a serious threat to your bank account over time, which in turn will lead to borrowing more, using that godforsaken credit card or just simply ignoring the problem until it creeps up on you down the line.

The moral of the story is DON’T DO THE LATTER!

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How to get a Mortgage in 6 Simple Steps

  1. 10% of your own contribution towards the purchase price for first time buyers (20% for second time buyers etc)
  2. A demonstrated repayment ability through rent, savings and recent loan repayments that are now finished
  3. Set property goals realistically: Generally banks will only lend max 3 x times your annual gross salary/salaries
  4. Good current account operation and credit history
  5. Stable employment and a steady flow of income
  6. Suitable mortgage protection/Life Cover and home insurance to assign to the mortgage

 

Come speak to us to get mortgage ready and ensure you get a first time approval!

Cashback offers may not lead to best mortgage deal

If you are in the mortgage market, there are four categories; first-time buyer, non-first time buyer, investor (buy-to-let), or a switcher. Different rules and criteria apply for each.

Most of the current market is made up of first-time buyers. They are in a privileged position over non-first timers as they only have to find a 10% deposit whilst for second-time buyers, it is 20% of the purchase price.

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Do you need financial advice?

With so many financial products available it can be difficult to compare all the options and make the right decision for you. If you are confused by what is on offer, it’s best to get professional financial advice.

You might consider getting financial advice especially if you are making long-term financial decisions, like:

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Christmas Bonus 2017 – Welfare and Pensions

As announced in Budget 2018 – A 2017 Christmas Bonus will be paid out again this year to eligible welfare and state pension recipients. The 2017 bonus of 85% will be paid to the majority of people along with their normal weekly payments during the week beginning November 27th, 2017.

Those people doing part-time work and getting Jobseekers Allowance will usually get any Christmas Bonus in the following week (commencing 4th Dec.)

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Should Individuals Invest in Bitcoin? In a Word, No.

We recommend as financial advisers say that despite the temptation, the market and regulatory risks are too great. It’s a question that financial advisers increasingly hear these days. With bitcoin up more than fourfold this year and a series of high-profile “initial coin offerings” raising more than €1.7 billion in total. There are a number of investors interested in digital currencies has been picking up.

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Saving tips this Christmas

Is it too early to mention the C word? That’s right guys, like it or not, the time has come for you to start thinking about ChristmasIt’s an expensive time of year but hopefully, we can help you get more bang for your buck after reading this blog.  One iconic quote that really resonates with me about Christmas, is from George Best who said ” I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. ”

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The Ups and Downs of my Career

Having graduated with a Degree in Economics from the London School of Economics, I began my Career in 1995 as an Investment Banker. Twenty two and full of confidence, I found that Investment Banking was a great platform to make a lot of money!  I was moving hundreds of Millions of Pounds/Deutschmarks & Lira between banks which thinking back was a huge responsibility for a 22 year old !! Having worked in some of the biggest Global Banks, I found after 5 years. it was not something I could envisage myself staying long-term and lost the desire to continue.

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Tricks to save big on Black Friday

The biggest shopping day before Christmas is fast approaching so you need to be prepared if you want to get the best bargains. Black Friday falls on November 24 this year.

Forget getting up at dawn, or even skipping work this year, the deals are just as good online. The first piece of advice I can give you is to not overstretch yourself financially, just because you think something is a good deal. Disappointment with the small size of giveaways in the Budget has left consumers feeling underwhelmed. This prompted a drop in consumer sentiment last month, new figures show. Consumers are cautious about their household finances but are ready to splurge at this time of year, so we have decided to give you some useful tips to follow on Black Friday.

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Taxing times – how to reduce the tax you pay without using a pension

Are you sick of seeing adverts from the life assurance companies about pensions and wondering is there anything else I can do?  Whilst there are very few tax saving schemes available in Ireland, especially for PAYE workers, there are ways we can reduce our tax bill NOT using a pension.  The main scheme which is an alternative or compliment to pensions and is not commonly known amongst the general public is called the Employment Investment Incentive Scheme (EIIS for short).  It is really the only other game in town for higher Tax rate payers (those earning over the new standard rate threshold of €35k per annum, or if they are married and taking their spouses allowances €45k per year).  It is an investment Irish individuals make into an Irish company.

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EIIS sees surge to €108m in investments

The EIIS is one of the few remaining sources of total income relief, allowing you to obtain income tax relief on investments in qualifying SMEs. An individual with a taxable income liability in the year the EIIS investment is made can obtain tax relief for the following:

1. PAYE earnings
2. Rental income from property held in a personal capacity
3. ARF distribution income

Tax relief is available in two tranches: an initial 30% in year 1 with a further 10% when additional criteria are met in year 4.

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Financial Services Administrator

Job description:

Reporting to the Financial Services director and Managing director. You will be responsible for ensuring the smooth day to day running of the business and provide first point of contact for service providers, financial advisors and clients.

As a Financial services administrator you will be a key member of the team ensuring successful/smooth running of client’s/company applications from start to finish. The role also covers a level of customer services as well as compliance functions and the assistance with ongoing client reviews.

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Cork Social Media Award 2017

Alpha Wealth was delighted to scoop the Social Media Award at the Cork Business Awards 2017 which took place on Saturday 5th November at The Convention Centre of the Clayton Hotel Silver Springs. In its eleventh year, the Business Cork awards nominated organisations across a number of sectors doing business in Cork city and county.  The awards set about to recognize a business which excels in harnessing the latest business thinking to keep them at the cutting whilst sustaining a positive and future-focused business environment

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Beat the Tax Man

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Senior Financial Advisor

Role Description

Alpha Wealth is a Dynamic, Progressive Financial Services company. Our purpose is to provide individuals, and companies, with a level of service and advice which
they would not have been used to before. We give advice/provide solutions in 3 core areas: Protection & Insurance (including Health Insurance), Retirement Planning and managing your savings. But we also do a lot more. We are seeking to recruit experienced, ambitious and self-motivated financial advisors to join our successful and growing organisation. The successful candidate
will be provided with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills. We offer competitive salary with bonus, expenses, mobile and laptop.

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Tracker Mortgage Scandal Q&A

Unless you have been hiding behind a rock for the past couple weeks, you would have noticed the coverage of the tracker mortgage scandal in the media. This is where banks have been accused of wrong doing to the public in relation to tracker mortgages taking out. I will run through a few questions that should help shed light on the area. The banks calculated that, even though they might lose money on these products, they could then “hook-in” the people who owned trackers and up-sell them more loans for cars, home improvements, and holidays, all of which would carry higher rates. The higher rates for other loans would off-set the losses on trackers and the banks got sneaky and reacted in the way they always do which is to screw the customer for the banker’s own mistakes and miscalculations.

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Why are we more likely to divorce than change banks?

I spend my days showing people the money that can be saved by simple changes (without reducing benefits).  These savings amount to thousands of euros over the course of the plans but yet a lot of people make do with the status quo.  I think ironically the recession has a lot to do with this.  Whilst we were all affected by it a lot of us have forgotten how to deal with things we can control in our everyday lives.

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Budget 2018

The Minister made a number of changes to the Universal Social Charge as well as an increase in the standard rate income tax bands effective from January 2018. The Minister also increased all weekly social welfare payments, including an increase in the State Pension of €5 per week with effect from the last week in March 2018.

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The Perfect Storm- The Current state of the Savings Market in Ireland

Currently in Ireland we have almost “The Perfect Storm” for Savers.  Firstly, we have a situation of very low interest rates affecting the returns we get from our savings.  Secondly, we have one of the highest Tax rates on deposits, which is currently 39% of the interest you earn. If you add to this the rising costs of buying a property or putting your child/children through school, then you get “The Perfect Storm” or treble whammy.

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5 Years On…

Alpha Wealth has reached the 5th year anniversary milestone. And what a journey it has been,  through both good times and bad.  Having worked in Financial Advisory for 15 years in the Banks primarily since 2000, Nick felt that Irish consumers were not being given straightforward advice and that the Banks and Insurance companies were biased and overcharging for their services.  Hence Alpha Wealth was born. It’s a business that was born in the teeth of the recession, but we’ve also seen the great growth years of recent times too.

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The Mortgage Journey

 As steps in life go, buying a home is certainly one of the big ones. But if you know what’s involved in the mortgage process, you can see it instead as a number of small, easily-managed steps. What’s more, you don’t have to take them on your own. You’re thinking about applying for a mortgage, here’s a quick run-down of the factors that affect mortgage approval and what mortgage amount you can borrow.

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Single? Don’t Think You Need Life Insurance

Often when we think of life insurance, we think of the traditional family with kids, a house, and a dog. And while there’s a good reason families are synonymous with life insurance, there are so many other stages in our lives where we’ll need that security and reassurance too.

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How Vaping Can Save You Over €10,000?

29% of smokers in Ireland currently use e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting smoking. If you’ve been a vaper for over 12 months then you’re classed as a non-smoker according to certain life insurance companies. This means you will pay the same price as a non-smoker.

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Overview of CSR at Alpha Wealth

“Goodness is the only investment which never fails, and that’s why Corporate Social Responsibility is so important for businesses today” – Eoin Pollard

Alpha Wealth is a dynamic financial advisory company. The company’s core mission is to make finance simple for individuals, families and companies. Conveying finance in a transparent manner is of the utmost importance The Company provides unbiased financial advice to the people of Ireland. Identifying that each individual has their own unique set of circumstances with the common goal of employees to assist in finding the best solutions. Advising clients through different financial life cycles whilst enabling them to live comfortably now and into the future. Continue reading “Overview of CSR at Alpha Wealth”

The Real Cost of ‘Free Education’ in Ireland?

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela.  This investment in knowledge pays the best interest, however, are our pockets being stretched too far? Have you felt the financial pinch of back to school costs? We’ve some tips to help you find it easier financially next year whether you’re the parent of a primary school pupil, secondary school student or have a child going to third level next year. As the school term starts back, parents across Ireland will be busy preparing packed lunches, laying out uniforms and helping primary school children pack their schoolbags and saying their last goodbyes to their babies who are leaving the nest for Uni. And guess what,  chances are you are underestimating the cost of sending them to school and college.

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Depos**ts are Making You no Money

€92,000,000,000 – wow that’s a big number. That’s the estimated amount of money Irish savers have on Deposit. To put that into perspective, the same amount of minutes equates to over 175,000 years!

And guess what…Deposit rates are at historically low levels, banks are offering deposit rates close to .35% so the key is trying to beat inflation to at least preserve your money. Envisage if it did better and you actually made some money? Inflation has averaged about 2% a year in Ireland.

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Need To Make Money Fast? 7 Tricks To Try

We all wrestle through periods of time when things get tight and we need to make money fast. It’s an exhausting endeavour to expend extra effort just to see the resulting extra cash fly out the door. But making money doesn’t always mean earning more money, it could be saving cash from other areas in your life. Don’t let financial anxiety paralyze you. Get creative and get those bills paid.

The list below is a Mix and Match Tips on How to Make Money Fast:

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