What’s the Cost of Loans in Different Parts of Europe?

Jul 27

What’s the Cost of Loans in Different Parts of Europe?

When the European Union was founded in 1993, the continent took a massive step forwards toward unifying its political and financial systems. Today, there are only a few key differences in the economies of the European Union member states – and the common currency has tied Europe together like nothing else could. Even so, differences in the local economies of EU members leads to varying loan rates in each nation.

Which European nation has the most favorable terms for borrowers? What about countries outside of the European Union? Can Norway compare favorably to the EU countries of England, France, Germany, and Denmark?


England is one of the only countries in the European Union that didn’t buy into the common currency due to fears that the strong English currency (the Pound) would be devalued by the entrance into the European common economy. This has been a highly successful strategy by the English government, and England currently has one of the most stable lending rates. In 2013, the average interest rate on a mortgage in England fell to around 3.5 percent – a new low, and made possible only by the English financial stability and the lack of exposure to currency problems caused by the European bailouts.


Interest rates in France are at a historic low – partly because of the global financial crisis and partly because the French economy is having some trouble distinguishing itself as a competitive force in the face of growing competition from Eastern Europe and other countries with less extreme worker protection laws and trade regulations. The mortgage interest rate in France is around 2.25%, and other loans are relatively cheap… if you can qualify for them. French banks are tightening up on restrictions that limit the flexibility of the credit pool.


Germany is considered the stalwart “fiscal conservative” state in the European Union, and its strong economy is relied upon to prop up some of its neighbors. According to the Economist, the lending rate in Germany increased from 2.95% in April 2004 to 3.06% this month, with high hopes for continued growth back to the levels of the pre-crisis economy.


Denmark is comparable to most other countries in Northern Europe, with a 3.5% interest rate on most loans. Unfortunately, Denmark has extremely expensive real estate, and it has become popular for Denmark property buyers to sign up for an “interest only” payment plan where they pay 2% of the value of their property every year but never build up any equity in their property.


The interest rate in Norway surged throughout the 1990s, and Norway was one of the most expensive countries to get a loan in with 11.00 interest in 1992. However, the current interest rate is shockingly low, at 1.50 percent, thanks to government attempts to spur the economy in the wake of the 2008 global financial meltdown. While loans are cheap across the board, a Norwegian loan comparison service is usually necessary to find the best possible deals with the minimum of government-mandated fees.

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Be a smart shopper

Jul 21

Be a smart shopper

It’s a widely known and accepted fact that the economy has been on a roller-coaster ride over the past few years. The inflation rates are huge with the prices for everything going up by the day. That holds true for stuff that we use daily like our groceries, toiletries, kids products etc. Even when it comes to travelling or maybe taking loans, things have becomes a little too pricy for the average earner. In such a scenario, how do we help ourselves and our pockets? Do we stop buying the stuff that we need, or do we stop stepping out of the house for an occasional vacation? Of course we can cut down on luxury trips and some items but not everything. It would be like stopping to live life altogether.

A better way to approach the problem is through smart shopping. It’s a technique through which you can purchase everything you need and maybe more and still stay within your budget limit. It might sound dreamy, but there are actually a few simple steps to ensure that you’re not paying too much for the things which you can have for less. Just keep the following things in mind:

Switch to alternatives

Whenever you shop for groceries or items of everyday use, instead of sticking to your selected brands, try to open up to new ones. In recent times, many small businesses have cropped up which offer great quality products at lesser prices. Such products fulfill your needs and are not too heavy on your pocket.

Be on the lookout for sales and special offers, sign up for emails

Keep yourself updated with discount sales and exchange offers hosted on brands and supermarkets. If possible, sign up to be informed about exciting deals on products so that you don’t miss a chance to save on your purchase. If you need to buy an electrical appliance for example, first inquire around if any dealer or store is going to open an exchange offer. That way, you can get rid of the old equipment for new one and also save on the deal.

Plan in advance and go for bulk purchase

Instead of going out to buy kitchen and daily use products every week or on need basis, plan ahead and make bulk purchase at the beginning or end of every month. Apart from vegetables, meat and dairy which rots soon, things like bathroom items, packaged eatables, laundry products and even clothes can be purchased months in advance and stored. At the start or end of each month, make a list of the supplies that need to be replenished and then step out to shop. That way, you don’t need to shop too often and you might end up purchasing some items before they’re prices go up.

Shop online more often

It might appear to be the same as buying from a physical store, but online shopping has its advantages. In situations where stocks for a particular item have expired at the physical store, you can always count on the online counterpart to provide them. Also, you are more likely to find out about deals and offers going on purchases online sooner and more often than on physical stores. Plus, you don’t have to step out of the comfort of your home to shop for small things, and who wouldn’t love that!

Subscribe to voucher websites

Over the past few years many websites hosting deals and discounts on a number of products and vendors have come up. Such websites have a list of big brands and stores registered with them and they keep hosting sales all around the year through which you can take the maximum benefit of your online purchases. They do so through voucher codes which you can supply to the brand website at the time you pay and save on your deal – as simple as that! That way, you don’t have to wait for stock clearance or yearend sales; you can save on every purchase you make. Checkout VoucherBin – one out of the list of many reliable websites. You can browse through the categories to fish for the products you need and then select the brand you need to buy that product from. It’s simple and effective.

If we start taking such baby steps towards shopping more effectively, over a period of time they will become a habit and before we know it, we’ll stop minding the small rises in prices every now and then. So remember to be smart when you shop!

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Care in the home and independence

Jul 13

Care in the home and independence

With a rapidly aging population and a shortfall in accommodation many people are concerned about housing options in later years. They will want to make sure they are safe in their property and will receive care, if necessary


Care and support in the home


Whether you are in your own home and need Orwell Housing Care Services to come to visit you on a daily basis or you are looking for somewhere that is going to offer you safety, then a housing association should be the first organisation on your list. The care and support that is on offer can be tailored around you and your needs; it may just be someone coming to visit you regularly to administer medication and help with your daily needs or permanent assisted housing.


Helping the elderly


As the population grows so does the number of older people in our society. There are an estimated 10 million people over 65 in the UK today and it is estimated that this number will double by 2050. Better medical procedures and new drugs means everyone is living longer. The need for better care in the community is being met by housing associations across the country. Many older people have lived in their own home for many years; therefore to look after them at home makes life easier and more comfortable for the person needing care.


Supported housing and meeting friends


There are many different types of housing available for people with varying needs; it is estimated that there are 1.5 million people in the UK with learning disabilities many of who lead normal lives and hold down a job. One way for people to be cared for is in a sheltered housing scheme where they can be reassured of meeting new friends and also know they will be looked after by professional carers.


Helping the homeless or abused


If you are facing homelessness or are already alone and desperate then Temporary Supported Housing (TSH) may be the answer to your problems. Many housing associations provide short-term help to those who have become homeless or have suffered some form of abuse. Figures released in 2013 shows that 34,080 households with children were classed as homeless and 76,790 families were also living in temporary accommodation. If you find yourself in a sheltered housing scheme you will be given help from dedicated staff and given the opportunity to move forward with your life.

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The Top 5 German Brokers

Jul 11

The Top 5 German Brokers

Binary option trading has become very popular in Germany in recent years. This is due to the wide range of benefits that binary options offers including simplicity, opportunity for leverage and the ability to trade multiple markets from a single account. Here we will look at five of the best binary option brokers in Germany.

#1 BDSwiss (Banc De Swiss) Click Here

Banc de Swiss is one of the largest binary options brokering platforms in Germany. The site offers a generous 25 Euro free bonus for every new customer. Banc de Swiss offers both the German and English interface which makes it suitable for most European customers. Banc de Swiss uses an entirely web-based interface which means they do not need to download any software in order to use the brokerage. This broker offers a good selection of binary options including stocks, currencies, commodities, and indices. In total there are 14 different currency pairs, 7 commodities, 26 stocks and 25 indices.  For more information see a full BDswiss review here.

#2 Bloombex Options

Bloombex Options provided by the option trading with up to 85% payouts. Bloombex provided binary option trading or currencies, stocks, commodities and indices. Customer service at Bloombex is excellent with a 24/7 support center available. Bloombex also provides an educational centre where new traders can learn how to trade at binary options.

#3 Capital Options

Capital Option was established in 2011 and is the brand name for Trademarker Cyprus Ltd. Capital One offers a number of different trading strategies including one touch, 60 seconds and ladders. Unlike many other binary option brokers there is also a long-term trades available. One of the best features of Capital Option is the education center where there is video on demand, a binary options trading e-book and daily analysis of the market. You can also choose to join webinars where you can learn more about binary options trading.

#4 NRG Binary

NRG offers 75% payouts with standard binary option trades and up to 500% payouts with one touch options. NRG Binary has live streaming of market data so that users can keep up to date with the latest trading information. NRG Binary has a video courses available where binary trading experts teach beginners how to properly trade using binary options.

#5 LBinary

LBinary is a 100% web-based binary options trading platform. Each trader who joins LBinary is assigned their own account manager. This account managers are selected based on the traders language and geographical location. Customer support is also available 24 hours a day seven days a week through telephone, email and live chat. Lbinary. There is $100 bonus every time one of their customers referred as a friend to the binary options trading platform. Lbinary as an excellent range of binary options including stocks, commodities, indices and currencies. Among their stock options included major companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola, Gazprom and Nissan Motor.

For a List of Top German Brokers have a look here!

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Best Ways to Invest in 2014

Jul 10

Best Ways to Invest in 2014

There are plenty of reasons to invest this year. For a start, the economic and fiscal conditions look to be ripening. There are few fears of a ‘fiscal cliff’ in the United States in 2014 while the financial difficulties of the past few years in parts of Europe and in Japan appear to be receding. In addition, there is added impetus to invest. Today’s generation are unlikely to benefit from the same generous pensions that their parents will enjoy. So, if you are looking to invest, consider some of the following options.

  • Undervalued, global brands

The world is of course becoming a much bigger market than it has ever been. As a result, a good way to protect yourself from the financial pitfalls of a single economy or currency is to invest in companies which have a significant presence across the globe. If you can reduce the local exposure of your investments then they are likely to remain more stable. Of course, there are plenty of global brand stocks to choose from. However, two ideas are Adidas and tobacco giant Philip Morris International, which is tipped by some pundits for good things this year.

  • Emerging markets

This might initially appear to contradict the previous point. Experts have been promoting the virtues of investing in the likes of India, Brazil and Korea, so-called emerging markets for some time now. These are growing economies and the International Monetary Fund estimates that they will grow at two or three times the rate of the United States. The results in emerging markets haven’t been as positive as some expected over recent years, but some commentators believe that now is the right time to invest. Stocks in these markets appear to be generously valued although it is wise not to invest in a single currency fund. At any rate, emerging markets provide some important diversity to more standard investments.

  • Binary options

Often considered to be an ‘exotic’ investment, binary options are not only popular but actually a pretty safe way to invest. In truth when you use binary options, you never actually purchase a stock, commodity or currency. Instead, you invest in the option of whether such an investment will increase or decrease in value over a chosen period of time. Because the extent of the fluctuation doesn’t matter, only the direction of market movement, the risks are simple to calculate. There are also plenty of online platforms which make the whole experience easy to manage.

  • Tracker options

While we’re on the subject of easy to handle investments, if selecting specific stocks is a bit too much hard work, then it is certainly worth considering a tracker option. It does not require knowledge of specific companies or intensive management. Instead, if you invest in say a FTSE 100 tracker fund, then your investment will be spread over all 100 companies. As a result, if the FTSE 100 increases in value, so does your investment. The only thing to look out for is to make sure that your tracker fund doesn’t levy a significant additional management charge.

  • Specific stocks

Of course, you may well feel that you want to ‘get your hands dirty’ by investing in some specific stocks. You will find that everyone provides different advice on individual companies. However, there are some guidelines to bear in mind. It may be worth focusing your investment in some specific industry areas. If you develop expertise in these areas, it will stand you in good stead. If you do invest in specific stocks, then keep an eye out for the company’s cash flow, not just their profits.

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Mortgage matters – buying a home, have you got everything in order?

May 08

Mortgage matters – buying a home, have you got everything in order?

Securing a mortgage can be tough, and if the papers are to be believed it is about to become even more challenging. A great credit history can be pivotal to arranging the help that you require, but even some of those with exceptional ratings have struggled to convince lenders to support them in the past. The irresponsible lending that contributed to the global economic crash has led to a significant tightening of mortgage rules, so how can you get everything in place for a successful mortgage application? You’ll find detailed information about applications at Experian Mortgage Matters.

Proof of income is essential in mortgage applications, and if you are employed it’s a wise idea to wait until you have been at your workplace for at least twelve months before you start to seek funding. Those who are self-employed are regularly advised to supply at least three years’ worth of accounts before proceeding. Obtaining a copy of your credit report is also essential, many people have been turned down due to errors on their reports, but you can ask for something to be amended if it shouldn’t be there, thus heightening your chances of acceptance.

Clearing debts beforehand

Affordability is about to become more important than ever, so you shouldn’t be swayed purely by a low price tag. You’ll have to think about the council tax band you’ll be in, interest rates, stamp duty and the chances of falling into negative equity based on the area that the property is in. If there is a big risk of this occurring, expect to find it tougher to get lenders to cooperate. You will also have to supply a detailed breakdown of your monthly expenditure as well as information about existing debts too. If you do have balances on credit cards, it’s wise to clear them as much as you realistically can before approaching a lender in order to enhance your credit rating. You may also be asked about future plans such as having children or retirement.

There are many factors that could affect the amount that lenders are willing to offer. It’s a good idea to tighten your wallet during the months leading up to a mortgage application to demonstrate good financial etiquette. It’s predicted that the new changes will result in fewer mortgages being offered, so putting a good case forward has never been more important.

If you cannot afford the conventional 10% deposit, the government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme may be a useful channel, particularly if you’re not in a position to ask family members for assistance. This model allows you to only lay down a 5% deposit. It’s a good move to shop around to get the best solicitor that you can afford. They’ll be dealing with all manner of paperwork and other legalities on your behalf once you are ready to make an offer on a home. Don’t forget to enlist the help of a surveyor either as you will need to verify the condition of any home you’re interested in before you move forward.

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How to save on your Business Electrical Bills

May 03

How to save on your Business Electrical Bills

Undoubtedly it is the desire of every small business owner to maximize profits and minimize costs. There are many ways you can do this and a good example is by installing a half hour electricity billing system. If, like most people, you have no idea what this is, don’t worry because that’s exactly what this post is all about.

What are they?
Half hour electricity meters are not very different from smart meters. Just as the name suggests, they are designed to monitor the amount of electrical power consumed every 30 minutes and thereafter relay a report to the supplier by means of a landline. Due to this, the bills received every end of the month will be a true reflection of what’s happening on the ground. Half hour electricity billing can help improve energy efficiency in your business since it allows you to see the rate of consumption at different times of the day.  For a bit more background this is quite a useful site: http://www.businessenergystore.com/half-hourly-meters.

Who should use them?
Any company or business that consumes in excess of 100kiloWatts every thirty minutes is required by law to use a half hour meter system. In other words if you fall in this category, you really have no option. On the other hand, if your rate of consumption is in the area of 70 kilowatts then you can either choose to use this system or not.

Am I already using a half-hour meter?
You can determine whether or not the meter installed in your business uses the half hour system by checking your electricity bill. Basically what you will be looking for is the “S” number; if it is 00 then you are using a half hour meter system. If the number is 05, 06, 07 or 08 then you MAY have a half hour meter system and so to be 100% sure, you will have to confirm with your provider.

The difference
Because the supplier is able to get the most current data, the estimated and projected values on a half hour meter will be quite different from those found on a regular meter. As mentioned, the readings will be very accurate and so you will only pay for what you consume, not more.

Switching tariffs
Switching tariffs with half hour meters can be a tricky undertaking because of the modus operandi in the power industry. Be that as it may, it is possible to save some money by enlisting the services of an energy broker who knows how things in the industry work and also how to deal with the various service providers.

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